Legends of Thassilon

House of the Fallen Arrows (Continued)

Once the heroes caught their breath, they explored the rest of the house. A back bedroom contained a rotting corpse so foul that Maggie, Nip and Azrak emptied their stomaches and turned green for several minutes.

Once recovered, the group moved downstairs and found an empty tannery room. Hearing a chinking in the neighboring room, Maggie opened a door into a chilled chamber with hanging hooks and slabs of meat. As her eyes adjusted it became clear that the carcasses were skinned humans. And then one of them jumped down. The flayed corpse charged the heroes with black dagger-like claws.

Remy and Nip scampered up the wall readying a strike against the undead foe. Albi charged into their path earning him a pair of ratspeak curses. He also received a fetid slash from the flayed one that continuously oozed leaving the gnom weakened. Maggie tumbled into a flanking position while Remy unleashed a flurry of tiny blades that stripped the profane muscle away until the creature dropped to the floor. (The ratfolk noted that only the foulest necromantic rituals could create such an abomination – this was clearly the work of a erudite and wicked foe.)

The next room was packed with crates and boxes floor to ceiling. Even the ratfolk could not reach the back of the cluttered chamber.

A low moan from the remaining door piqued Maggie’s interest. She opened the door and a found a battered ranger chained to the opposite wall. He weakly lifted his head and croaked, “Watch out! The blades.”

Eviscerator constructThen a pile of machinery shuddered and stood the size of a draft horse. Five-foot-long blades emerged and started swirling about as it moved toward the doorway. Maggie charged in striking at the construct earning a long slash that continued to bleed.

Meanwhile, the previously battled trio of red caps returned and attempted ambush the party from behind. Expecting treachery, Mal, Lilith and Azrak easily defeated them.

Remy scampered over the debris and tore into the machinery. Metal joints were jammed and hoses sprayed causing the bladed machine to shudder. Remy pushed forward but suffered a scythe slash that nearly dropped him. Albi used the opening to fling a bomb which erupted with a series of explosions resulting a cloud of oily smoke. The machine sputtered and died.

Azrak moved into the choking exhaust and began to free his ranger leader and brother, Jakardros Sovark. His coughing subsided once outside and he explained how his men tried to take back Fort Rannick but were repelled by countless ogres. Then they suffered several casualties in the Sanos Wood despite an expert knowledge of the terrain and usual inhabitants. Lastly, he explained that after being captured he was fed upon by a red cap vampire who was attended by a black-cloaked damphyr. The evil pair mentioned in his hearing something about finding “the next key in Jorgenfist.”

Before leaving the the charnel house, the party found a chest with valuable gear including that belonging to Azrak and Jakardros. One of the fallen red caps also wore a magical broach shaped like a red dragon.

Session Summary

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House of the Fallen Arrows

The party began scouting around the old farmhouse. Mal found dozens of small deep bootprints surrounding the place. The Venomtail brothers silently scampered up to the shake siding. Maggie moved onto the front porch and she found a complicated trap mechanism on the ceiling above the front door. Azrak and Albi stood back looking on as she attempted to disassemble the device. By deactivating it, however, she unwittingly triggered a devious series of slashing blades that stabbed between the porch planks and tore into Albi’s foot.

Upstairs the ratfolk found the shuttered windows natiled shot. They used Nip’s crowbar to pry them open and peered into the bedroom window where laid a still form upon a bed. The removed the window pane and slipped inside.

(The groan of the old wood announced the ratfolk’s approach to the hidden foes within.)

The daylight illuminated the Black Arrows Ranger lying atop the bed in a pool of blood with a hand missing. His other limbs were shackled to the bed frame. Nearby laid a bloody wooden box with one end open.

Remy drove a wooden stake through the corpse’s heart.

Meanwhile, the adventurers below recovered from the trapped porch attack. Maggie entered a empty living room. On the sofa was a bloody satchel which she avoided for the time being. Maggie, Azrak and Albi moved deeper into the silent dwelling.

They entered a large bedroom that reeked of death. Upon the oversized bed, a pile of corpses laid akimbo. Azrak howled and called out the names of his fallen Black Arrows brothers. Maggie covered her face and moved to withdraw when she heard the sounds of movement from within the pile. Reluctantly the heroes started moving corpses until they found the source. Under the dead was a living ranger – pinned by his dead comrades he had been forced to eat their flesh at the cost of his sanity.

