A Bunch of Crazy Stuff That Happens

With Friends Like These...

The newly expanded party bravely fled north, following Sorbo’s arm. The arm had an early advantage by being a great climber, but Lucan caught up using the ancient elfish art of parkour to hop along rooftops. He shot the hand in the back outside town. The others arrived shortly after, and Whooat smashed the hand mightily and gorily with her mace.

Unfortunately, Sorbo arrived just in time to witness the mess. He even attacked Lucan with his halberd-chuks before his boss Bree, and sweet-talking Gwen, calmed him down. He was also somewhat affected by the town’s hunger curse, so they were able to talk him into helping storm the Guild so he could munch some “bad city wizards” who were responsible for his arm. Care was taken to ensure he knew not to eat Jenda-Shan. Even so, Sorbo insisted that the party hold a proper funeral for his arm, but not knowing what a proper funeral was he ended up with something more like a poetry reading crossed with an interpetive dance.

They returned to the city. The smoke from the burning fields was getting bad; Jenda-Shan kept a breeze going so they wouldn’t be too uncomfortable, and Bree rode atop Sorbo’s shoulders to navigate. They found that innocent Foodies were crowding the Guild, apparently protecting it from attack.

Returning to the caves to regroup, they met some of the outer milita patrols in the hills; Lucan and Gwen weren’t able to convince them that the fires were an enemy plot, but halfling Bree astride Sorbo, reveling in having people look up at her for a change, dazzled them with her charisma.

In the caves, Leppedee had arrived and was passing out hundreds of low-grade protective amulets which he had brought from the Guild’s stores. He confirmed the Guild was “still trying to decide” the best way to resolve the problem.

While Whooat, Jenda-Shan, Bree, and Lucan discussed the Mages’ Guild situations with Leppedee, Gwen slunk away and found her old Thieves’ Guild contacts. The Boss, Bobington, agreed to help in exchange for Gwen using her forthcoming respect to help position the Thieves Guild. And the Poisonmaster, a Drow named Poity, provided a large supply of mushroom poison of uncertain potency.

Gwen and Bree got new necklaces from Leppedee (cheap things the Guild had kids make at sleepaway camp as Arts and Crafts), and the large necklaces Bree had been wearing went to Sorbo. They worked to keep the curse at bay.

That night the party returned to Lentry proper. The fields were still burning in the distance, but those along the direct route were clear. Bree peeked over the city wall from atop Sorbo, and found that the foodified cityfolk had formed a human chain around the Guild wall several people deep. Gwen fed those nearest the gate her “Potions of Roast Beef Sandwich” and, botching a Heal check, determined that they were safely asleep after the poison took effect. The other human shields did not recognize the gap had opened, and the way was clear to the gate.

Sorbo charged the gate, clumsily but effectively. Fortunately Bree ducked. Unfortunately the wizards in the watchtowers were not entirely dumb and opened fire on Sorbo. Enraged, he shoved one end of his halberd-chuks into a tower window, then ran confused back out the gate. Bree jumped off safely.

Lucan and Gwen dashed to the Hall door, exchanging fire with the tower which still had a line of sight. They opened the door (while Gwen retrieved her lock picks from her pack in an astonishing show of fast handedness, Lucan turned the doorknob) which had been barricaded from the inside by semi-brain-dead wizards who didn’t realize the door opened outward. They gave cover fire while the others dashed to the door.

With everyone safely inside the Hall, Lucan and Gwen recognized that the two statues near the door wanted to kill them…

Don't Bunch Up in the Wizard's Guild

A raucous fight ensued. A cursed nobleman with apparent military training, of the respected MacGuffin family, commanded the enemy forces. Several weakened villagers mobbed the party, causing more distraction than damage. Two Guild wizards attacked as well, sending thunder and lightning among the bunched-up adventurers. While Whooat provided buffs and healing, Lucan fluctuated between embarassing misses and crazy high damage, and Jenda-Shan focused on crowd control.

Most of the enemies were dispatched with little drama, but MacGuffin was hardier. He also seemed a little more clear-headed than the other curse-struck enemies.

Eventually, Bree roused her full commanding presence, thoroughly defying the stereotype of the harmless halfling and intimidating MacGuffin into surrender. MacGuffin fell to his knees, weeping, with his face in his hands.

Gwen searched him. He died. The connection between those two events is the subject of some disagreement.

Searching the lower floor of the Guild, they found the scattered and rotting foodstuffs that characterized Lentry’s crisis. They also noted the hall’s incoming teleportation circle in one corner of the building, and some damage to the ceiling of the dining area, presumably connected to the upper wall which had been blasted out. Lepedee had apparently done a good job clearing out the magical gear from the area, but Jenda-Shan did find a modest supply of ritual components in a training room.

