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The Lakeside Arson Mystery

posted Jun 14, 2011, 10:02 PM by Nate Ayers   [ updated Jun 14, 2011, 10:19 PM ]

Session Date: June 14th, 2011

The party approached the now-burning Lakeside with a sense of purpose. Edwin and Belin set up a field hospital for triage as the rest of the group was apprehended by the guards for insufficient identification. After sorting out their purpose there and their identities, Captain Ames of the Karrnathi guard garrison set them up with identification papers and tasked them with investigating these crimes. He also sent his lieutenant, Ciranel Reynolds, with them to assist with the investigation. The captain of Lakeside's ferry, the Gullwing was hurt during one of the explosions, and would be unconscious for the next few days; since the party had nowhere to go, they set themselves up at the inn and prepared to begin the investigation.

The investigation started off slowly, but a second investigation began and ended the second night the group spent in town. Following some rumors of mysterious halflings hanging around Grimy's Taphouse every Zol night, the group approached them and followed them as they ran across the rooftops and out of town to a cave in the hills. This cave eventually led under Dark Lake and to a wall of pure black crystal. When the name of a dead individual was spoken, that individual would appear and answer five questions if they were residing on the plane of Dolurrh. After gaining some insight into a few events, the group left and got some rest before the second day of investigation.

As the party investigated the explosions and fires, a few common trends became apparent. The blasts in the walls were caused by magic, and scraps of red cloth were found at some of the crime scenes; however, the building fires were mundane, using oil and fire, and there were scraps of green cloth found at some of those scenes. One of them, the Tempered Steel, also had some un-burnt pipe tobacco known to be smoked by a man at the Redwood Inn, known only as "E.", near the door. As the party continued their investigations, it became clear that the terrorist organization known as the Order of the Emerald Claw was involved. It seemed the Order even had an agent in the local guard, and E had something to do with it as well. Other bits of evidence, such as one of the daggers from a matched set, a dead guard, and some rumblings of Emerald Claw agents hanging around the lion statue in Lake Park pointed towards this conclusion, and indicated that the base of operations was related to the lion statue. In a fit of brilliance, Edwin connected many of the dots, and also discovered that the red cloth they had been finding was foreign in make, and was dyed with a special red dye that contained blood of some sort. The group proceeded to interrogate E, and then Jak impersonated him and allowed himself to be arrested in order to expose the Emerald Claw agent in the guard.

After exposing the agent for what he was, the group interrogated him as well, gaining valuable information about the Order, how things occurred, and who was in charge. As they questioned the man, Belin, Cliff, and Dornar noticed an owl fly away from the window (very strange, considering it was 10 A.M.). Feathers was sent after the owl, and reported that it disappeared near the lion statue in Lake Park. The group, taking the emerald gem-key from the captured "guard" headed to the statue and were able to get the hidden door to open, revealing a ladder in the plinth of the statue that descended into the lion's den.

The Restless Dead, Part II; & A Cold Reception

posted Jun 8, 2011, 2:19 PM by Nate Ayers

Session Date: June 7, 2011

We last left our heroes in the catacombs beneath Winter's Rest cemetery, where they had rescued the captives and stopped the Skeleton's fiendish ritual. However, a door slamming open coupled with a sickly-sweet smell wafting down the hall told them they were in for a fight on their way out. Soon, they saw that they would be facing off against a mummy, and Ali was paralyzed with fear. She and Kharm became infected with Mummy Rot during the battle, and things only got worse when a second mummy broke through the door to its chamber to attack the group. The undead were finally dispatched with the judicious use of fire by the party, and the group returned to the caravan to finish the last leg of the journey. The day before the party made it to Belfast Keep, Ali succumbed to the Mummy rot and turned to dust, but the group gathered the dust and her possessions and continued the trip, planning to resurrect her upon reaching the keep.

When the group finally reached the keep, Jak went off to secure rooms for the group, Zurk left for the local bar, the Lonely Owlbear, and the rest of the party went with Tess and Ali's dust to the local temple of the Sovereign Host. The clerics there offered a favor to the party on Tess's behalf, and charged only the material component costs for the spells needed, as well as a nominal fee. Ten minutes later, Ali was resurrected and restored to her former strength, and Kharm was restored to a healthy condition. Their bodies restored, the group met Jak at the inn to drop off their gear before heading to the Lonely Owlbear.

