Campaign of the Month: April 2016

Adoraith: Echoes of Epirus

Events of March 1
In Only Seven Days

Newly freed slaves in tow, the party returned to the surface to spend what remained of their latest spoils on the preparation for the assault on the Drow city, as well as giving a healthy amount to the slaves in order to begin their new lives. As they went back down, the party filled in Hrink on their assault on the druegar caravan and the drow city while skipping over their association with the Great Khan. They told Hrink they anticipated that it would take them about a week for their assault on the Drow. Nodding somberly, Hrink warned them that he would wait only one week before sealing the tunnels. Any longer, and the party would have to find another way out of the underdark.

Once more in the underdark, the air was now noticeably warmer, with the scent of something burning in the area. Stepping over to the portcullis to the Great Khan’s compound, the party was informed by the illythid that a band of Lolth worshipers were attempting to retake the Drow city. Glad of the diversion, the party was lead to the alternate path into the drow compound they had been promised. As they stood at the edge of a great chasm, the illythid warned the party of a chimera which lived in these tunnels, feasting itself on the grimlocks that moved below.

With this, the illythid raised a bridge across the chasm and the party was beckoned across. Upon the other side they found two paths, one well traveled, the other not. However, they were told both would lead to the same place. Though initially the party considered taking the well trodden path, Merek reasoned that they did not know what traveled down that path, and was able to convince the party to take the less traveled tunnel.

As the party snaked their way down the tunnel, they soon came to question the wisdom of having taken this path. Slade was leading the party when a sticky strand shot shot from the darkness into him. Ignoring the shouts of “Money shot!” from behind him, Slade found himself face to face with a roper, its poison sapping his strength.

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The party quickly rushed down the tunnel to his aid. Shortly after discovering the creature’s resistance to magic, Merek also discovered it could fire more than a single strand as it yanked him from the ceiling onto the stone floor and began firing at the rest of the party. While those that could harm the creature closed in and chopped at the roper, the rest of the party busied themselves with sundering the creature’s gummy spurts.

With the creature now dead, the party was mildly surprised to find that it had collected a sizable cache of coins. Padding their wallets, the party continued down the tunnel. It wasn’t long, however, before they found themselves upon the scene of yet another battle. As their tunnel widened out into a large cavern, they party saw a mycanid village before them, the little mushrooms strewn about, their bodies flaccid against the cave floor. It did not take long for the party to notice Drow moving about the village, setting fire to the buildings.

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Unwilling to let this slaughter go unchallenged without one of their own, the party charged out to meet the Drow. However, they quickly found themselves outnumbered, as several more Drow and a dryder came from within the village proper. Quick thinking by Edluar sent a few of the Drow fleeing in blindness. Merek was dropped to the floor once more as one of the drows’ poison over took him, dropping him unconscious. Upon being revived, he quickly set a pair of water elementals to distract the dryder. The rest of the party rushed forward to meet the enemies’ melee fighters, while Edluar, brash as ever, rushed forward without support.

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Just as the tide seemed to be swinging in the party’s favor, reinforcements came from below in the form of a pair of Drow rogues, a sorceress, and a web golem. The sorceress fell quickly to the concentrated fire of the entire party, but the rogues proved far more resilient. None the less, the party managed to keep their momentum, cutting down the last of the Drow’s main line. With the dryder having wasted the majority of her spells on the elementals, and the rogues now surrounded, the Drow fell into retreat, leaving their web golem alone to stall the party.

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As the party surrounded the gooey, pasty construct, they found it more than capable of slowing them down. Slade called out that it was weak to fire, prompting Dhamsa to unleash a flurry alchemists fire and to down a potion of fire breath. Smoldering under the fiery assault the creature fell at last. Exhausted and badly wounded from their battle, the party resolved to regroup before continuing onward toward the chimera that no doubt awaited them ahead.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Edluar the Seeker, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Wu Zi, Slade

XP Award (APL 5): 790

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Merek

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Events of February 22
Dead on Time

Their meal with the Great Khan now concluded, the party were lead to rooms, just as opulently appointed as the rest of the beholder’s lair. After passing a few hours to themselves, a soft knock was heard at each of their doors. Those who answered it were greeted by a scantily clad slave of the opposite sex, carrying a bottle of wine and a tray of meat and cheese. Though most of the party turned away their visitor, Merek found himself quite enamored with the… erm… fine wine and invited the woman in.

The following morning, Merek groggily awoke to the familiar site of an empty bottle of wine, and the unfamiliar sensation the woman lying next to him. Looking over at her, he could see she was already awake and staring at him. “Did you mean what you said last night?” she asked, giving the now bewildered Merek a nervous look. All the more confused, Merek asked what the girl what he had said. This sent her into a panic, though Merek managed to calm her down enough to learn that her name was Lariana, and that he had promised to free her. He reassured her that he would find a way to free her and set to work finding his clothes.

Hoping the rest of the party hadn’t seen Lariana leave his room, he slipped down the hall to rejoin them as Burok Zhan lead them on the trail of the Druegar traders, warning that they had allied recently with the Grell, beaked brains with tentacles who hunted in the Underdark. Not long after leaving the gates of the Great Khan’s stronghold, the party found themselves on the edge of an underground ravine. As the carefully made their way along the edge, Serea called out that she heard something up ahead. Merek scurried along the ceiling over the ravine, spotting a hulking beast gnawing on a recent kill. After failing to distract it, Merek opened fire on the beast, loosing bolts of eldritch energy into its flank as the rest of the party charged forward to finish it off.

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With the beast slain, Slade identified it as a grey render, a beast which was known to imprint upon and protect communities near where it hatched. Hoping not to run into whatever may command such a beast, the party continued following the directions given by Burok Zhan. The floor began to descend until the party found themselves hiking along the shore of an underground river. Once again, Serea signaled for a stop, hearing whispers up ahead which discussed eating them. Merek went to climb up the wall once more, but Serea waved him back, stating that there was movement above them.

Now on high alert, the party cautiously moved forward. However, whatever had been whispering seemed to have passed over peaceably, and it wasn’t long before the party found themselves in a large cavern which seemed to have once been an underground lake. Traveling a bit further, the party spotted several walking mushrooms pulling on a set of ropes. After reassuring themselves that they had not eaten any mushrooms, the party were able to identify the mushrooms as mycanids, one of the few peaceful denizens of the Underdark.

Though initially skittish at the site of the party, Kiwi and Slade were able to calm them. Upon noticing that the mycanids were trying to pull a purple worm grub from their fields, the party offered their assistance, taking a few hours from their pursuit to relocate it. In appreciation, the mycanids offered the party bundles of edible fungus. Continuing on their way, the party asked the mycanids for directions on which way the Druegar had traveled.

Pressing on into the night, the party was able to at last catch up to the Druegar. A quick survey of the camp showed a dozen or so druegar, three grell, and one dire boar.

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Deciding that valor gets the better of discretion, the party quickly buffed themselves up, with Slade drinking a potion of Enlarge Person, Merek summoning a large water elemental at the far side of the camp, and Myrtle blowing her horn of glory. As Merek’s water elemental crashed against the grell, the druegar lept to their feet. The basic foot soldiers advanced towards the bulk of the party, while the druegar commander ordered their beserker BLOOORGH to take out the water elemental.

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The water elemental was able to fell two of the grell before they could escape, and the third was taken out by Slade as it tried to close into the rest of the party. Damhsa, Kiwi, and Slade then turned to meet the bulk of the druegar forces and the dire boar rider. Almost unseen, a rogue managed to slip through the party’s front line, but was swiftly cut down by Kiwi and Myrtle. Merek moved forward, blasting a shot into the boar rider as he moved up to support his elemental. Not long after, Slade and Damhsa had managed to fell the rider, and began to clean up the foot soldiers while the boar fled in panic.

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Meanwhile, at the far end of the camp, BLOOORGH and the elemental dueled, with the elemental just barely surviving with Merek’s assistance. With the tide of battle having turned against the slavers, the druegar leader pressed a dagger to the nearest slave’s throat. Merek and the elemental quickly close in, demanding he surrender. Face to face with an angry blob of animated water and a warlock powerful enough command it, the druegar slaver’s nerve broke. Dropping his knife, he surrendered and the last of his foot soldiers followed suit.