With their attention focused on the pitiable man the adventurers failed to notice the attacker behind them. Azrak yelped when a crossbow bolt grazed the back of his thigh. Maggie rushed toward the closet in the corner of the room and after searching for several moments found a small covered passage into a dark neighboring room. Knowing that Azrak would not fit, the group left the room for the hallway.

Meanwhile up above, Remy and Nip blackened out the windows before leaving the bunk room. They passed through a hallway into a large darkened attic full of crates and debris. Moving silently, they entered the room as Remy concentrated on the subtle source of evil within. Although the location was relatively clear the source remained hidden. Nip blindly flung a vial of contagion into a pile of rubbish at which point a pair of child-sized foes emerged and attacked – they launched crossbow bolts before charging with oversized scythes.

Red capAlthough the size of children, the creatures wore blood red shapeless caps and had the faces of gnarled old men. Up to their knees they wore iron shod boots that somehow allowed an uncanny silence. The redcaps flanked Nip and Remy making slashing attacks. Remy suffered a single brutal strike. The ratfolk attempted several retaliating attacks but the redcaps proved extremely evasive. When one finally suffered a wound, it disappeared back into the debris.

Back downstairs, Maggie entered another large storage room which she suspected abutted the bedrooms closet passage. She was ambushed by two more redcaps. She withdrew into the hallway to attack anything that emerged.

Upstairs, the other evil little bastard made cleaving scythe attacks against the ratfolk before fleeing down the hallway. The ratfolk raced downstairs after it.

The wounded red cap who first left the upstairs battle had dropped from a trapdoor  and landed in the hallway just behind Albi. It delivered a slashing wound to the gnome before retreating into the corpse pile bedroom.

The other 3 red caps races the same direction. One of them crashed through the window. The others moved to follow as the party chased them. Mal launched a lightning arrow into the wounded redcap’s chest creating an explosive exit wound. The other foes escaped through the broken window and immediately disappeared in the undergrowth beyond.

The house grew silent again save the buzzing of the fat lazy flies circling the gruesome room.

Session Summary

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The Graul Farm

As the cyclopes closed, Mal launched lightning arrows and Kaleb unleashed a forking bolt of lightning. Both struck the cyclopes and left barely a mark – damned lightning resistant fey!

The giants closed and unseen archers attacked from the wood line. A pair of rat folk emerged working in uncanny unison to help bring the cyclopes down. The rat folk hardly introduced themselves before rushing up to the barn to further investigate. Albi remained behind only long enough to ponder why cyclops would be seen so far from the a portal to the Feywilde.

Tomb spiderWithin the barn, the heroes found a locked partition. An upper floor doorway revealed a dense mesh of spider webbing beyond. Kayleb also found two matted masses of spiderwebs stuck to the distant wall containing humanoid victims. The halfling attempted to sneak forward and free the captives but was attacked by a phasing fey spider. Several expertly placed strikes from the party and their new rat folk allies brought the spider down before it could vanish away.

The party released the two prisoners and found both badly drained men of the Black Arrows Order. Once healed by Albi and Kayleb, the handsome young human introduced himself as Kaven Windstrike and offered many thanks. He explained that the fort had been sacked by ogres from Hook Mountain. He and Azrak, pointing at his brooding dwarven comrade, were part of a ranging patrol led by Jakardros (the bear belongs to him). When they returned to Fort Rannick, they found the place sacked by Kreeg orgres – fallen rangers littered the ground. Jakardros ordered a counterattack but the ogres were too strong. The patrol retreated into the forest. They spent several days evading ogres only to be attacked by spiders and corralled into cunning traps laced with poison. He lost consciousness and all sense of time since. He offered to return to town to inform Parson Sheed of the threat to town.

As Ito and Kayleb wheel Kaven away, Azrak sneered at the departing trio and stomped toward the farmhouse. Not really under his breath he muttered, “Our brothers may yet be alive in there. We don’t leave family behind.”