While the main part of the group was at the temple, Zurk sat at the Lonely Owlbear, staring at a very large man sitting in the corner. The man uneasily continued his meal, a bit confused by Zurk's attention. However, when a group of locals started roughing up the owner of the bar, Rita, the man stepped in. When the men resorted to violence, he knocked the leader out in one punch and knocked the other two to their feet. They quickly fled the bar, and the man returned to his seat with Rita's thanks. Zurk bought him a drink, complimented his martial prowess, and the two began to chat. Shortly afterward, Ali wandered in, followed by the rest of the party. The man introduced himself to the party as Cliff, a wandering monk. Shortly afterward, Kharm and Ethan both expressed their intentions of leaving the group with the caravan they had been protecting. Tess and Sonya were heading back to Aundaire, and the men had decided to go with them. As the group said their goodbyes, Ethan and Kharm went to join the caravan in its preparation for the journey.

The next morning, Cliff and the party met with Henrik il'Belfast, who was in the middle of an argument with another man that appeared to be of the cloth. After apologizing for his rudeness, Belfast heard the party's situation, and offered them full use of the tram - if they could get the focus stone needed for the tram to run to the engineers trapped up the mountain. that, however, would require slaying the dragon that had them trapped there. The party set off on their journey an hour later, and after being ambushed by the dragon in a mountain pass near the tram cavern, killed it quite handily and rescued the engineers. In the dragon's hoard, they found a strange rod that did seemingly random, fantastic things. They met the head engineer, Ironbrow, a dwarf, and he offered to escort them and the tram to the Lakeside end of the tracks.

During the trip, the tram broke down and Ironbrow asked the party to go find more of the quartz used to energize the track mechanism. They found the quartz, as well as some petrified adventurers, and were attacked by a pair of basilisks. However, the group was able to avert their eyes in time to prevent themselves from being petrified, and the tram was working again in short order. Exiting the tram cavern a few hours later, they wandered through a glade for a moment before noting a strange sound in the distance. Hustling out of the woods, the party saw Lakeside a half-mile in the distance; it's gates were broken in and a good portion of the town was ablaze.

The Restless Dead, Part I

posted Jun 1, 2011, 12:51 PM by Nate Ayers   [ updated Jun 1, 2011, 1:05 PM ]

Session Date: May 31st, 2011

Our heroes awoke in the clearing previously devoted to the Madstone, though Sin seemed to be missing; her weapons and backpack were left near her bedroll. Ethan was well-versed in knowledge of the Arcane, and so recognized this as a rare form of planar travel - Sin slipped into the space between planes, most likely lost to the known realms forever. After a brief moment of reflection on their now-gone companion, the group packed up and set out for Belfast keep, now 13 days to the south. The temperature began to rise as they traveled, and the group was able to continue on with few problems for a few days. However, on the sixth morning in the woods, Sonya was found to be missing, dragged off by creatures that Belin recognized as being clawed, with a slight loping stride. Both he and Dornar immediately realized that this was not a natural creature, and Kharm's feelings toward Sonya inspired him (and the group) to swift action. After a few hours hot on the trail of the creature, the party came upon a merchant caravan that was also missing members, dragged off by similar creatures. The caravan's two guards, Zurk and Ali, accompanied the party as they followed the trail that eventually led to an abandoned cemetery called "Winter's Rest".

After a few minutes in the graveyard, some of the dead rose and attacked the group! However, our heroes were able to fend off the undead with few injuries; this did not bode well for the fate of the captives though. A short inspection of the rest of the graveyard revealed dirt dragged into the central chapel, a broken mausoleum, and a locked mausoleum. From within that mausoleum, two wights, dressed affluently, assaulted the party. The foul creatures were swiftly destroyed though, and the group proceeded into the chapel and down the stairway into the cemetery catacombs.