After a brief rest, they contemplated taking the stairs up to the top floor…

At Least They're Well Rested

Jenda-Shan, Whooat, and Lucan slept in the caves. The townsfolks struggled to rest too, under the watch of their weary militia, including Bree (last name? oops), a Halfling officer trained in the psionic arts of an Ardent. Meanwhile, out in the hills, the urbanized Elfish tomb raider Aragwen (last name? oops again) skulked. Aragwen realized the town had largely evacuated and entered the caves during the night. She picked the handiest pocket, which turned out to be sleeping Lucan’s. A militia grunt nabbed Aragwen and turned her over to Bree. Finally Lucan and the other original party members woke up. They and Bree made an arrangement with Aragwen: they would all work together to resolve the Foodie Plague. Bree would be doing her duty as a militia officer, and Aragwen would be earning a pardon for her previous exploits in town.

Janet, the woman who was de-zombified while wearing a borrowed protective necklace overnight, was anxious to see if she was permanently cured. She remained rational without the necklace, but only for a few minutes. She returned to full Foodie status as she joyfully watched the sun rise. The party let her keep wearing the spare necklace indefinitely; maybe a longer use would be a permanent cure.

The newly expanded party set out for Lentry. They encountered more Foodies (including a decorated cavalier) in the fields, who acted aggressive as the party approached. A fight ensued, with everyone struggling a bit to get used to fighting on horseback (or giving up on the idea). The fight found the original adventurers in their usual roles, while Bree was forced to fight men she had known for years. Aragwen was merely impatient to kill the annoyances.

During the fight, Lucan earned the great prize of the loyalty of a trained warhorse; already skittish, it had become crazed when its rider was set aflame. Lucan calmed the animal and communed with it so deeply that it came to believe it was his mother.

They were victorious and not badly hurt, but with both Lucan and Jenda-Shan using fire as a weapon, the adjacent corn fields caught fire. Wrapping up the fight prevented them from quashing the blaze early, and at last check a sizable amount of farmland was burning.

They reached Lentry and found it in dire trouble. Foodies roamed the streets, some fattened and other emaciated. Food lay piled up, much of it rotting or just filthy. The party was not accosted; the Foodies seemed uninterested.

Aragwen tried to sneak away to check in with the local Thieves’ Guild, but Lucan followed her. Unfortunately he followed too well and tripped a booby trap, getting sprayed full in the face with skunk funk. Inside, they found the Guild had been carefully evacuated. The Guild Toolmaster, Tim, was still there. He had been alternately sleeping and boozing through the crisis and didn’t really know what was going on. He was, somehow, not affected by the curse. Nobody else they found in the city was unaffected.

Meanwhile, both Aragwen and Bree, lacking any protective necklaces, were feeling the effects of the curse as persistent and distracting hunger. The party searched the marketplace, but it had been fairly well cleared out by the merchants. They found only one necklace: a barely magical, mass-market Amulet of Protection from Hunger. Made for people with weight problems, it had a long enough chain for two people, but Aragwen preferred to be cursed rather than get so friendly with Bree.

They surveilled the Mages’ Guild, near the edge of the market. Lucan’s spooky elf senses spotted four mages in each of two watch towers near the front of the Gall grounds. He and Aragwen, the two stealthy ranged fighters, snuck over the back wall. They were not immediately detected, but they heard something big coming before the rest of the party could come over the wall. Lucan hid behind a tree while Aragwen laid in ambush at the corner of the wall, ready to shank whoever came by.

What came by turn out to be a disembodied, doubly giant arm dragging itself along the ground, escorted by four Foodiefied mages. Aragwen struck a major blow in the arm, but its bulk was so great it was still a major threat. A hard fight ensued. The rest of the party made it over the wall fairly soon, but Jenda-Shan came over far too close to the front line and was nearly crushed to death by the arm. Jenda-Shan was able to tap into his inner elemental nature to summon more strength than any typical travelling wizard, and broke free so handily he broke one of the arm’s hand’s fingers. Bree came over with Jenda-Shan, using her swordplay and mental powers to utterly baffle the arm even while being she was battered by the mages. She also recognized the arm’s origin: it belonged to poor Sorbo, who had cut it off as it became twisted by the curse. Whooat climbed over in a more defensible position, and used her healing abilities and summoned a spiritual weapon to fight from a distance.

With some teamwork, the arm was battered into retreat; it climbed over the wall and “ran” away to the north. But that still left the twisted mages. They were a bit addled by the curse, but still dangerous, throwing lightning and thunder at multiple targets. Aragwen was especially badly hurt because she started the closest to the enemy formation, and her first attempt to jump onto the outer wall resulted in an unfortunate splat into the masonry. She was knocked out, but recovered quickly. Lucan landed several major shots, Bree demoralized the enemy, and Jenda-Shan summoned his Skeletal Jazz Hands to restrict the enemy further. Eventually the mages were all slain. Unfortunately, Bree was forced out from behind the cover of the Hall building’s wall, and was spotted by the tower. The guards are going to be a little surprised when they find four battlemages and giant giant’s arm dispatched, apparently by a single halfling.