Session Summary

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Travels to Turtleback

The heroes accepted their charge to investigate the silence of Fort Rannick. They traveled by riverboat up the Yondabakari River deep into the Varisian lowlands. After seven days, they entered Claybottom Lake and reached the fishing town Turtleback Ferry.

They met the town mayor, Parson Sheed, a cleric of a Erastil. A broad-shouldered man with a thick black beard streaked with gray and salt-and-pepper hair, Sheed seemed cautious at first. Once he learned the party was there to investigate the happenings of the fort he became quite helpful. Sheed explained that the Black Arrows rangers of Fort Rannick keep the lowlands safe from ogres and other giant kin. The townsfolk were rightfully worried.

Once the party retired to the town’s only inn, the Turtle’s Palour, Kaleb learned that a local posse headed up to the fort a few days ago but had not returned. He also heard lamenting of a floating gambling den known as the Paradise that sank into the deep waters of Claybottom Lake due to an onboard fire a few weeks ago. The owner, Lady Lucrecia, and a number of patrons were killed.

Albi, always on the lookout for ancient knowledge, learned about Skull Crossing, a functioning Thassilonian dam that holds back the waters of Storval Deep north of Turtleback Ferry.

The next morning the heroes set out for Fort Rannick. Just a few hours north of town they heard the pained cry of an animal just off of the narrow road. Mal investigated and found a small black bear with its two feat locked in a cruel rack-like trap. The bear seemed to welcome the ranger’s approach and Mal urged Maggie forward to release the trap.

Mad cyclopsMeanwhile a rumbling tune and trampling crash announced the arrival of a huge new threat. A cyclops plowed into the clearing and yelled,”My bear! You no eat my bear!” Albi and Mal unleashed attacks before a clutch of dog-sized spiders joined the melee. Once the cyclops and spiders were defeated, the wounded bear led the party deeper into the forest.

Down a twisting wagontrail the heroes found a small farmyard with a dwelling and a barn. Although the corn should have been harvested weeks ago it still stood rotting. As Ito drug his small cart closer, the barn door flung open and three cyclopes charged forward screaming gigantish battle cries!

Session Summary

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Interlude: Leaving Fenlight

Upon returning to Magnimar the party was captured by the elite Azure Falcon guardsmen. They were brought to the Pediment Building and questioned by Inquisitor Cromas. Upon learning about Foxglove, Ironbriar, Xanesha and the plot against the Lord-Mayor Grobaras, the heroes were generously rewarded and given a new mission: to investigate the loss of contact with the remote Fort Rannick. The heroes were also implored to keep word of Ironbriar’s duplicity from causing civil unrest.

Session Summary

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The Matriarch of Murder

From the shadows of the upper broken floors, javelins fell around the party. Dashing for cover and crouching in the low fog, the heroes suffered no serious injuries. Maggie, Ragnok and Ito raced up the spiral stair to face the attackers, a gang of faceless stalkers. Will o  wispMal sank an electric arrow into one shadowy foe above unknowingly earning her the attention of their their fey allies – a trio of wil-o’-wisps swarmed the ranger.

Upstairs Maggie battled two stalkers, while Ito and Ragnok faced another pair. More foes on the upper level launched javelins at the heroes below.

Mal suffered countless arching shocks nearly dropping her to the foggy floor, while Kayleb healed her at every turn.

Ragnok and Ito cut down their enemies. Ragnok then moved to help Maggie, while Ito rose to the next level, finding another pair of stalkers, one more massive with ornate pulsing sigils covering its body and a glowing wooden amulet.

Mal tried to flee with Lilith covering her. The leopard chomped one wisp only to have it vanish and teleport back to Malcanthet. Cornered and frustrated, Mall watched the other wisps quickly surround her. When Lilith closed to protect her master, she narrowly leapt aside as caustic green slime fell from the ceiling above. Albi identified the threat and excitedly started muttering about “specimens”.

Finishing off their foes, Maggie and Ragnok joined Ito on the upper floor. They engaged the minion, allowing Ito to close with the boss. After receiving a grievous slash from Ito’s blade, the stalker boss wrapped its tree-like arms around the tiefling monk. While squeezing him, tiny barbs and suckers pierced Ito’s skin draining his blood. The grapple, however, did not prevent Ito from a flurried attack against the stalker. Suffering numerous weeping gashes, the creature attempted to hoist Ito over the ledge, but like a mountain, the tiefling did not budge. As Ragnok and Maggie felled their foe, Ito drove his temple sword through the stalker’s chest and kick shoved him off broken ledge.