Quickly binding the two druegar prisoners in the slaves’ irons, the party set about moving the sizable amount of valuables the slavers had been carrying to a single cart. Once the wagon was loaded, and the captive druegar were put into the slaves’ harnesses, Kiwi and Dhamsa told the former slaves that the party had to take them back to the Great Khan in order to get them out, advising that they would trade all the riches they had taken in order to do so if necessary.

Though not entirely convinced the former slaves decided they had no better choice. It was at this time that Sylandra, a radiant elf that had been the Great Khan’s favorite, began to panic fearing that the Great Khan would not release her. Reassuring her they would think of something, they party trekked back to the beholder’s palace.

Once there, they were once more given a lavish dinner with the Great Khan. This time, however, the meal was mainly concerned with negotiation, with the party able to secure the purchase of the six slaves they had recovered and Lariana. Sylandra, however, the Great Khan would not release, though he did agree, at Dhamsa’s suggestion, to discuss the matter again if the party were to deliver to him the Drow Matriach. With the negotiations largely successful, the party and the Great Khan passed the rest of the meal amicably while the party planned their assault on the drow stronghold.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Wu Zi, Slade

XP Award (APL 5): 790

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Damhsa

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Events of February 8
Beauty is in the eye of... well, you know...

As the party exited the mines, they watched in bemusement as all of their hard-won drow treasures dissipated in the waning sunlight. Muttering curses about evil elves and their black metal, the party somberly made its way to the inn to rest and make funeral preparations for Bolo. After a quiet night, the party made its way back to the mines to once again delve deep into its deadly passages. Upon arrival, however, Hrink advised the party that the guards had heard strange, eerie sounds from the accursed mines throughout the night.

Eager to avenge their fallen comrade, they entered the mine and headed to the collapsed shaft. As they moved down the collapsed shaft, Kiwi sent out her senses and felt the reverberations of evil down the side shaft with the supply crates. Carefully moving towards a possible ambush, they were befuddled to find… nothing. Myrtle determined that the area had been desecrated, and Edular noticed that there was blood seeping through a crate. When the top was pried off, Edular found a dead Droshügen soldier, naked and starting to rot. “They killed him, changed their appearance, stole his uniform, and just walked out. No suspicion. No questions.” Quickly, the party took the body back to the surface and warned the soldiers, who vaguely remembered already seeing their deceased compatriot walk out of the mines earlier the previous day.

Not wasting any time, the party hurried back down the mine and to the bottom level. Wanting to ensure that nothing would surprise them from behind, Edular used his 10 foot pole to poke at the hanging curtain at the back of the passage. With an odd tearing sound the curtain moved to show a passageway filled with webs. Just as he turned to yell a warning to the party, the trap was sprung.

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Working together, the party quickly destroyed the devilish arachnids, barely keeping Serea from succumbing to their toxin. After a quick round of healing, they continued down the passageway, watching for anything with more than two legs. When they reached the hole in the ceiling, Wu Zi climbed up and verified that no more nasty surprises awaited them. Serea quickly climbed up the rope into the hidden room above, then up another ladder into a tiny chamber which once housed a shrine to her god. Her cry of anguish had the party scrambling up the ladder to find a desecrated shrine no longer usable to Serea or her followers.

Filled with anger and a need to purge the mines of their evil intruders, the party quickly moved to the final chamber. Hearing odd noises and sensing an evil force within, Damhsa and Edular threw sunrods as far as possible in different directions as Myrtle blew the Horn of Glory, empowering her allies. As the sunrods landed, the dark recesses of the cavern revealed a pack of worgs greedily ripping into a carcass as a drow sorceress stood high upon a rise, sending wights towards the party.

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The fight was drawn out and almost overwhelming, as both Myrtle and Damhsa were almost felled from grievous wounds. Kiwi and Slade sliced into enemies left and right, as Wu-Zi rained down a flurry of blows on anything he could reach. Edular quickly cast a spell of invisibility and started to run up the incline towards the sorceress, but she stepped back into an opening in the rocks and vanished into the underdark. Just as the party was wrapping up the last of their wounds, a large force of Droshügen soldiers came up the passageway, led by Hrink. He told them that they would hold the cavern so the party could go after the sorceress and into the underdark.

Moving down the dark tunnel, they encountered a fork in the path. To the left, they found a portcullis barring the tunnel. Edular drew out his 10 foot pole and poked the bars. Unfortunately, the threat came not from the portcullis, but from the walls of the tunnel, as an umberhulk came charging out. Damhsa and Slade fell victim to its hynotic gaze, becoming confused and struggling to determine friend from foe. Wu-Zi quickly stepped in to assist, only to take a stunning blow to the face which would forever leave him a mouth-breather. Finishing off the creature, the party took a few minutes to quaff potions before turning their attention back to the portcullis.

Approaching the bars cautiously, Damhsa knocked on the metal and called out a greeting to whomever may dwell beyond. After receiving no response and examining it and being unable to move the bars, the party searched the right tunnel and discovered a swath of loose, sandy ground. Edular stepped forward and cautiously poked the ground with his 10 foot pole. It sank in almost half way, then seemed to be gripped from deep below the sand. Most of the party returned to the cavern with Hrink to plan a way to go through the portcullis, but Edular stayed behind to explore the tunnel. Casting both invisibility and spider climb spells, he used the ceiling of the tunnel to bypass the sandy ground. After a few minutes of crawling, he came to the end of the tunnel and the beginning of their nightmare. The cavern was huge and filled with not just buildings, but an entire city of dark elves. Far in the distance, he could just make out figures harvesting glowing fungus as slavers cracked whips behind them. Scurrying back, he relayed to the group what he saw.

Determined to avoid a TPK, the group decided to return to the portcullis in the hopes of finding a way around the city. As they approached, they noticed that there was a strange being standing behind the bars. With a nod, the being greeted the party and introduced himself as Burok Zhan. He said that he had responded to Damhsa’s knock and came to bring them to his master. Myrtle leaned over and whispered to the party that he was an Illithid, a very powerful creature of the underdark.

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“He eats brains!” she warned. Try as hard as they could, the party could not get out of the invitation without invoking the wrath of the Great Khan, Burok Zhan’s master. Reluctantly, they followed behind him as he lead them through the tunnel, which seemed to magically morph into a sweet-smelling, beautifully crafted hall. The grand hall had a huge octagonal fountain in the center with a huge floating orb at its center. At each corner was what appeared to be a very realistic sculpture of an explorer of one kind or another. A little too realistic. At the back of the hall were several massive banquet tables overflowing with food, drink, and the most expensive tableware Edular had ever boasted of owning himself. Opulence dripped from every corner and furnishing, stunning the party.

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They were seated at one of the tables, where they were joined by many other beings of varying races, all who acted and spoke to the party as though they had known them for decades. Wary and uncertain, the group watched as slaves served them food and drink, but only after tasting everything. Suddenly, their mysterious host appeared at the head of the table.The Great Khan greeted them warmly, even as the party silently soiled themselves with fear. A beholder, the most feared creature of the underdark, floated before them. He spoke of how he was displeased that the drow were becoming troublesome. Once, they had coexisted peacefully. Now, since a new matriarch had taken power and formed an alliance with the yuan-ti, their relations had deteriorated. He looked at the party and offered them an alliance – if they would help him with a little “problem,” then he would assist them in their quest. Looking about, he asked who their leader was, which had Edular jumping up and proclaiming himself their glorious leader. They agreed that the party would go in search of some duergar traders who had cheated the Great Khan out of his favorite slave,an elf of great beauty.

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Asking for a gift of great value and beauty to seal the alliance, Damhsa quickly dug through her pack and presented to him the electrum dagger with a ruby handle they had “found” after a battle. Pleased with his gift and new alliance, the Great Khan smiled and told the party that they would be his guests for the night, and that he would bestow upon them a gift – a male slave. Afraid of what else would happen, the party quickly sought their beds.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Edluar the Seeker, Slade, Wu Zi

XP Award (APL 5): 790

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Edular

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Events of January 25
The March of the Black Queen

Having spent what remained of the previous day collecting supplies for their scouting mission into the mines, the party was able to get a good night’s rest. The following day they were awoken by Zelig, who was noticeably cold towards the party (no doubt due to having noticed the wound from Edluar’s arrow in Helig’s shoulder).