The party, wounded and about to be outnumbered, made a quick retreat. They followed the obvious trail of Sorbo’s arm through the city, although it was surprisingly quick for a disembodied arm and might not be catch-uppable.


(The game occurred way long ago)

The party headed toward Lentry. They found Lentry militia starved to death along the road. They met Sorbo’s man-eating Hill Giant cousins, almost started a fight with them, got a “common sense” roll and parleyed instead. Hill Giants have posh accents when their brains are in right. The party found Lentry in trouble. Some cityfolk have become mindless eating machines, devastating the crops. The rest have evacuated to the hills; they sent some militia to ask for help but don’t have the means to carry enough supplies for a mass exodus.

Sorbo, who cut his own arm off when it became enzombified, has been helping to gather food. There was a fun bit with an ballistic sheep field goal.

Lepedee Glibblef5lang, apparently a master of disguise and/or shipshafting, consulted. When the navy fought pirates in the south sea, they brought back some cursed booty. The Mage’s Guild took possession of the artifact, which then took possession of them. The party plans to assault the fortified Guild Hall grounds, possibly by blowing some chunks out of the walls, or by doing a MacGuyer rope-on-an-arrow zip-line.

It is discovered that basic protective amulets prevent the zombification effect, and putting an amulet on a previously afflicted zombie brings them back to lucidity temporarily. Lepedee is dispatched to try to gather more from the Guild, but the Guild is trying to distance itself from the problem publicly. The party goes to sleep in the caves, letting one of the victims wear one of their amulets in hopes of more permanent relief.

MMMmmm, Cleric

The party decided to dispose of the foul Dagger of Remote Control. But first, Janda-Shan would risk touching it in order to scry into its past. Watched over by Whooat, Lucan, and Sage Batson, he was successful in extracting three images related to the dagger.

The first image showed how the dagger came to Madelf. Janda-Shan perceived an ill-defined sense of time and space in darkness, then an instantaneous transition to a bright sunny day in the sky over the forest. The dagger fell through the sky, point down, tweaking its momentum to plunge into Madelf’s back. The unsuspecting elf had been fishing alone along a small stream.

The next image showed the moment the dagger had been deposited into the Vault of Chlamidior. Janda-Shan saw it held cautiously (though heavy gloves) by a stately Eladrin wearing ancient styled mage robes. The Eladrin was in a stone-walled room piled with odd gear, some fantastic, some mundane. The Crown of Insect Sex Appeal was in the pile as well. Janda-Shan saw one door of the room, which was watched over by several other wizards.

The final images showed the moments leading up to the deposit of the dagger’s deposit. This was essentially the same scene, the Eladrin wizard carrying the dagger, the door guarded by other wizards. But this time Janda-Shan saw the door from the other side. It looked plain enough, but it was built incongruously into a natural looking cave wall. It look somewhat similar to the door in which the party had found the first Key, in the caves under Pelor’s temple.

That accomplished, the party set out into the wilderness. They found a clearing well away from bystander or spectators, and set about extracting the demonic presence in the dagger. After a false start due to misremembered instructions (artifact + Evil Putty + something reminiscient of artifact’s power + silly chant + jazz hands), they were successful.

Janda-Shan had planted the dagger point down in the dirt before beginning. So when the demon (a tall red-skinned fork-tongued winged woman) appeared, it appeared keeled over at the waist with its head buried in the ground, struggling to account for its situation. Lucan planted a good arrow in its butt, the demon extracted itself, and the fight commenced.

Whooat commenced her usual role of close-in fighter. She immediately accepted abuse from the demon, including major wounds and poisoning. Even standing near the demon was dangerous; it exuded toxic funk.

Janda-Shan had some funk of his own, creating a large moving stinking cloud that hurt and blinded the demon. The cloud was very effective at hiding Janda-Shan and Lucan from the demon, but also hid the demon from them and left it with only one easily accessible target: Whooat.

Shortly after the fight began, two more demons popped into existence. These were smaller, chubby, flying foes. Each was half belly, half mouth, nipping around them so much that they slowed down anybody nearby. One advanced on Lucan, the other on Whooat.

As the fight wore on, Whooat continued to accept attacks on behalf of her squishier co-heroes. The two demons tore into her. She began to bleed; driving the smaller demons into a frenzy. Her divine power let her heal herself enough to continue to hold the demons’ attention and let Janda-Shan’s and Lucan’s attacks whittle away. She was able to protect her friends, later ensure the destruction of the evil artifact, and further the cause of Pelor’s light in the world. She was not able to save herself.