Suddenly and with great relief, the wisps winked away from Mal and the others.

Maggie and Ito found an iron ladder ascending toward an overhead trapdoor. Ito heard a female voice chanting above and yelled “Spellcaster above! Move!”

Maggie rushed up, flung open the portal, and stared at a pair of sneering devil hulks covered in spines and barbs. She yelled down, “a pair of devils,” and jumped up. Ragnok followed and the tiefling pair pressed one devil. After a sound thrashing the monster fell and reverted to Thorlass(!), the faceless stalker also known as Verne, Ironbriar’s traitorous secretary. The pair had no time to celebrate though.

Lamia matriarchFrom the cloak of invisibility emerged Xanesha, an ogre-sized snake woman with a long black mane and a golden mask. Her eyes glowed lambent green and Ragnok felt his muscles stiffen. He shook off the effect as the lamia matriarch slithered forward. Maggie sprang forward slashing her scaled flank. Xanesha battered back the rogue and unleashed a deadly flurry of attacks upon Ragnok – the first impaled his shoulder, the second pierced his chest collapsing his lung, and as he fell, a third crushing stab shattered his spine and silenced the red warrior.

Meanwhile, Ito enter the fray and engaged the remaining devil. Despite several strikes neither combatant suffered any major strikes.

With tears blinding her eyes, Maggie raked at the lamia with her blades but failed to penetrate her iron-like scales. Another series of barbed spear slashes and stabs left Maggie on the floor bleeding and clutching her belly.

Malcanthet arrived winded from the stair climb, steadied her bow, and fired on the devil. After several true strikes, it remained unharmed and she deduced it to be an illusion. Ito cursed and closed on Xanesha. She stabbed his thigh with her great spear and the weapon made a keening wail that submerged the heroes in magical despair. She hissed an ancient Thassilonian chant and Ito felt his will crumble. He absently wandered over to the trapdoor, closed it, and moved his massive frame atop it.

Below Kayleb and Albi came panting up to trapdoor stair and looked to each other in confusion. Albi exclaimed, “I got just the thing,” and gulped a potion. A gout of dragonfire bellowed from his mouth blackening the trapdoor.

With a groan the wooden hatch tore loose and Ito tumbled onto the floor below. Kayleb healed the tiefling as he recovered his wits.

Above, Malcanthet hid amidst the darkened light apparatus (And with great skill, began sniping Xanesha, who could not pinpoint the source of the stinging attacks and retreated behind the apparatus -ed.) until she was able to push Maggie’s unconscious form to the trap door (with extreme bravery and complete disregard for her personal safety, broke from cover and dragged the bloody and unconscious body of Maggie to safety and allowed the healing magics of Kayleb to save her life -ed.). Ito rejoined the fight, while Kayleb healed Maggie. Ito closed suffering a wicked skewer while Mal buried several crackling arrows into the lamia. Maggie gulped some healing potions and moved to flank the monster. She leapt onto its tail and raked her serrated blades into its flesh. Xanesha hissed and tried to pull free. A venom-coated claw flashed by Maggie who rolled under the attack and slashed her foe once again.

Distracted by the tenacious rogue, she swung back to Ito to see his battering ram-like fist closing with her face. The bones crunched sickeningly. Her barbed spear clattered to the ground and her tail twitched. Then, the amulet at her neck flared blue and she vanished!

The heroes recovered from the brutal combat and silently mourned Ragnok’s fall. They solemnly collected his body and returned through the complex.

They found a vine and silk-laden nest on the upper level of the lighthouse interior. Within the vines, Albi found numerous carelessly scattered letters from Ironbriar and a long scroll bearing an extensive list of names and professions, many of which have been crossed out. The list bore the heading “Sihedron Sacrifices.” Some of the names were folks from Sandpoint, but the majority lived in Magnimar – all were merchants, moneylenders, gamblers, adventures, and thieves.