The stench of death was thick in the catacombs, as was a mist that obscured most vision. Ethan, taking note of the torches on the wall, quickly used his prestidigitation to light them, providing the group with much- needed light. The group was not unnoticed, however, and upon opening the first door, they were met with the ripe stench of death and a grisly, twisted undead humanoid. Though it was killed in a matter of moments, it was still able to attack a few of the party, paralyzing and infecting Tess and passing that same disease onto Dornar. Though Tess's paralysis wore off quickly, she and Dornar were still infected, and became slightly withered because of it; furthermore, Dornar was so overcome by the stench of the Ghast that he was sicked for the next 5 minutes. The group ignored the door across the hall and followed the passage around a corner, seeing another door. This door was sealed with wax and locked, and Kharm determined that this usually meant something was being kept in, thus it would be best to avoid the door. As they passed, Dornar and Belin heard faint scratching on the other side of that door, validating Kharm's wisdom. They approached a set of iron-bound double doors and Ethan Opened them with his magic. Inside, a few iron candlesticks were visible in an otherwise dark room, and Ethan lit them as he did the torches. The sight that greeted the party was horrific, with three ghoulish figures shuffling about a set of blood-drawn circles on a dais, hunched over the men and women from the caravan. In the center of the middle circle, a tall skeleton with a bluish steel rapier stood over Sony, ready to plunge blade into her heart. His eyes burned with bale-fire, and he and his lackeys broke off their dark ritual to launch an attack against the party. After a hard-fought fight, the group dispatched the undead and rescued the captives. Kharm took the skeleton's rapier, called Steelfang in the elvish tongue, and Jak recovered another pouch of treasure, as well as a Wand of Cure Light Wounds with 45 charges left. The group proceeded to destroy the foul book the skeleton had been referencing, rejoicing in their success.

As they turned to leave, a loud creeeeaaak and a SLAM met their ears, and the smell of embalming fluid and rotting flesh wafted into the room from the now darkened hallway.

Northshore, and the Madstone

posted May 26, 2011, 7:42 PM by Nate Ayers   [ updated May 26, 2011, 8:00 PM ]

Session Date: May 24, 2011

The party began their trek north through the Icewood, led by the ranger Belin d'Vadalis. A few nights into the hike, a worg and it's larger cousin, the Winter Worg attacked the group while they were camping. However, the party bravely fought them off, and after a few more days, arrived in Northshore. After sending a message to the Wardens of Dreadhold, the group went about its business, meeting with the mayor and generally waiting around to hear back from the wardens. Jak got some information on the closest Black Sun Cartel hideout from a local gnome "businessman", while Kharm and Belin learned what they could from Captain Finch. The next morning, a courier arrived from the House Sivis enclave in town, bringing a message from the Wardens with instructions to get to Dreadhold. The group accepted the letter and quickly set out for the first step of their journey, Belfast Keep, just south of the Icewood. On their way south, however, they were beset by a strange calling from deep in the forest. Unable to resist, nor aware of their helplessness, the group wandered into a clearing containing the Madstone, a foul relic of a time long past. After defeating its crazed guardian druid, the group was pulled into the demi-plane contained within the stone and defeated its riddles, bringing an aura of peace to the once eerie clearing.

The Sinking of the Iron Justice

posted May 26, 2011, 7:33 PM by Nate Ayers   [ updated May 26, 2011, 8:00 PM ]

Session Date: May 17, 2011

The adventure begins with our heroes having been hired to escort the Iron Justice, a high-security prison ship, and its prisoner Thurmoth Kurgazaar through the North Sea to the prison island of Dreadhold. Over the course of the first leg of the voyage, Kharm fostered an intimate relationship with the First Mate Sonya Rosch, and Ethan developed a similar relationship with Marshal Tess Eldishir. After visiting the small port town of Gellendren, the party set sail once again, this time bound for Northshore, and then Dreadhold after that. A few days into the second leg of their voyage, however, the ship was attacked by a strange group of pirates in a magicked ship. The group bested the pirates, but were unable to stop the now-flooding ship from sinking. Horrified, they realized that Kurgazaar escaped in the confusion, and quickly abandoned ship to try their luck in the Icewood of northern Karrnath.

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