The largest demon swiped her with its claws, causing deep and poisoned wounds. A smaller bloodlusty demon ripped into her flesh with its mouth, tearing out pounds of meat. Whooat passed out. Neither Lucan nor Janda-Shan was in position to help. Instead, the second small demon finally caught a whiff of her fresh hot blood. It blinked over to her in a pop, bent over to smell as a wine expert might approach a fine vintage, and tore her throat out.

Lucan and Janda-Shan dispatched the demons. First Lucan shot the demon who had killed Whooat, exploding his bulging belly with a wafer-thin arrowhead. The large demon fell next, finally succumbing to the toxic cloud. The remaining small mouth-demon put a scare into Janda-Shan, but ultimately was destroyed.

The dagger smouldered in the ground, its magic dispelled. The party had succeeded in ridding the world of the evil thing. Lucan and Janda-Shan did not discuss whether the price was worth it. Instead, they gathered the loot of the battle, and marched back to Kingdom’s End with a proper subset of Whooat’s remains.

The gate guards caught on to the situation, and word of Whooat’s death reached Pelor’s temple before the party did. Townsfolk lined the street, somber. Only a week ago the had attended a memorial service for the whole party, incorrectly believed dead under the city. Now they mourn only one, but they must watch that one be carried through town in pieces, on the bloody backs of her friends.

Mother Euphasia awaits them at the temple, first demanding to make sure Whooat is truly dead (never entirely clear when none of the pieces which might show a pulse are accounted for), second demanding an accounting of how one of her most gifted clerics could have fallen. Her anger is fleeting; it is not a sufficient substitute for her grief. Resurrection of clergy is not a given; the temple’s first duty is to Pelor, then to the community, and only third to Pelor’s servants. So somebody must compensate for the temple’s use of resources. Janda-Shan and Lucan pay without hesitation, partly from the party’s stash of ritual components, partly by selling the (now completely mundane) lump of platinum which used to be the evil dagger.

Lucan is also receives an errand. With so little of Whooat’s remains remaining, some bulk must be accounted for. He stalks and kills a stately elk in the wilderness (bear had also been seriously considered, or a pile of squirrels less so). With the meat, the temple clergy begin the ritual.

For some people, death is an ending. For others it is just a step in a journey. For Whooat, it is simply a mistake. In death, her ever-present sense of communion with Pelor is strengthened. She feels at peace in his protection and affection. She also feels that her duty is incomplete. Pelor had more in mind for her.

So, with Whooat’s consent and newly recharged sense of duty towards Pelor, she is raised from death. She spoke briefly with Euphasia, passing on a (fake) message from beyond: redecorate the ritual room. Euphasia’s, weeping openly, her usual stern demeanor crumbled, set about doing so. Somewhere in the ether, Pelor scratched his chin and wondered where he had gone wrong.

Many had come to the temple, first to grieve, then to hope. Most of Villageton had come, so distraught they had to leave because they were bringing down the other mourners. Guard Captain Malloran, Dukelette Priscilla, Sage Batson, and Hungover J’ayne were among the notable attendees. A huge cheer went up, cycling through town, when Whooat came out to the public area of the temple.

Janda-Shan, by ventriloquism: Party at the Merry Maiden!

Whooat would continue to suffer summoning sickness for a time, but overall, technically, the day had been a success, sort of.

Starego. Star ego. Get it?

Original writeup was insanely long when only a third complete, so:

  1. The Eladrin souljacker, Eramil Starego approached the party while camping.
  2. He claimed to have taken the soul “for the greater good”, which later turned out to mean enhancing the esteem of his family.
  3. The party believed him, and offered to travel with him. He refused, believing they would not survive the trip.
  4. Instead, they resolved the problem by a duel, which the party won despire Eramil’s fantastic speed and accuracy with his sword.
  5. The party was rewarded with a live chicken wearing a “mayor” sash, which Eramil swore held the soul in question.
  6. To find an accessible portal to the party’s home plan, and a woman to patch Eramil’s cloak, they traveled together to the village of Cloud Lake.
  7. Cloud Lake is on the shore of the lake the party fell into, which is also called Cloud Lake. It’s a small but pleasant town which produces textiles from the fog.
  8. The villagers had expected some elfs to cross over to help protect them from Myconids, as they do every winter, but they have not arrived. The village will be safe, but inconvenienced.
  9. Eramil explained some of the spooky lights in the sky at dawn; there is an active volcanoe well to the north and east.
  10. One of the villagers’ ancestors, who had become the local wind, led them and Eramil to a fey crossing in the woods and activated it.
  11. Eramil departed to find another way to serve his house
  12. A big rock fell from seemingly nowhere and kabonked Jenda-Shan on the head. It proceeded to burrow in. Lucan pulled it out, but it stuck to his hands. Jenda-Shan pulled it from Lucan’s hands, but it stuck to Jenda-Shan’s hands. Whooat pulled some common sense out of herself and wrapped her hands in a cloak to pull it away safely.
  13. The party sent an animal messenger to Sage Batson, bringing him roughly up to date. The initial “recording” heard by the poor cheetah-bird they used was too funny to exclude: “Batson, with love, is this thing on? Ha ha oh no, hi, William Batson! This is your favorite traveling party, we’re OK, had some unexpected travel come up. Hope everything’s well… you get twenty five words. What? You get twenty five words. Why don’t you tell me these things? I did.”
  14. The bird thing way a lot funnier at the time.
  15. Lucan recognized the area, and led the way to the tiny community of Glendale’s Glade, where Madelf has supposedly originated.
  16. It became apparent the Madelf had been suffering for a few days with the dagger in his back, and unsuccesfully trying to construct sack boys. He then slaughtered all three families making up the town, including his wife.
  17. The party respectfully burned all the houses of the town, taking only Madelf’s notes and his wife’s diary for investigative purposes.
  18. The party traveled on towards Kingdom’s End, passing through the elfish town of Sweetleaf.
  19. Sweetleaf is a trade-oriented town, comfortably dealing with humans and other residents of Turanga. Trade has been favorable lately, with Turangans paying well for elfish foodstuffs.
  20. The party reached Kingdom’s End, where they were welcomed by the guards and citizens, as the last widely known story about them involved climbing off a cliff.
  21. Whooat returned the wayward soul to Mother Euphasia. The temple has been a bit tense, because they had to leave the body in the ritual room, but wanted to keep it a secret. Euphasia restored the soul to its rightful body, with Whooat assisting.
  22. Jenda-Shan visited his brothel, which has been doing brisk business as expected in cold weather.
  23. Lucan went to the party’s usual inn, the Laughing Little Person, and met J’ayne. She was quite drunk and beligerent, demanding to know about their trip to the Feywild.
  24. Jenda-Shan recieved a sealed letter from Lepeedee Glibbleflang, inviting him to Lentry to see about a position as “Assistant to the Regional Guildmaster”. The letter implies a connection to the Chlamidian artifacts.
  25. Lucan and Jenda-Shan visit Batson, who confirms their suspicion that the Rock of Headaches which hit Jenda-Shan is from the Vault. It begins to seem likely there is a connection between planar portals and the artifacts, but the relationship is not clear.
  26. The party overhears that the locals are a bit worried about supplies. Some recent shipments from Lentry have not arrived. Even if the road to Lentry closes, it should be OK so long as the winter is not unusually harsh, but food prices are already climbing higher than usual.
  27. The party also overhears criticism of Mother Euphasia. Between her recent bouts of secrecy, and her not-so-secret relationship with Sage Batson, some question her dedication to service of Pelor and the people.
  28. The party plans to look into doing something about their Chlamdian artifacts in their possession, and to visit Lentry, in the near future.
Beer, Rope, and Whores

Cheered on by kobolds, the party dispatched another group of giant ants. The queen ant exuded vile corrosive pheromones, causing some trouble, but her servants were fragile and short-lived.

The party continued on, finding an upward-slanting passage, following the smell of fresh air. Soon stray beams of light bounced in from ahead. There was some awkward climbing to do; Whooat had no trouble as she was riding a wall-clinging ant, and Jenda-Shan had no worries since he could fly. Lucan, unfortunately, was not a skilled climber. He tumbled; fortunately he was an excellent tumbler and somehow managed to fall up.

Around one last, very last, corner the passage ended and revealed a big, beautiful, sunlight-lit, snow-dappled clearing. After over two weeks scrambling through caves and cave denizens, the party had escaped.

Ahead lay a farm. They could see people working on the fence line in the distance, apparently an adult with several children. The party was reluctant to bring their kobold followers-slash-leaders out to the surface, but the kobolds wanted to stay with them.

Jenda-Shan: "Maybe it's a kobold farm."

It was a kobold farm. A young woman ran this farm as a sanctuary for wayward kobolds, and was glad to accept new refugees. She offered her hospitality for the night, and traded a healthy horse for the two giant ants the party had brought out, since ants required careful attention to survive aboveground in winter.

The farm was located in a sparsely populated area called Canaida, only a few days west of Kingdom’s End. The party traveled home without incident. The mood within Kingdom’s End was somber. The party had been given up for dead, and interrupted their own memorial service!

Sobriety fled. The night was a merry one. At the Laughing Little Person, Paul the innkeeper lavished the party with drinks. He also had some packages which had been left for them. Among them, a note from the dwarves of Ardale’s Mine. Ardale had absconded with some of their assets, but the mine was running independently. The reclaimed Temple to Moradin was thriving, but the walls were oozing Evil Putty, some of which was included in the package. The dwarfs did not recognize the significance of the Putty, and had in fact been using it as a drink mixer.