Ito and Maggie recognized some prominent names on the list including Lord Titus Scarnetti of Sandpoint and Lord-Mayor Haldmeer Grobaras. Other parchment scraps held extensive notes on the Lord-Mayor’s habits.

In the Fenlight understructure laid the torn body of Xanesha, near her broken flesh golem. Even dead a lamia matriarch is a fearsome sight. That didn’t stop Maggie and Kayleb from filching her magical vest, amulet, mask and a heavy pouch of gems and coins.

At the floating dock below waited Barthus. Seeming unimpressed, he shrugged. “You want me to row you back now?”

Session Summary

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Fenlight Lair

After slogging out of the Hells, the heroes tried to catnap in Ironbriar’s manor. The servants had fled, and after only an hour’s rest the place was surrounded by town guards. Maggie, Mal, and Albi raced out the back and over the fence. Ito and Ragnok slipped without notice onto the balcony and tried to drop on a pair of guards. The guards evaded and counterattacked. Ito suffered several humiliating blade slaps before the tiefling brothers split and ran. Meanwhile, Kayleb hid inside and over several hours, he learned that the party’s description was being circulated. The guards also mused aloud about Ironbriar kidnapping or worse by the “devil-spawn bent on ruining Maginimar’s beacon of justice.”

Once the party reunited, they laid low in the Shadow’s slums and sought Barthus, the half-orc ferryman named in Ironbriar’s journal. The dour half-orc agreed to transport the party to Ironbriar’s coastal destination for an exorbitant rate.

That night, a cold wind churned the gray waters of Maginmar Bay. The heroes boarded a large rowboat and Barthus plowed through the chop for three hours. In the distance Maggie spied the dimly lit windows of a Magnimaran ruin, the Fenlight. She recalled stories of the marble lighthouse built on an ancient stone monolith emerging from the ocean along the Mushfen coast. The impressive lighthouse darkened after several lightkeepers and their families vanished and the site was abandoned.

ScarecrowBarthus rowed up to a small floating dock and the adventurers disembarked. At the top of a rusty ladder they peered into a huge dark cavern with giant-sized stone stairs and tons of fallen rubble. Maggie stepped in only a few yards when a hulking form emerged from the shadows. An ogre-sized golem, a crude amalgam of human, horse, and cow body parts with a pumpkin-sized head, a glassy eye, and coarsely sewn lips, closed with a reaving 10-foot scythe.

Malcanthet buried several lightning arrows into its mismatched hide which seemed only to amuse the monster. As it closed with the party, Maggie tried to slip in behind only to suffer a massive slash from the scythe. Seeing his friend nearly cleaved with single blow, Albi cried to Mal, “No electricity! It heals it!”, and lobbed a fiery bomb. The blast charred the golem’s skin slowing it’s movements. Ragnok and Ito began delivering punishing blows to the weakened golem. Kayleb cast a flame strike further hobbling the foe. The hideous guardian pulled away toward a wall-mounted metal plate provoking addition slashes. It pounded the plate triggering a burst of lighting that jolted most of the adventurers and reinvigorated the golem. The man-cow made a muffled growl and slashed again but failed to harm anyone. Several more strikes landed before Kayleb cast another fire spell dropping the massive foe.

Kayleb and Albi started healing the injured when a noisy lift began descending from the ceiling. Within moments, a band of faceless stalkers were raining javelins upon the party. Malcanthet retaliated with lightning arrows. Just before the lift reached the ground, Ito slid under it. With a legendary feat of strength, he upended the lift and four riders. Several toppled out. The heroes cornered them and quickly laid them low.

Searching the fallen, the party recovered the large magical scythe and a coveted cloak of elvenkind.

The adventureres climbed onto the lift and ascended the 80-foot expanse. Leaving the cold stone cavern below, the lift rose into an oppressively muggy jungle. Leaves and vines, plate-sized flowers, and patches of luminescent fungus covered the inner walls of the lighthouse proper. The ceilings above were largely collapsed with only shelves of upper floors remaining. In the center of the room rusted a metal spiral stair which stretched to an intact ceiling 60 feet above. Several rope-and-plank bridges radiated from the stair to the broken upper floors. A few faintly glowing pale orbs bobbed around the greenery.

And then several shadowy humanoids above launched a hail of javelins upon the heroes.