However, as he lead the party into the mine, a runner came from behind, advising Zelig that he had been summoned by Sofiel. With forced politeness, Zelig excused himself, leaving the runner to send them down to the mining foreman, another soldier by the name of Hrink Eld. The “Commandant,” as he introduced himself, seemed surprisingly affable in comparison to most of the men of Droshügen. He quickly assessed the party of the assault on the mines as the crossed over the pits in which they kept the yuan-ti prisoners.

Taking one of the mine’s hand cranked elevators down, the party was able to continue through the mine largely unmolested, only having to bypass the occasional hastily constructed trap. Upon reaching the second elevator Hrink had advised them of, they found it collapsed. As they were investigating the gaping hole before them, they heard crying from across the gap.

Merek scurried over across the ceiling, spotting a yuan-ti huddled behind some crates sobbing. Securing a rope on the far side for the party to cross on, they quickly crossed the gap. Upon arriving on the far side, they cornered the yuan-ti, Serea. After the had pumped her for information on the mines, she began asking the party to take her along. Though they were initially hesitant, once they learned she was a healer, they began to reconsider.

After having Myrtle confirm the god she worshiped was not evil, and a threat of death at the slightest sign of betrayal from Merek, the party agreed to let her come along. Using the remains of the elevator, the party began descending deeper into the mines. Halfway down the shaft, they found that the wreckage of the former elevator had caught up on a side passage. Deciding it was worth investigating, the party formed ranks and slipped down the passage.

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It was a short walk into the store room at the end of the passage, where a stifling stench seemingly slammed into the party’s nostrils. Fighting the urge to wretch, the party found themselves set upon by several ghasts and a wight.

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Though Kiwi was paralyzed by the undead, the party were able to fight them off without any casualties. Replenishing their rope from the store room, the party slid back out onto the wreckage of the elevator and continued down to the bottom level of the mine.

Once at the bottom, the party noticed a crate barricade blocking the passageway to the east, and though the party had been told the undead had originated from the west, curiosity won out as the investigated the crates. Serea advised the party that behind was a store room like the one above, as Edluar began knocking on the crates. Once he heard an answer, he began to knock in strange patterns into the crates for a while before finally calling out to the inhabitants.

A response quickly came from a thoroughly servile yuan-ti. Edluar, quite pleased with being called “Master” by the yuan-ti prisoners, very thoroughly questioned the prisoners about what had happened before giving them permission to use the rations within the storeroom. With the mysteries of the store room now solved, the party marched down the west passage.

It wasn’t long before the party found something odd in their path: a rope hanging from the ceiling. Though skittish about the rope, Merek eventually scurried forward along the ceiling, peeking in. He narrowly avoided something trying to grab his head as he scrambled backwards. Now convinced the rope was a trap, the party attempted to bypass it by a wide berth.

However, as they tried to slip by, a fireball blasted out of the hole. Not long after that, they found themselves embattled by several drow and a dryder.

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While their rogue wreaked havoc from within, Kiwi and Slade were able to fend off the main fighters of the drow. As the party began to gain their footing and push back the drow forces, a sorceress descended down from the hole

With renewed ferocity, the drow rogue bounced between the party, nearly killing several party members. They drow fighters and dryder did not fair so well, falling quickly to their combatants; and with the party now converging on his position, the rogue did not last much longer. The sorceress did not prove so easy. Having had several turns to prepare herself, even hitting her was a challenge. Bolo was the first to break through her defenses, but his skill was met with swift and terrible punishment.

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Fire arced across the cage, blasting the hobbit in the face, killing him instantly. As Myrtle dashed to Bolo’s side, the rest of the party struggled to encircle and slay the sorceress. Seeing the odds were against her, she swiftly slipped back into her hole and disappeared through a magical doorway. Their quarry now gone, the party set about figuring out what to do next as they looted the fallen drow.

Having finally discovered the source of the undead, further confirmed by the insignia carried by the drow (Kiransali, the Lady of Death, also known as the Vengeful Banshee), the party began to ascend back to the top floor of the mines after collecting the yuan-ti prisoners in the storeroom. On the way up, Serea made an impassioned plea to the party help them. Though Damhsa, Kiwi and Myrtle were willing to help, Merek voiced his discomfort with the idea of making promises of wholesale freedom, given that the prisoners here were, seemingly, prisoners captured in battle. However, given that their conditions were far worse than the Acanthan treatment of orcs captured at the west well, he did decide to assist the party in at least securing better treatment for the prisoners.

Upon returning to the top level, the party waved off the Droshügen guards as the tried to slap irons onto the prisoners. Though none of them made a case for freedom for the yuan-ti, they did ask Hrink to give them better treatment for their help in the mines and to allow Serea to stay with them. Begrudgingly, the commandant agreed, though with the proviso that an yuan-ti showing even minor signs of rebellion would be summarily executed.

The matter of the yuan-ti settled for now, the party went on to report the presence of drow in the mines below. Though initially considering the idea incredulous, Hrink quickly changed his mind as the drow sergeant’s head was lobbed into his hands. Their enemy now known, the party and Droshügen prepared for battle.

Characters Present: Merek Falk, Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Edluar the Seeker, Slade, Wu Zi

XP Award (APL 5): 790

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Slade

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The Events of January 11
Another One Bites the Dust

With the dragon now dead and properly looted, the party returned to the rescued Droshügen soldiers. Having noticed that night had fallen while the party was clearing the caves, they resolved to camp the night. However, the night would not be a restful one. Their rest was first interrupted by the unmistakable sound of someone in full plate armor attempting to be quiet. Convinced it was Yuan-ti reinforcements, Merek groggily fired an eldritch blast in the direction of the sound.

Seeing the blast sink into a nearby wall, the figured stopped and called out for the party to stop in a thick Droshügen accent. He introduced himself as Slade, and explained that he had been sent by Zelig to check up on them. Though somewhat skeptical, the party suspected they would be fighting their way out through Yuan-ti as they returned to Droshügen, for which an extra sword would be handy.

As the party settled in for second watch, Merek heard the sound of someone talking outside the cave and climbed down the hole to investigate. Once he got to the mouth of the cave, he discovered that it was Helig shouting across the valley and asking the party to come out. As Merek tried to coax more information out of their scout, Slade woke up the rest of the party. Deciding that Helig had likely been captured and now had a knife to his throat, Edluar suggested that they go see what they could do to help.

Reluctantly leaving the cave, the party soon spotted Bee’org standing at the top of the far cliff, holding Helig over the edge. Once the devil had finished patting himself on the back, he laid his terms out to the party. They were to take Sofiel’s fragment of the artifact or he would harvest Helig’s soul then kill them. At this, Edluar turned to Slade, confirming that his people would rather be killed than have their souls harvested. With a bit of magical assistance from Slade, Edluar sent an arrow sailing across the valley and into Helig’s shoulder.

As the boy’s scream rang out across the valley, Bee’org pulled him back. Edluar darted off to run around the outside of the cliffs, but the rest of the party rushed across to scale the far cliff. Merek was the first to crest the cliff, where he spotted Bee’org kneeling over Helig, surrounded by Yuan-ti and a glowing crystal in his hand. Hoping to interrupt the ritual, he summed several water elementals to surround Bee’org. Damhsa was close behind, having quaffed a potion of flight and taken Bolo into the air with her. Air-dropping the halfing onto the cliff side, she dashed across to Helig’s side hoping to drag the boy to safety.

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Sadly, it was not to be. The now enraged bearded devil hefted his glaive, spitting wildly as he lashed out. With a flurry of blades, he wounded the elementals and quickly beheaded Helig. Damhsa, Merek and Bolo desperately fought to hold the clifftop as the rest of the party clambered up to join the battle. Once they had arrived, the party was able to quickly turn the tide of the battle. Seeing that the battle had shifted against him, Bee’org snarled for the remaining Yuan-ti to kill the party and teleported away. Needless to say, the Yuan-ti did not stand a chance when confronted with an enraged Kiwi and battle-hungry Slade.