Kingdom’s End had marched on in their absence. Count Fussbottom has dealt with this theft and smuggling problem, but expensively, and his businesses overall are struggling. He even had to lay off J’ayne. Sage Batson is stressed as well, as he’s been getting less work from Fussbottom, but he’s kept safe the Dagger of Remote Control and also located another Lock of Chlamidior. The lock, in the shape of a bust of a man recoiling from a punch to the face, was unobtrusively located on the shelf at the nearby general store. Mother Euphasia has kept the temple in order, but needs a favor. Actually, she demanded the party help since they “owed the church” for the privilege of recovering the equipment below, but Whooat stood up to her, earning the old woman’s respect and a rare smile. A discount resurrection has gone wrong, and a spirit was apparently jacked and taken.

Divinating a bit of ritual scroll found near the temple, Jenda-Shan determined an Eladrin had been skulking near the temple and somehow absconded with the spirit. He divined the image of the Eladrin grabbing the scroll while kneeling in front of an unfamiliar (to Jenda-Shan) and upset-looking Eladrin woman.

While Lucan tracked the perp and Whooat asked around town, Jenda-Shan checked in with Fussbottom. Fussbottom agreed to provide what information he could about his dealing with Eladrin (which was wildly unhelpful) in exchange for Jenda-Shan looking into apparent accounting trickery at the Fussbottom’s most profitable business, the Merry Maiden. Jenda-Shan asked around, making the aquaintence of the working girls, and sharing a drink with J’ayne who had been spending time there since losing her job.

DM: For the sake of being able to look you all in the eyes, 
nobody is getting it on with a whore.  I'll have Pelor smite 
your junk if I have to.

With a combination of divination and inquisition, Jenda-Shan found that actually Fussbottom was cheating himself. He was doctoring his accounts, and hiding cash, to avoid paying taxes on the full profits. Normally very careful in his business dealing, he had slipped up and forgotten due to recent stress. He and Jenda-Shan came to an understanding; the Merry Maiden was “officially” signed over to Jenda-Shan who would report and pay taxes on one third of the net profits, while Fussbottom’s accountants would funnel the other two thirds to him. The change of management, and Jenda-Shan’s reputation as a do-gooder, would divert suspicion of the drop in reported profits. Thus, Jenda-Shan became a multi-class Wizard/Pimp, acquiring Skill Focus: Bitchcraft.

The party rejoined with itself. Lucan had tracked the souljacker to a cliff near the north end of the city wall (which only covered the non-cliff side of town), and the footsteps looked an awful lot like he had jumped off. The ledge overlooked the river and forest to the east, with an open view of the mountains to the north. It was a spot of rare beauty so close to a major city. A rock tossed over the ledge vanished after about 100 feet. The party suspected a Fey Crossing, so they bought some extra rope and returned to the cliff. A guard atop the city wall spotted them and wished them luck: “If you fall, scream real loud before you die.”

Lucan climbed down first. After 100 feet, he vanished in a puff of nothing. Whooat pulled the rope up, but it was cleanly cut at that length. Jenda-Shan confirmed it was probably a dimensional portal, but a one-way portal with no way to know exactly what lay on the other side.

Meanwhile, Lucan fell.

After some trepidation, Whooat tried to climb down as well. She stumbled badly and fell spinning to vanish where Lucan had.

Meanwhile, Lucan continued to fall.

Jenda-Shan gathered up the rope, tapped into his airy essence, and floated gently down along the cliff face.

Meanwhile, Lucan noticed he had been falling a while.

The party was falling at their various speeds, having appeared beside a huge rock spire over a mile above a large fog-covered lake. Jenda-Shan and (in moments of lesser panic) Lucan recognized the Feywild from their education, but Whooat’s experience was simply an overwhelming sense of nature pressing into her awareness. They were all impressed upon by the sharp-edged clouds in the bright grey sky, the piercing dapples of light on the water below, the angry roaring of the wind in their ears, and after a long fall the stifling substance of the fog.

The fog let light through, but was physically denser than should have been possible, more like cotton batting than like a cloud. Gently, almost lazily, the fog slowed Lucan and Whooat so that they landed in the water with a pleasant “ploink”.

Even wearing armor. they easily swam to the nearby shore, the beach adjoining a sparse forest in a large plain below the rock spire. The opposite shore of the lake was perhaps a mile away. Jenda-Shan waftily drifted down to meet them. Lucan spotted tracks matching the Eladrin from the temple, who apparently wasn’t even bothering to be sneaky, leading into the forest. They proceeded; in was late autumn here as well, and the trees were bare. Unfriendly angles were in the branches and cast as shadows on the ground. There always seemed to be something moving in the corner of one’s eye.