Session Summary

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Depths of Hell

Water zombieThe heroes defeated the Norgorber cultists despite the treacherous ambush. Malcanthet was compelled to fling her lightning bow into the darkness earning the cult her undying enmity. Fortunately for them (and her) she found it on a lower catwalk.

The party continued their descent into the Hells until they found Ironbriar’s hideout at the base. A brackish pool surrounded a raised sacrificial platform with a large Sidhedron rune.

From the cover of invisibility, his voice echoed, “So, is this what you hoped to find? Here I am, at your mercy and with no means of escape, the evidence of my crimes laid out before you. Come and judge me if you would!”

The party was again ambushed by cultists from above and powerful walking dead emerging from the black water below. Ironbriar then joined the fray with several near misses from his vile divine powered war razor. Ragnok battled the cultists while Mal, Maggie, Albi and Ito wore down Ironbriar’s defenses. Kayleb provided distraction, allowing Maggie to deliver the killing blow.

On Ironbriar’s corpse, the party forund a wand, a magical war razor, a mithril shirt, and a journal with a sophisticated cipher. Albi and Kayleb worked to decode the text, while the others searched the base of Hell.

April 28, 2012

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Justices' Fall

Justice Kernwell morphed into a bulky faceless stalker as Mal let a pair of crackling arrows fly. The other heroes jumped into action pressing the alien monster. Ironbriar magically vanished andRagnok attacked his last position but misjudged, burying his sword in the wall. In the hallway, Ito pounded on Justice Chaddov from behind. Babau demonThis justice was also not as he appeared, becoming an acid slime covered babau demon. He viciously turned on Ito and nearly dropped the massive tiefling.

Maggie used her serrated sabers to fell Kernwell atop the meeting room table. After she quaffed Albi’s elixir of magical sight, she darted after the escaping Ironbriar. The rest of the party focused on the demon Chaddov. The monster proved hard to injure and deadly effective at causing injury. Albi suffered grievously while delivering healing draughts and even Mal shuddered from claw attacks when the demon turned on her. Once Ragnok yanked his heavy blade from the masonry, he joined the battle and the demon fell in a pile of brimstoney ash.

Ironbriar fled into the study and through a hidden passage behind a bookshelf. He dropped into a black chute, laughing evilly as he escaped. Maggie chased after him. At the base, she found a dark stone room with a long passageway complete with receding footfalls.

She rushed after him but triggered a deadfall trap, dropping a ton of debris into the passage. She narrowly dove away from harm. Shaking off the dust, she decided to wait for the rest of the party to catch up.

Everyone plummeted down the chute and entered the passage. They climbed the debris pile and advanced underground toward the Pediment Building. The passage led to an abandoned antechamber like the one the party entered leading into the prison block when they visited Lyrie. They found a elevator shaft and no other means of egress so they climbed down the rusty chains.

Skinsaw cultistThe shaft opened into a huge cylindrical prison with central grated platforms every 40 feet and catwalk spokes radiating to a descending spiral catwalk around the periphery. Apparently abandoned, the heroes began the eery descent.

Maggie and Ito recalled legends of a prison riot in the Hells. The story was that all the guards were murdered and to prevent the prisoners form escaping into the city, the Council ordered the only entrance bricked over. No one had ever gone back in.

About one hundred feet down, the heroes were ambushed. Men disguised as corpses rose from the cell floor and loosed several crossbow bolts. Maggie and Ragnok closed and Mal fired several electrical arrows. Up close, the foes wore ragged leather masks with a single bulbous lens where eyes should be. They dropped their crossbows for war razors and dispassionately said in unison, “Blood for the Father.” Another band of foes, including Ironbriar, revealed themselves from the opposite side of the circular chamber and unleashed more bolts. The heroes were trapped.

Session Summary

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Against the Law

Despite the exhaustion of being awake nearly a day and a half, the adventures outlined a plan to investigate 3 Sugar Row. Kayleb disguised the tieflings to look human and Albi to appear as a clerk (cleric?). People started sleeping in shifts. Maggie’s rest, however, was interrupted by a rapidly developing fever. She awoke with a blackened hand and redness creeping up her arm. Kayleb diagnosed a magical fungal affliction (Vorel’s blight!). Maggie along with Kayleb and Malcanthet sleepily trudged across town to Pharasma’s temple for healing. Kayleb magically healed several petitioners in line causing a stir, but ultimately Maggie was treated and the heroes returned to Foxglove’s townhouse for some much needed rest.