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Somberly, the party collected Helig’s body, to return to his father, even restraining themselves from looting his body (probably one of the greatest honors the party would afford the deceased). After passing the rest of the night without further incident, they began their trek back to Droshügen in earnest. Two more days passed without incident.

However, on the third night, the party was awoken by Slade, who had heard the sound of something flapping it’s wings overhead. Just as the party was able to get to their feet – thanks to Slade’s spell – a pair of wyverns swooped down from the sky. As Slade and Edluar barked out what the knew of the beasts, the party began fighting for their lives.

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Though they were able to kill the wyverns, Damhsa and Kimi were both envenomated. As the wyvern’s poison coursed through their veins, Myrtle’s spells and Merek’s potions struggled to keep them alive. In the end, Damhsa was able to stave off the poison’s fatal effects, but Kimi was not so lucky. Gasping for breath, she fell lifeless before the party.

After wrapping Kimi’s body in a blanket, they were able to pass the rest of the night without any further interruptions. Another day passed uneventfully as the party carried the dead and coaxed the wounded ever closer to Droshügen. On the night before the reached the road, they were awoken by a large group of beings passing nearby. Merek went to investigate, hiding himself in a tree near the creatures’ path. Hiding in a tree, he watched as a horde of undead shambled aimlessly towards the city. Determined to warn the city, the party dispatched a feather token to the city to warn them.

However, when the party reached the road the following day, they saw that their warning was not needed. Scores of undead laid motionless, charged down by Droshügen cavalry. Making their way to one of the garrisons along the road, the party was able to procure a wagon and were able to pass the rest of the way back to Droshügen in peace.

Upon arriving, the party delivered the somber news of his son’s death to Zelig, giving him his body. Zelig left wordlessly as the city priests arrived to tend to the wounded soldiers and transport the dead soldier from the Yuan-ti torture chamber for cremation. Merek, having decided the local sun deity was simply a precursor to Pelor, asked the priests to give Kimi her final rites as well.

With the dead and wounded now taken care of, the party split up through out the city. Slade returned home to brag of his latest adventure, Edluar went off to the library research ancient Epiran lore, and Damhsa and Merek went off to speak with Sofiel.

The pair were lead through a seemingly unused wing of the citadel. With Sofiel’s disposition towards the them decidedly less hostile, the party were able to clear the air. First and foremost, they informed her of Bee’org’s arrival and that he had asked them to take the artifact from her, which Sofiel thought laughable. The party reassured her that they had no desire to take the artifact from her, as she obviously had it well protected.

With that established, Sofiel’s attitude softened a bit more. She immediately began asking them to destroy the diary once again, which neither Damhsa nor Merek would agree to. Though she made it clear she did not agree with the decision, she seemed to at least acknowledge they did not want to use the artifact, saying that so long as they left her piece with her, she wished more power to them.

With the matter of the artifact settled for now, the party brought up the procession of undead which they had seen during their return. Sofiel advised that they were a recurring nuisance. Though she did not know the exact source, she did know that the undead creatures all originated from the Underdark, and had recently been spotted in the mines beneath the city. She asked the pair to look into it, as they seemed to be in town for a while longer. Damsha and Merek agreed to assist and left Sofiel to her solitude.

Characters Present: Merek Falk, Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Edluar the Seeker, Slade

XP Award (APL 5): 790

Roleplaying XP Bonus: ???

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Events of January 4
Dragon Slayers

The party stood about the training yard, waiting for Sofiel to finish wailing on the targets. After some time, Zelig stepped up once more, clearing his throat to get Sofiel’s attention. Though initially she demanded that Zelig to send them away, he was able to convince her that they could be of use. Begrudgingly acquiescing, the wingless erinyes returned to her training as Zelig took the party into the citadel’s keep to brief them.

The Epiran survivors were planning a raid to rescue several prisoners from a yuan-ti stronghold. As if to further complicate matters, the lair was also inhabited by a dragon. He explained that recently the Yuan-ti had taken to hiring young dragons in the area in order to harass the city from above, and this particular one was by far the most belligerent amongst them.

Going by the name of Kypyron, the young dragon was the spawn of a wyrm known to reside far to the northeast of the city, a fact of which Kypyron often bragged. Zelig’s plan was to send out several distraction teams while the Seekers made their way to the dragon’s lair. On the third day, the distraction teams would begin their assaults on nearby Yuan-ti establishments and hopefully draw some of the garrison from the prison inside the dragon’s lair.

The party agreed to that the plan was sound, and were escorted by Zelig to a nearby inn. After squaring away their rooms, the party came down to the inn’s commons for a meal. After sampling the local cuisine to the dulcet tones of a local bard, the party began to relax. Not long after she had finished eating, Damhsa slipped up from the table and began to dance to the bard’s song, followed shortly by Edluar’s enthusiastic spasms. Though initially confused, the locals in the inn soon warmed up to the party and were soon swarming them with questions, mostly about their confusion at the existence of halflings.

While the rest of the party lavished in the locals’ attention, Merek quietly slipped out, hoping to see more of the city beyond Zelig’s all too brief guided tour. Having seen how the Acanthans and Cantabrians treat magic users, Merek had hoped to see some indication of this city’s stance towards the arcane. While he was unable to turn anything up on that front, the warlock was intrigued by the absolute order the city seemed to operate in. As he returned to the inn, Merek mused at how an isolated city essentially founded by a devil’s, namely Sofiel, intervention would certainly be a boon to said devil should it give his or her Master claim to its inhabitants’ souls.

Shortly after Merek’s return to the inn, the party settled into their rooms for the night. Rest was short lived however when Kiwi awoke to Sofiel’s fiery blade hovering above her neck. The cranky paladin initially only returned a glare at the erinyes and rolled over to sleep. Unamused, Sofiel rudely pulled the halfing from her bed, and demanded to know why she had come. Kiwi sleepily shrugged and told Sofiel to speak to Merek.

Storming out into the hallway, she dragged Kiwi along and slammed Merek’s door open. Stopping himself from firing an eldritch blast at the interruption, he gestured her over to the table to explain why they had come for the artifact which hung around Sofiel’s neck at the guidance of their mysterious benefactor. Sofiel’s sour mood only turned darker upon learning that Galien’s journal had been discovered and had lead the party here; and even darker still upon learning of Merek’s heritage. She urged the party to destroy the book, though they made no promises. Exasperatedly declaring the party to be a group of fools, Sofiel stormed out of the room. As the party slowly returned to their respective rooms, they double-checked their locks and settled in to attempt to get some decent rest.

Morning came far to quickly with a quiet knock on each of their doors. Outside, one of Zelig’s men informed them it was time to head out. Edular caused rumbles of annoyance to echo the hall as he, refused to get out of bed. Damhsa banged on his door and loudly announced that Burba was pregnant. The guard only looked perplexed as the sound of a body hurling itself out of the room’s window could be heard. “He’s up now,” was all Damhsa said as she headed downstairs. After gearing up, the party set out to meet Zelig. Upon arriving, they saw Zelig speaking with a young man. Upon seeing them, Zelig called them over, introducing the boy as Helig. He explained that while the Helig would be their guide, he was not to participate in the actual assault on the dragon’s lair.

The two day trek to the dragon’s lair passed uneventfully, with Helig peppering them with questions about their homelands. Upon arriving at the valley outside of the dragon’s lair, the party set about scouting it, leaving Helig a safe distance from the enemy’s stronghold. Upon discovering a river flowing into the cave from above, Merek decided to investigate. However, his spell allowing him to cling to the rock failed once he was submerged, sweeping him into the water.

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In the blink of an eye, Merek found himself in the cave below, getting pulled slowly towards a whirlpool. After quickly swimming to the shore, a shrill shriek rang out through the cave. On the far side of the subterranean pond, a dracator had spotted him. Merek scrambled up the wall firing at the beast while the rest of the party dove down after him.