As they entered a clearing, they were set upon by mushroom men, Myconids, whose motives were unclear. The Myconids were not terribly strong, but they were well-coordinated and put both Whooat and Jenda-Shan in fear for their lives. Fortunately the party was victorious.

Welcome to the Feywild.

OOC: None of the players caught it at the time, but the woman overseeing the kobold sanctuary was actually Wat, the only survivor of the first party to travel Turanga. Wat had taken a handful of baby kobolds to safety after “accidentally” sacrificing their siblings to an Iron Defender. Not even Wat’s player (who now plays Whooat) recognized the description. It was decided that this was just excellent roleplaying, since Whooat had neither met nor heard of Wat.

MMmmm, Spicy

Accompanied by jaunty kobold lyrics, the party headed down the stairs, revealing a series of passages dimmly lit by wall fungus.. It was quickly apparent that water would be a problem down here; they only had one waterskin each and the kobold minions’ water-gathering technique (trailing their tongues along the wall as they walk) was not helpful. Moreover, the glowing fungus was a prime food source for giant ants, and the party had to clear out an ant work crew to proceed the path the kobolds claimed lead to the surface. Whooat, riding an even gianter and ant, plugged the passage and bashed bugs with her mace while Lucan and Jenda-Shan attack from behind her. The ants were not very tough, though Whooat still took a moderate beating.

The smell of fresh water wafted in from one side passage. The kobold legend said safety was in the other direction, but the party was entirely out of water (having rested well after the ant fight) and decided to head towards the smell of water.

They found it easily enough: a perfectly clear pool. Unfortunately their brilliantly perceptive scout Lucan uncharacteristically hung back as Jenda-Shan and Whooat walked to the edge of the pool. A massive dark shape stirred under the water, and the Dread Wyrm Murphy burst forth! The terrible wounds on his face and flanks were festering, his eyes were mad, and instead of acting like a clever conniving master of his domain, he was simply driven by rage and the desire for payback.

But the party had learned more from the previous fight than Murphy had. They were not badly shaken by his fearsome presence, and they did not bunch up tightly enough to all be caught in his acidic breath. Jenda-Shan and Lucan peppered him repeatedly early in the fight, while Whooat brought on Pelor’s protection and set Murphy ablaze. Murphy flew around the cavern, often staying low enough to rake at Lucan or Whooat, but high enough to avoid Whooat’s close-range attacks. He charged and raged, even breathing acid again in response to a nasty shot from Lucan. He made no effort to deal with being on fire, preferring to let the pain drive him on.

Dread Wyrm Murphy, drooling acid and lashing claws: I am your death!
Whooat, having subsisted on fungus and rocks: You are my dinner!

Murphy focussed mainly on Lucan, as Jenda-Shan was tucked into a passage and Whooat’s shell looked too crunchy to make good comfort food. This left Lucan direly wounded, but Whooat was able get close enough to heal him by goading her ant mount directly underneath the flapping dragon.

Lucan, of course, focused on Murphy in return. He prepared his most precise and deadly shot, one designed to end long fights, and charged it with exploding fiery magic from his new bow. The universe tipped its hat as he loosed the arrow straight and true. The arrow went into Murphy’s left eye. A bright light flashed from behind his right eye. Steam billowed, and goo spilled, from his ears. Murphy was not killed by this epic shot, but it was clear he had seen his last day, and only the right side of it. His angry rants became babbling nonsense. His claws and teeth lashed out at nothing. He was quickly, almost mercifully, dispatched by the party. He fell to the cavern floor in a smouldering jumble of barely-connected parts.

The liberated kobolds returned, and gathered around the corpse of their former master. Uncharacteristically somber, they silently acknowledged the great debt and respect owed to the party.

The party, meanwhile, was filthy and exhausted. They cleaned up, even rinsing the goo off Whooat’s ant’s chitin. They processed the once-fearsome Murphy like any other animal carcass, harvesting useful parts (teeth and claws as trophies, various victuals as ritual components, and the whole head as a hood ornament for the kobolds’ pack-ant), and preparing dragon jerky to supplement their otherwise distasteful food supply.

They also recovered the lock from around Murphy’s neck. It was magical, and openly bore a mark combining that of the Vault of Chlamidior with that of a key. The surmised it was a lock to the Vault, mated to the key found stuck in a door above. They tucked it away without opening it.

After a somber but safe night’s rest, the party moved on. Kobolds leading the way reported another batch of ants. Somehow, the prospect of giant man-eating insects is not so intimidating as it was.

We Got Minions!

The party returned to the lair of the Dread Wyrm Murphy, who again eagerly gobbled up the spider eggs. In return, he offered to swim them up an underground river one at a time, which would lead to the surface a ways north of Villageton. The party did not trust the dragon, and when they tried to politely incline, he suggested if they change their minds they should contact him from within his belly.