After dark, the group headed out for the address written in Foxglove’s ledger. They found an unassuming duplex near the Justice Court. Maggie and Kayleb snuck to the back alley entrance, while Malcanthet and Ito watched the front door. A short time later Verne, Ironbriar’s secretary, arrived and entered the home. Then, Albi and Ragnok approached the front door. Albi knocked and met a kindly, gray-haired woman. He explained that he was Foxglove’s new bookeeper and noted that a routine weekly payment had not been met recently. The woman offered to have “the Master” contact him about business matters during more appropriate hours tomorrow. Albi scuttled off.

Meanwhile, Maggie and Kayleb assumed the worst and picked the lock on the back door. Slipping inside, the tiefling found an empty office but nothing of import. They both returned to Foxglove’s townhouse and found the rest of the party waiting.

After discussing several options, the heroes decided to return to Verne’s place and question him directly. Maggie again slipped into the alley entrance and ushered the others inside. Several tiptoed past the kitchen where the matron worked happily and then upstairs. The house was otherwise empty. In the bedroom, Albi found a slender case beneath the bed containing a purse of 100 gold and a curious letter. The contents filched, the party retreated into the night.

The next morning, the party left en masse intent on finding Verne. When leaving the house, Malcanthet caught a glimpse of an unassuming women in a clothier across the street. She appeared to be watching the party. Mal darted across the street and into the store, but the woman rushed to the back. Mal pursued and found a changing area and noted a swinging window. She peered into the neighboring stall and found the suspicious woman within. She began making a scene so Mal left with only a threat.

The party watched the store but never saw the woman leave. Kayleb, however, had his familiar, Mordaki, tail the woman. The trail led to a fine estate neighboring the Pediment Building. Mordaki waited yowling at a gate that read, “Home of the Chief Justice of Magnimar.” Kayleb detected a powerful magical ward on the gate and walls, so all except Maggie retreated to the townhouse. The tiefling rogue stealthily climbed into the boughs of a nearby oak and watched the mansion.

Nearing the townhouse, the heroes found the place crawling with city watch. They headed to a nearby tavern, while Kayleb went to gather information. With his childlike innocence, he schmoozed a guard who offered that the guards were looking for dangerous people staying at the house who had left and that the house was being prepared for auction tomorrow. Advised to run along, Kayleb did so.

At dusk, Maggie saw Ironbriar return by carriage to his home with two liveried guards. She returned to the party and reported her findings.

Early next morning Maggie and Albi returned to Ironbriar’s manse. She quaffed the gnome’s invisibility elixir and vanished. She waited near the gate until Ironbriar approached and muttered the passphrase. She waited for him to depart by carriage and returned to the party triumphant.

Now with a way in, the adventurers decided to explore Ironbriar’s home while he was away. Using the passphrase, they slipped into the yard unhindered. Up a flight of stairs Maggie popped open the lock. Within the mansion, they found a bedroom containing a frightened butler. Intimidated by the tieflings and Mal’s crackling bow, he described Ironbriar’s daily routine. After clearing Ironbriar’s study of magical trappings, they laid in wait for him to approach his gallery. Ito waited in the bedroom to sneak up from behind. The heroes had to wait only until nightfall.

Outside the door, the party heard the butler say, “…and I shall fetch platters for your associates as well.”

The gallery door opened and Ironbriar entered flanked by Justices Kernwell and Chaddov. Chaddov looked livid and Kernwell startled. Ironbriar just smiled at Mal and said, “Ah yes, the woman that accompanied Miss Kaijitsu. And some new friends. While I am obviously delighted to see you, it is more normal to make an appointment and attend my chambers at the Court during working hours.”

Albi boldly stood forward and piped, “We have something you should hear.” He started reading the incriminating letter found in Verne’s bedroom. No sooner than he spoke the name Thorlass, Kernwell unexpectedly leapt at the gnome transforming into a faceless stalker!

Session Summary

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