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With a rope and a bit of finesse, the party was able to make it safely below; however, the damage had been done. The full force of the Yuan-ti garrison was being brought down on them. However, the Yuan-ti had never expected someone to drop down from the river above, and their response was stilted. Edluar further compounded this issue, with a series of illusions.

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Over the protracted battle, the party was able to eradicate the Yuan-ti with no losses. After healing up, they set about investigating the cave. The quickly found what remained of the prisoners, a few badly beaten men hanging from a ceiling and another, still alive but filleted open. While they were able to keep the ones on the ceiling stable, the party were unable to heal the man fileted on the altar. Kiwi stepped forward to put him out of his misery while the rest of the party set about making sure the other prisoners were safe.

With their main objective now complete, the party was unwilling to leave without their promised dragon. After scouring the rest of the cave, the party finally descended to the creature’s lair. Kypyron mocked the party as he swooped into the cave with them. However, his bravado was short lived, as not more than a minute had passed before the party encircled and cut the beast down.

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With the dragon slain, and the party collected their spoils from the creature’s lair and took trophies before returning to the rescued prisoners to prepare for their return trip.

Characters Present: Merek Falk, Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Edluar the Seeker

XP Award (APL 4): 675

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Edluar

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Events of December 28
Crouching Erinyes, Soggy Dragon

The Alkera Merfolk now behind them, the party continued on their journey. As they approached the north end of the lake, Canton came up from below decks. He had finally managed to dig up some information on the symbols that the Lady of Dusk had scrawled on the deck of the ship to describe the Skeleton Man. They belonged to the now defunct house Yragmag, which was renowned for its magic users before the establishment of the Cantabrian Theocracy and the Arcane Purge.

However, the party did not have much time to dwell on this. Upon the entering the river once more, the party found themselves being paced from the shore by several dark-maned wemick.

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While Damhsa seethed in barely controlled bloodlust at the sight of the creatures, they did not stay long. Upon spotting a wake moving beneath the river, they bolted, and not long after, the party began to feel something under the water ramming itself into the ship.

Merek slipped beneath the water, clinging to the hull of the ship. Once below, he spotted a green dragon, rasping its hide into the keel of the ship. Loosing a bolt of eldritch power into it’s hide, the dragon slipped away to the other side of the ship. When Merek had emerged from the water, he saw that the dragon had already landed on the ship’s bow. The party watched warily as the dragon attempted to extort a toll from Edluar, who glibly asked where the signs informing of said toll had been posted.

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None to amused, the dragon loosed a spray of acid onto the deck of the ship, searing several of the party. As those who had been on the bow fell back to the healing arms of little Myrtle, Merek and Bolo fired with abandon at the beast, earning yet more of its ire. The two managed to hold off the beast long enough for the rest of the party to recover. Now bloodied, the dragon saw that he had bitten off more than he could chew. As he began to take wing, Kiwi buried Sune’s Judgment into his wing, crippling his ability to fly. Now near death, it sneered at the party once more, before slipping silently into the water. Though Damhsa and Merek dove into the water after it, it managed to escape.

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Where most creatures would have been happy just to be alive after such an encounter, the pair of them were itching for a fight after having allowed the dragon escape. However, their thirst would soon be slaked, as a Yuan-ti sorceress teleported onto the deck of the ship with a pair of dracator mercenaries.

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At the same time, several Yuan-ti warriors began scrambling up the side of the ship. After a brief scramble to arms, the crew of the Sea Ghost managed once more to repel the serpentine boarders.

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However, the battle was not without some loss, as one of the men at arms, Richard, took a grievous wound at the hands of the sorceress. Her scorching ray grilled away his hopes of spending his time in port at a brothel.

With the yuan-ti now dead and Richard liberally applying ice while bemoaning his nickname, the party continued up river. The next day passed relatively uneventfully with no attacks by the yuan-ti or the newly-angered dragon. However, as the party set watch the following night, Damhsa spotted a large cluster of lights on the river ahead. Distinguishing their own lights and dropping anchor, the party waited for daylight before proceeding to scout out the encampment.

When the approached, they found an encampment teeming with Yuan-ti of all descriptions. Though the party was initially divided about how to proceed on bypassing the fort, they eventually decided to forgo the assault on the fort and attempt to pass by silently in the night. As insurance, they had Leofrik swim ahead and lash the Yuan-ti ship’s rudders to the docks.

When the following night came, the party extinguished all light on the ship, and began to slip down the river. As they neared the Yuan-ti encampment, Edluar sprinted down the deck, covering the ship in a zone of silence. Though the far bank had a watch tower the party did not know about, they were able to slip by undetected.

With the danger now passed, the party settled into their usual watches, only to be rudely awoken as the ship lurched to a sudden stop. Looking over the edge, the party were able to see a chain stretched across the river. After waiting until morning to go ashore, Damhsa, Merek, Kiwi, and Myrtle took a skiff past the floating bodies of yuan-ti and the rubble of their wrecked ships. Once on the shore, the party began to investigate the crank which lowered the chain in and out of the water.

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Spotting a padlock on it, the Merek turned to yell for Edluar to join them on the water. As Merek began to yell across the water, a dozen bowmen came out of the underbrush, surrounding the party and demanding they drop their weapons. Assuming that these bowmen were the Epiran survivors they were looking for, Merek and Myrtle dropped their weapons willingly. Kiwi and Damhsa however took a bit more convincing.

Watching the rest of the party march off with the bowmen, Edluar gleefully announced that he was now in charge of the ship, proceeding to drop his pants and run across the deck much to the confusion (and in Richard’s case, jealousy) of the crew. Meanwhile, on the path to the bowmen’s encampment, a sulking Damhsa was demanding a receipt for her weapons from the head bowmen when they were lead into a tent. Taking a seat on the floor, the party watched as a priest began to set up candles throughout the room.

A few incantations later, the party felt the zone of truth wash over them, though only Kiwi resisted its effects. Over the next several minutes, the party explained their purpose in coming up the river, and spent almost twice as long explaining the concept of “halfings” to the bowmen. Now satisfied that the party were not a threat, the head bowman identified himself as Zelig Hart. He agreed to take them to their city to discuss their quest with the owner of the artifact fragment. Along the way, Zelig asked a bit more about the dragon the party had encountered, and identified it as Rynskald.

Once the party had reached a bend in the river where Zelig said the ship would be safe, they anchored the ship and advised Leofrik to wait ashore until he received word from them. Sending off the first of their feather tokens to Talon, they party followed after Zelig into the forest. After trekking inland, the party came to a large paved road, which lead Edluar to began gleefully describing how it was indicative of Epiran architecture.

As they trekked up the road, larger and larger road stations dotted every few miles. Zelig explained that these riders could be used to quickly pass messages across the realm. It wasn’t much longer before the party finally came upon the city proper, encircled by a great wall which Merek noticed very much resembled the western wall near Acanthus. Ascending up the wall, Zelig seemed to take a fair bit of pride in describing his people and their accomplishments to the party. However, the party could see that his pride was well founded once they entered the city proper. Within the encircling wall, was a city of tens of thousands.

As Zelig lead them through the city, the party made note of several things. First off, Kiwi and Damhsa were surprised that only the men were training at arms, and rather tersely accepted Zelig’s explanation of why they could not allow the women to fight on the front lines. Further in, the party began to notice that everyone moved about the town with a purpose; hardly anyone was just loitering about casually. Further more, there seemed to be guards posted on every corner, verifying the identities of the citizens in their area. Zelig further explained that this was necessary due to the Yuan-ti’s ability to infiltrate; it was a necessary evil.

Then the party entered the religious plaza of the city, containing over a dozen churches to the “Lord of Light,” whom the party believed to be an archaic name for Pelor. It was here that the party also realized they had yet to see a tavern in town, confirming their suspicions that Leofrik was definitely better off on the ship. As they drew nearer to the citadel at the heart of the city, they spotted one more land mark that would stand out to them: a large bronze statue of an armored man. The plaque before it identified the man as Lord Marram. The party assumed this to be Gaelin’s brother, Oren, given that Gaelin was found dead a continent away and was a wizard.