A brief, brutal fight ensued. Lucan promptly backed away from the others, so Murphy’s acidic breath only affected Jenda-Shan and Whooat. The breath, and the dragon’s raw terrifying force of presense, set a dire tone for the conflict. The heroes fought back, repeatedly setting Murphy on fire, but he simply waded into his pool of brackish water to extinguish himself. Fortunately the dragon was uncoordinated and failed to land many heavy blows up close. In one such close encounter, Jenda-Shan noticed the dragon was wearing a padlock on a chain around its neck.

Finally, Murphy had been torn into by arrows, divine justice, and mystical forces so extensively that he fled. He dove into his pool and swam away. Jenda-Shan confirmed the story of an underground river by sending in a shadowy serpent, who also spotted the dragon’s hoarde: a good bit of gold, and a powerful magic weapon capable of changing shapes.

Kobold minions approached, who turned out to be friendly, though the one Lucan shot in the face might have held a grudge throughout the split second before its death. This crew was glad to see Murphy scared off, and told the party there was a way out of the cave system, to a “sanctuary”, but only after passing through an area overrun by ants. The party debated the various paths open to them, and decided to travel with the kobolds for now. Before doing so, they had to dispath the kobold leadership, including an ant-riding priest. Fortunately these ants were docile; one ant carried Herring Preserves (a favorite food for kobolds, but inedible to most humanoids) and the other carried Whooat.

They proceeded as directed by the kobolds. Other than one uncomfortable morning due to misidentified “food” foraged by Lucan, the travel was uneventful. They reached the spiral stairs mentioned by Murphy previously. The construction was outsized for humans, reminiscent of ogres who reputedly lurked beneath Kingdom’s End long ago.

At this point, the party had been underground for roughly a week and a half. They were hopeful to avoid another confrontation with Murphy, but also intrigued by the lock around his neck. The kobolds mentioned Murphy violently discouraged curiousity about the lock. Could it be one of the locks to the Vault of Chlamidior?

A Dungeon and a Dragon

Two out of three doors agree: boom! Fortunately the party was not badly hurt. Bizarrely, a key was stuck in the lock of one door despite not being mated to that lock. The key was marked as a key to the Vault of Chlamidior, the second one found by the party (the first being Sage Batson’s left buttcheek).

Rather than wait out a month of subterranean blah, the party decided to explore further. They didn’t have carrying capacity for much water, but Lucan managed to forage for food and water consistently. He also navigated well enough to keep them confident they were exploring new featureless passages instead of revisiting the same ones. Over the course of a few days, they dealt with several large spiders with a proclivity for leaping at humanoid faces. Jenda-Shan had a close call after being poisoned by such a spider, but otherwise the party did well.

Then they stumbled into a tremendously tall cavern. As they approached, they heard a noise like ten thousand kittens sneezing. This turned out to be a juvenile black dragon, lazing in a pool of water, suffering from spider allergies. Only Jenda-Shan, having recently acquired a dragonling familiar, was able to communicate with the dread wyrm Murphy. The dragon’s minions have let the spider population bloom out of control, and the dragon is too big to reach the nests. Would the party care to earn the right to continue living by clearing out two nests and bringing back some tasty egg sacs? Jenda-Shan accepted. The dragon also claimed he’d give the party a sure way back to civilization, warning them away from a spiral staircase which lead only further in but might eventually lead to some way out.

Lucan: "What exactly was the deal?" 
Janda-Shan: "We get to live."

The party found the smaller of the nests as directed, dispatching a group of spiders and an Ettercap along the way. The “small” nest turned out to be nearly deadly for the party. The spiders would leap and envonomate one of them, then skitter back behind cover, only to leap out again as soon as a target presented itself. Everyone spent some time rolling around in pain. Finally the nest was purged, some egg sacs were gathered, and the party settled in to sleep in the defensible position.

They were interrupted by the sound of approaching humanoids speaking Draconic. The party was in no mood or health for conflict. Jenda-Shan overheard the approaching group: kobolds looking for an easy meal of leftovers from the party’s spider cleansing. He created an illusory cacophony of skittering spider legs, scaring the kobolds off. Crisis averted.

The trip to the larger nest took them back to Murphy’s lair, along a wrong turn into the kobolds’ own nest (fortunately the party could merely slink away), back to the dragon lair year again, along two days worth of twisty passages, and finally into a big room of pain. Ettercaps and a swarm of spiders tried to push the party out. Lucan and Whooat spent a good deal of time tangled up in webs, but he peppered everything in sight with arrows, and she kept her friends alive. Jenda-Shan turned the nest into a blazing mess with a rolling ball of fire. Mostly the battle was a slow slogging affair; the party was sticky but not badly injured. They recovered more egg sacs, and found a healthy supply of gold used as decoration by the Ettercaps.

Their first week underground comes to a close as the weary party prepares to rest before sealing a deal with an obviously evil dragon.


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