The rest of the trip to the citadel passed eventfully. Upon entering it, Zelig lead them to yet another training area, where there was a women who exactly matched the diary’s description of the erinyes, Sofiel, with one exception. Her wings were missing. She glanced over at the party, flaming sword in hand, but said nothing and continued her training. The party could only follow Zelig’s advice, and wait for her to finish what she was doing. Soon the party would find out if she was as repentant as her moniker would suggest.

Characters Present: Merek Falk, Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Edluar the Seeker

XP Award (APL 4): 675

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Merek

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Events of December 7
“I cannot stem this flow of Justice”

The party settled in for their voyage across the lake, feeling relieved to put a bit of distance between themselves and the shore. However, that relief was not going to last long, as barely a few hours into the day, the party spotted a cog on the horizon. As Damhsa ordered Leofrik to move in closer to investigate, the crew of the other ship, several Yuan-ti, hauled a man-sized fish out of the water. In the distance, cries for help filled the air.

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The Sea Ghost loosed her sails, giving chase at full speed as the Yuan-ti fisher-snakes attempted to flee. As the Sea Ghost closed, the yuan-ti cog retaliated by bombarding the deck of the party’s ship with a hail of arrows. After a short exchange of fire between the two ships, the crew of the Yuan-ti cog were killed, with it’s pilot turning the ship into the path of the Sea Ghost and leaping overboard. However, Leofrik was able to deftly dodge the out-of-control cog, and soon the Yuan-ti vessel was under the party’s control.

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Onboard they found a merfolk, still bundled in the net, as well as several others with their throats slit throughout the ship. The one survivor was obviously distraught, but asked the party for help protecting it’s people, as the Yuan-ti had been using the merfolk as a food source. Agreeing to help, they first helped the survivor to the water and returned the corpses of it’s brethen to the water for a proper burial. With the dead removed and ship looted, the party gleefully set ablaze the cog and set sail for the Yuan-ti’s processing camp.

Upon sighting the processing camp, the party went ashore and continued overland on foot. In an attempt to catch the Yuan-ti by surprise, Merek and Saurok slipped into the water, while Damhsa and the rest of the party set fire to the main building. However, Damhsa was seen as she ran behind the building, leaving the party fighting on two fronts. While Damhsa and Kiwi made short work of their enemies, Dik dik, Merek, and Saurok struggled to keep the bulk of the Yuan-ti force from crossing the bridge to join up with the rest of their forces.

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In the desperate fight which ensued, Dik Dik and Saurok both fell. Merek was able to resuscitate Saurok with a potion, but Dik Dik was killed instantly by the enemy sorcerer’s scorching ray. Enraged by the death of the unoffical party mascot, the party rallied their forces and cut down the Yuan-ti’s leaders. The remainder broke into a retreat, fleeing into the tunnels they had been using as a larder.

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Sending Damhsa back to fetch the ship, the party set up an ambush outside the tunnel entrance, determined to avenge Dik Dik fully.

The Yuan-ti attempted to use the merfolk as hostages, but having seen the fate which awaited the merfolk if they stayed in Yuan-ti hands, the party stood their ground. Saurok tried to get to the Yuan-ti to release their hostages in return for safe passage, advising the Yuan-ti, “I cannot stem this flow of justice,” if they were to kill any more merfolk. Realizing their hostages were useless, the remaining Yuan-ti charged out of the tunnels and from behind the out-buildings. Attempting to aid in the battle, a badly-injured Merek used his fallen comrade’s Ring of Summoning. With a flash, four wind elementals appeared, and subsequently ignored their summoner. Luckily, they surrounded the immense Yuan-ti warrior and distracted him long enough for the party to cut him down.

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With the yuan-ti slain, the party quickly set about helping the remaining merfolk out of the larder tunnels. Greatly appreciative of their rescue, the merfolk identified their tribe as the Alkera. Furthermore, they revealed that they were under the protection of a bronze dragon of the same name. They told the party that the dragon was long overdue to return, to which the party offered to keep an eye out for their protector. The merfolk assured the party that they would have comrades beneath the waves, and quickly returned to their watery abode.

With the merfolk now released and an exhausted Damhsa having returned with the Sea Ghost, the party paid homage to their fallen comrade, Dik Dik. After a brief moment of silence for the little kobold, the party took one of the Yuan-ti boats, loading it up as a funeral pyre. Mournfully, they sent their friend off into the lake to rest near the lair of his dragon brethren.

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Their friend put to rest and the merfolk saved, the party combed over the remains of the processing camp once more. Having found plenty of loot but no indication of any other camps in the area, the party razed the camp to the ground. Having done all they could to protect the merfolk, the party returned to their journey up the river.

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Characters Present: Dik Dik, Merek Falk, Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Saurok, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot

XP Award (APL 4): 675

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Damhsa

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Events of November 30
Fair Winds

The newly-assembled crew of the Sea Ghost were in the readying the ship for sale, when Darmonte began slowly plodding along the docks to the ship. The Seekers went over to the side of the ship, waiting patiently until Darmonte finally got close enough to speak with them. He informed them that Talon would be sending along another seeker with them.

As if on cue, another person began staggering down the dock, struggling to stay upright as he hauled an obviously oversized pack on his back. The party made little effort to hide their amusement as the over-prepared man struggled to make his way to the ship. Feeling the need for a bit of friendly mischief, Merek called Leofrik over, tell him to tease the man by giving him the smallest room on board.

When the hunched figured finally arrived, he blurted out his name, Canton Wilmeer, and asked where he could put his stuff as he prattled endlessly about what a surprise this was. Leofrik and Merek lead him below decks to the crew quarters where Leofrik pointed to an empty bunk in the crew quarters and said dead-pan, “Here’s your bunk.”

Canton blinked incredulously at the two men, “Well, were do I put my things?” to which Leofrik instantly replied, “In your bunk.” Merek let Canton reel in confusion for a few moments before patting both Leofrik and Canton on the back, and urging Leofrik to show him a place to stow his things in the cargo bay.

Merek had barely returned above decks when Leofrik came out from the hold, looking a bit perplexed. Damhsa and Merek decided to investigate, and found that Canton had taken a corner of the hold to set up a tent for himself, as well as a small alchemical workshop and a set of bookshelves. Canton, now somewhat at ease, introduced himself once more and explained that he was an alchemist by trade, but also fascinated with research. When Damhsa showed him some antivenom and alchemist fire vials, he quickly scoffed and proclaimed to be able to improve upon them.

Dhamsa, seeing an opportunity, asked Canton if he needed any supplies to craft any specialty potions. Canton eagerly supplied her with a list and a heavy pouch of platinum pieces, which Dhamsa gave to Darmonte. After sending Darmonte off for a final run of supplies for Canton, the Sea Ghost was finally fully stocked and ready for sail, carrying it load of passengers and enough supplies for their long journey.

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The first day’s sailing went by rather uneventfully, with Leofrik advising that they could expect to make the mouth of the river in three days’ time. Spending much of the day fishing as the crew manned the ship, the party found it was enjoying the relaxation that came with the open sea. However, on the second day, a messaged arrived from Talon by feather token, in which he advised the party to expect a ranger to be waiting for them at the mouth of the river with a special package.

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Not long after this, one of the men at arms the party had paid to help protect the ship advised the party that a stowaway was on-board. As the other two guards dragged the culprit on board, the party let out an exasperated sigh as they noticed it was the Lady of Dusk again. Damhsa told the men to let her go, causing the hag to scamper across the deck to the rest of the party.

She thanked the party as she approached, stopping only as her eyes locked with Damhsa’s. She began apologizing for Damhsa’s loss again, who was now beginning worry about her family. After a bit of questioning, Damhsa’s face paled and she backed away slowly, announcing to the rest of the party that she now believed her entire tribe to be dead.

However, the Lady of Dusk’s focus soon shifted, as she looked to the rest of the party. After the customary warning to Merek that his “father,” – which seemed to be her term for the being with whom Merek’s warlock pact was made – was watching. she began to scratch at the deck. Playing the pronoun game once again, she pointed at the “Y” she had scratched into the deck, declaring that “He” was following “the words.” After a bit more questioning, the party was able to discern that the Y represented the Skeleton Man – who was not Darmonte – and that The Repentant One, Sofiel, would know what the words were but that she would not want to help the party.

Seemingly satisfied, she turned to Saurok, whom she had dubbed “Nephew,” and asked for something to eat. Saurok gave her one of the fish they had caught, which she tucked under her arm and wondered below deck as she petted and cooed to her “nice fishy.” Not long after that, the party had to guide her out of Canton’s tent and into the captain’s quarters, knowing that their drunken pilot would be spending his nights passed out next to the rum.

The third day at sea went uneventfully, with them meeting Talon’s ranger at the mouth of the river. He tersely handed off a package and a letter to them, and went about his business. The letter simply stated that Talon wanted the party to stay in touch, and the package contained five Quaal’s Feather Tokens.

Once again finding a favorable wind, the party began to sail up the river. Though the day went uneventfully, that night the ship was boarded by a Yuan-ti raiding party. Initially taken by surprise, the party was able to rally and defend the ship, with only one Yuan-ti able to escape.

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As Damhsa began working the nicest-looking skin off one of them, Canton rushed out from below deck, asking to be able to study them before they were skinned and defanged. He looked over their bodies, obviously enthralled in their markings and he rambled of to the party their possible meanings.

However, the night was not without casualties, as one of the sailors had lost his eye, and another had been poisoned. The following day, the one who had been poisoned began to stagger around the deck of the ship, almost walking over the edge. Canton advised the party he seemed to be under some sort of magical curse, to which they used one of their potions to cure him, moving him below deck to rest up.

The party was put on alert by the sound of a battle ahead, around a bend in the river. Carefully taking ship down to investigate, the sound cut out as soon as the rounded the corner, revealing only a set of large mounds. Though they had initially decided to leave the mounds be, Canton suggested that they may be the burial mounds from the Stohl refugees, as this would be one of the routes they may have taken.

Reluctantly, the party decided to send out a small force to investigate. Saurok, Damhsa, Merek, Canton, and Myrtle made up the party, crossing to the shore. As they neared the mounds, the party saw that one had been torn into. Curious at what could have done this, Merek ran back to the boat and called Kimi out. Once at the mound, Kimi pointed out that it was obviously a large creature, and guided the party off along its tracks.

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Finding themselves on the bone-littered doorstep of the creature’s lair, Saurok and Damhsa snuck inside while Merek climbed up the cliff face to look for a second entrance. Inside, they saw what appeared to be an abyssal eviscerator, turning a spit of some sort of meat. As the rest of the party snuck about trying to prepare an attack, Merek waited in ambush in the cave’s chimney. As he saw the creature begin to wander off towards the cave entrance, he slipped out of the hole.

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The eviscerator heard this, and turned back to roar at Merek. At this, the rest of the party rushed in, and were able to overwhelm the creature. With the demon now dead, the party searched over its lair, finding a magical cloak and returning to the ship. Leaving the cloak to Canton to identify, the party set about getting some rest, expecting another attack on the ship at night.

However, their suspicious turned out to be groundless as the next morning arrived without any incident. Not long after, as they neared the edge of the jungle, they saw that the trees seemed to be moving. Canton arrived on the deck once more, peering at the shore through his telescope. He advised the party that he’d never seen so many snakes in one place before.

After passing the telescope around for the party to see, he told them of the Yuan-Ti anathemas, speculating on how this may be an example of one. He also mentioned that the last time the Yuan-Ti had an anathema was right before the fall of Epirus. The party, however, chose discretion over valor, and did not go ashore. Not long after this, the trees finally gave way to plains.

Much to Damhsa’s chagrin, the crew spotted a Wemick on shore, who quickly disappeared into the tall grass. Her murderous rage barely contained, the party was able to pass yet another uneventful night. However, the following morning, the party spotted a small group of Wemick on the shore ahead, one of them holding a spear aloft. Calling Canton up to the deck once more, he advised the party that it seemed to be a gesture of parley.

Saurok, Damhsa, Merek, and Canton went out to speak with the creatures while Leofrik anchored the ship. After a bit of confusion, Canton was able to identify their language as a derivative of Sylvan, and acted as translator for the party. They advised the Wemick that they were passing through to attempt to meet up others of their kind in the west. The Wemick spokesperson responded that they had received word that the Yuan-ti were marching up there to war. Thanking the Wemick for their information and safe passage through their lands, the party gifted them with some weapons and armor.

The Wemick, most pleased with their gifts, offered to share a banquet with the party, who politely declined, stating that they must make haste but would be willing to share such a banquet on their return trip. The Wemick stated once more that they wished them safe travels and hoped for their safe return. With this, the party returned to the ship and continued on their journey, somehow managing to pass yet another day without bloodshed.

As the next day dawned, the river had began to open up to a lake, where the Wemick had warned the party of yet another tribe of Wemick waited. They could only hope this group would prove as friendly.

Characters Present: Dik Dik, Merek Falk, Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Saurok, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot

XP Award (APL 4): 675

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Merek

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Events of November 16
Bounty Hunters, We don't need that Scum.

Turning a deaf ear to the Lady of Dusk’s pleas, the party descended from the tree, seeking to encircle the hydra before attacking it. Unfortunately, it’s keen senses were able to spot them before they had made it onto the land. Quickly surging up out of the water, the party unleashed their fury onto the hydra. Fortunately for the party, however, the hydra had difficulty reciprocating with it’s own assault, apparently tired from the day’s exertion of chasing Merek around.

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Much to the party’s relief, it fell shortly after with no one seriously wounded. Damhsa, quite proud of the victory, removed a few of the teeth and a section of hide deciding to make some boots later. As the Lady of Dusk rushed out to weep over the dead hydra, the party set about gathering up the survivors and Othris’ body, beginning their march out into the swamp.

As night began to fall, the party set up camp. Though things seemed relatively normal, it wasn’t long into the first watch when Othris rose up and began warming his hands by the fire. Damhsa woke up Merek, and the two went over to investigate. With an unnatural lurch, he turned to the pair and spoke with a voice which echoed unnaturally. Needless to say, the party quickly surmised that the nighthags were speaking through his body. They were angry at the desecration of their tree, but Merek warned them once more that if they continued to pursue them, it would only end in their demise. The threat went unnoticed, with the hags declaring all of their efforts would be devoted to giving the party a miserable and painful death.

With this Othris collapsed into the fire, and not wanting to have the man’s body violated further, Damhsa pulled him out until he could be buried. However, he rose up once more when Saurok was on watch, and began eviscerating one of the survivors. Intending not to allow the nighthags an agent in their midst, Saurok decapitated Othris and burned his body. With that, the rest of the night passed without further incident.

The next morning, however, was a different matter. As the party rose, they quickly noticed that the sun was seeming rising in the west. Damhsa took a moment to figure out which direct was truly north, and the party set out towards Mags, not knowing any way in which to end the hag’s spell. However, upon reaching Mag’s hut, the party discovered that the green hag had visitors. Quickly taking cover in the reeds, the party noticed that the Lady of Dusk was making her way towards the hut, excited that she could finally see her home.

Wary of the visitors, the party held the Lady back while they investigated. As they neared the island, they could see that a large contingent of Bee’org’s forces were camped on the island, as well as a masked humanoid who was conversing with Mags. Saurok slipped into the water to investigate further, but was unable to get close enough to hear anything. He did, however, see Mags show a small bundled figure to the masked man, and pointed off towards the night hags’ tree.

The party waited a while observing the island, only approaching once Bee’org’s troops marched off towards the night hags. Damhsa and Merek first went off to the masked man. Their fears that he was there to intercept the Lady of Dusk were allayed as he showed them a wanted poster.

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Unable to translate the text at the bottom, Damhsa returned to the party, warning Kiwi to stay back while bringing the rest of the party up with the Lady of Dusk. Once the party rejoined Merek with the bounty hunter, Myrtle cast a spell to read the strange writing. She told the party that it told of Kiwi’s associates (i.e., the party), and their recent activities. Leaving the bounty hunter be for the moment, the party went to speak with Mags.

Saurok knocked on her door, letting Mags rush out to happily greet her sister while he slipped inside to peek at the bundle. Mags, however, was having none of this, stating that the bundle was hers and none of Saurok’s business. The two shouted at each other a bit, before the party interceded, pleading with Saurok to let the matter rest while so that they could get the plague lifted. Though initially not concerned with the plight of the “pink skins”, when he was reminded that lizardfolk were also infected he tromped off back to the survivors, shouting at the party and Mags the whole way back.

After a brief discussion with Mags, in which the Lady of Dusk once more warned Merek of the dark forces watching him and apologized profusely to Damhsa for her loss, the party was able to obtain a totem which had to be burned in the town center in order to lift the plague. Wary of Mag’s pulling something like she had with the insects during their first foray into the swamp, the party warned her that any duplicitous actions would be only cause them to return with the “annoying lizard.” As they left, the Lady of Dusk came up to them once more, stating that “the skeleton man” was waiting for them back in Saltmarsh. A bit of questioning lead the party to believe that this was the servant of the being who spoke to them through the orc shaman. As they walked away, Mags inquired as to the whereabouts of Kiwi, to Damhsa, suspecting that she would sell the party out to the githyaki, lied and stated she had been eaten by the hydra.

Knowing that they would not be able to sneak the entire party into the city with the survivors, the party split up, sending Saurok to sneak into the city alone with the totem, while they waited up the coast for him to send a ship to rescue them. Saurok was able to sneak through enemy lines with ease.

Upon entering the town, he saw pure chaos. Deciding it would be best to seek out the sheriff, Deldrin, Saurok made his way towards the city hall, dodging roving packs of plague victims. Once there, he saw that the doors to the hall had been beaten in and abandoned. Since he was already in the city center, he set fire to the totem. This caused a think cloud of smoke to explode up and out from the city, enveloping it. As the smoke finally began to clear, he saw that the nearby victims were now lying on the ground, still sick, but no longer aggressive.

Making his way through the city to the jailhouse, suspecting Deldrin to be there, he noticed that there were no longer any roving bands of plague victims to dodge. Once he arrived at the jail house, and convinced the door guard to let him in, Deldrin greeted him excitedly. Saurok quickly filled him in on what had transpired in the swamp, and that the rest of the party and survivors needed a ship to pick them up. Though skeptical, Deldrin soon relaxed as they walked down to the docks and he could see what had happened for himself.

As Deldrin and Saurok stood at the docks, watching the ship sail off to pick up the rest of the party, he noticed a single rowboat approaching the shore. In it was a pair of men, one hunched and muscular, the either extremely gaunt and pale. Wordlessly, the pair landed, disembarked, and began to make their way towards the Silver Raven Inn. Suspecting this may be the “skeleton man” the Lady of Dusk had told them about, Saurok took off after him.

As the rest of the party landed, they left the refugees for the guard to deal with. As Merek rushed off to see how his family had weathered the plague, Damhsa went off to hire a tanner to cure her hydra hide. Once Merek had confirmed his family was fine, he went off to the town’s taxidermist, commissioning the Medusa’s head to be mounted.

Their business about town finished, Damhsa and Merek settled into the Silver Raven Inn for a much-needed rest while Saurok went off to visit the Flounder Pounder. Much to his dismay he found it closed for repairs, and set off for the next dive bar he could find. Back at the Silver Raven, Merek and Damhsa spotted the gaunt man coming down from his room for a meal. They went over, and took a seat at his table. He looked up from his meal, confirming that they were indeed Damhsa, daughter of Scottia, and Merek Falk.

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Once the two had confirmed their identities, he informed that he had indeed been sent here by his Master in order to secure an alliance. Speaking in a low, deliberate tone, he explained that his Master was a resident of this plane, and only wanted the artifact for scholarly reasons. After a bit of discussion, the party agreed to work with them in this, provided one of the three pieces of the artifact were to stay in their possession at all times.

With the alliance brokered, the gaunt man stood up, taking a deep bow as he introduced himself as Darmonte von Draams. He further explained that he specialized in the identification and research of magical items, management of manors, estates, and the investment of money. Additionally, he had brought with him a contingent of craftsmen in order to have the guild house constructed. Taking him up on his offer, they had Darmonte appraise the jewelry they had taken off of the Medusa, which turned out to be quite valuable. They asked him to sell it for him, and to invest the money for them to create an account to use for the party’s needs.

With this, Darmonte set about his duties, advising that he would contact the party once he had information about the location of the first piece of the artifact. For the next several days, the party set about assisting the townsfolk with repairing the damage done during the plague riots and getting the town guard back up on the walls. Upon returning to the Silver Raven one day, the party found that Darmonte was waiting for them.

Stretching a map out over the table, he explained that he and his Master’s research had discovered the Acanthans were not the only still-living descendants of the Epirans. Another contingent had fled to the West, under the protection of “The Repentant One,” which the party and Darmonte suspected to be Sofiel, the Erinyes from the diary. After discussing how best to find their stronghold, the party decided to take the Sea Ghost, the smuggler ship they had found beneath the Aldrusk manor, and sail up the river across the continent.

As the party began provisioning the ship with supplies and gathering a crew, Darmonte was pursuing a lead on a possible captain for the ship. When he returned, he stated that only one man in town had the qualifications, but not a ship of his own. However, the man was at the Wicker Goat and refused to leave his drinking. Merek volunteered to attempt to convince the man to join them while Damhsa continued the preparations.

Upon arriving at the Wicker Goat, Darmonte pointed out a bedraggled old man with a single tooth, tearing into a bottle of the foulest swill the bar would serve him as he wailed over a piece of paper. Looking at Darmonte slightly perplexed, Merek was reassured that this was in fact their only candidate to captain the Sea Ghost. Walking over to the man’s table, Merek quickly seated himself, ordering a a round for himself and his new “friend,” and told the waitress to leave the bottle.

The drunken man wrapped his arm around Merek, who struggled to contain his lunch at the pungent aroma wafting off their prospective captain. After introducing himself, the man enthusiastically introduced himself as Leofrik and returned to lamenting over his piece of paper. “This is the only captain I want!” he screamed, thrusting the poster into Merek’s face. A quick glance revealed it to a wanted poster for a pirate by the name of Laquita Paprika Bonita, wanted by the Necians for piracy, murder, kidnapping, and a litany of other crimes.

“I know the cap’n!!” Leofrik exclaimed, “She ain’t like this!” Merek sighed and patted the Leofrik on the back, suppressing a grimace as the man’s shirt seemed to stick to his hand. “I gotta find her…” Leofrik murmured, grabbing a swig straight from the bottle as his glass was now empty. Merek nodded and smiled at the drunkard, “I tell you what; you pilot our ship for us, and stay sober enough to do it right, and I will help you find your captain when our mission is done.”

Leofrik’s head jerked up at this, and he eyed Merek carefully. “I ain’t workin’ with no elves. Last one went stark crazy. Even killed his own niece when it all went to hell. It’s his fault I lost the cap’n! The pearl drove ’im mad!” Merek nodded as if he understood. “No elves, I promise. Do we have a deal?”

“Aye, we do.” Leofrik affirmed, raising his bottle to Merek’s glass with a loud clink. Merek chuckled slightly as he finished his drink, and stood up, “Our ship is the Sea Ghost. Move your things and let me know of any provisions we seem to be missing.”

“We needs more rum!” Leofrik shouted as Merek walked out of the tavern, shaking his head slowly. While Merek had been speaking with Leofrik, Darmonte had returned to the Silver Raven. Much to Damhsa’s surprise however, he walked in with Thudrin Kreed, whom the party had previously beaten unconscious. After a bit of evesdropping, she was able to affirm that Darmonte was only managing their investment capital with Kreed, and returned to her preparations.

Soon thereafter, Merek joined her. With the party no longer there to ensure security, Talon and the Falks decided to take the diary to Sasserine for the time being, in order to escape the siege. In the mean-time, Darmonte would remain in Saltmarsh to finalize the construction of the guild house. The captain and crew assembled, the diary secure, and the Sea Ghost in the process of being provisioned, the party was as ready as they were going to be to brave the wilds of the Epiran continent.

Characters Present: Dik Dik, Merek Falk, Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Saurok, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot

XP Award (APL 4): 675

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Damhsa

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