Chapter Four

Session 1
The beginning

Players Present

Planting 1st

Our story begins on a ship. A number of various people have set sail on The Coral Princess, a passenger/light cargo ship sailing to various ports around the Aerdi Sea. The ship is owned by Captain Rollo, and is run by himself, first mate Ranella and a crew of 12 human sailors.

The passengers are Ishta, Heylyn, Kindric, Nathen and Talis.

At this point, it is the evening of the 1st of Planting, and the Coral Princess has been at sea for 2 days, sailing from Rel Astra to Freeport.

The ship is awakened around 2am by the lookout calling a warning that the ship is under attack! By the time the crew and party reach the deck, there is a smaller ship (The Bloody Vengeance) alongside, and several orc pirates have already boarded. The pirates attack furiously, and the crew defends their ship with the help of the passengers. In the commotion of battle, no one notices a dark figure sneaking down into the hold.

The fight is barely underway when it is noticed that smoke is coming from the hold of the Coral Princess. Any available crew members immediately go to fight the fire, and as the orcs are killed off, the victors also join the efforts. Again, no one notices the small stealthy figure slipping out of the hold, until Nathen hears a boat being launched from the pirate ship. He doesn’t get a good look at the fleeing figure, but manages to put a couple of arrows into someone rowing away in the dark.

By the time the fight is over and the fire put out, all the pirates are dead, with the exception of one who made his escape in a rowboat. As things are wrapping up, a half-orc is seen emerging from the forecastle. Before Nathen and Talis can attack, he convinces them that his name is Braast and he was a prisoner forced to serve Captain Scarbelly and his crew. His weapons, personal effects and some papers he picked up in Scarbelly’s cabin are confiscated by Captain Rollo until he is convinced that the newcomer means no harm to his ship. Rollo claims the Bloody Vengeance as his own; Ranella and several sailors are put aboard the pirate ship and sail alongside the Coral Princess to Freeport.

Once the dust settles, it is discovered that a staff is missing from Ishta’s cabin, which is near to where the fire was started. This staff has special significance to Ishta, and she is quite upset at its disappearance. At her insistence, the ship is searched, but nothing turns up. It is generally agreed that the staff was probably stolen by the pirate that got away.

Planting 2nd-4th

The rest of the journey to Freeport is uneventful. The passengers and crew rest from their battle, and the passengers begin to get to know each other.

Planting 5th

Once the two ships reach Freeport, the newly-formed party disembarks. They haven’t even reached the end of the dock before they meet a welcoming party that confirms Freeport’s reputation as a rough town. A press-gang of 8 sailors attack, attempting to capture some new “recruits”. The gang is surprised that their supposed easy marks are a lot tougher than they thought. In less than a minute, the entire gang is dead, except for one that dove into the water and swam away.

As the party is catching their breath, a man in robes approaches them and offers them a round in a nearby tavern if they listen to his proposal. Once their mugs are full, he introduces himself as Brother Egil, a priest at the local Temple of Aarth. He offers the group 50gp each if they can locate his friend Lucius, who has gone missing. Lucius is a childhood friend of Egil who went on to become a librarian at the temple of Aarth, while Egil entered the priesthood. About 5 years ago, Lucius suddenly began asking very strange questions, and seemed to remember nothing of his personal life. Several months later, he was kicked out of the temple for violating the sanctum. At this point, he left Freeport, only to return 4 years later, seemingly his old self. He remembered nothing of his time away, only that he thought he had traveled widely. He begged to be readmitted to the temple, but his petition was denied. He eventually managed to get a private meeting with High Priest Thuron, who accepted him back for unknown reasons. Everything seemed normal until a couple of months ago, Lucius started to look haggard and he admitted that he wasn’t sleeping well. He began asking questions about what he had been like just before his expulsion. Thuron spoke to him, but Lucius wouldn’t let it go. Lucius appeared to be on the brink of insanity, and then failed to show up for work 2 days ago and hasn’t been seen since.

The party accepts the job, and Egil recommends an inn, The Scholar’s Quill. He also offers to show the group Lucius’ home in the hope that they might find a clue to his current whereabouts. Egil also asks that his name be left out of their investigations, as his superiors have told him to concentrate on his work, and stop wasting time on an erratic librarian.

End of session.

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Session 2
Start the Investigation

Players Present

Planting 5th (continued)

The story picks up in Freeport where it left off last session. The party decides to search Lucius’ house. Egil shows them where it is, and then departs for his job at the Temple of Aarth. Once inside, the party searches for quite a while before finding anything of interest. Eventually, they find a to do list written by Lucius. Among other, more mundane items, is “Talk to Captain Scarbelly”, as well as “Update Diary” and “Examine Travel Logs”.

As it is approaching evening, the group heads to the The Scholar’s Quill, the inn recommended by Egil. After they finish dinner, they hang out in the taproom. Braast disappears on his own mysterious business. A couple of strangely matched people approach, asking if they know Captain Rollo. Once their identities are confirmed, they hand over a letter written in Orcish that Rollo discovered among the papers taken from Scarbelly’s cabin. The letter is written to Scarbelly from Master Wizard Kenzil and has exact information about where a certain staff can be found in Ishta’s cabin on the Coral Princess. It looks like Kenzil was looking for that staff in particular and hired Scarbelly and his crew to acquire it. The two newcomers, Darius and Jorak, decide that this looks like an interesting group and ask to join the party.

Planting 6th

In the morning, they go to the temple of Aarth and request an audience with High Priest Thuron. They are met by his assistant, Milos, who says that such a meeting is impossible since Thuron is extremely busy with important temple matters. Milos will try to answer their questions. In the end, his answers don’t satisfy the party. He seems to feel that searching for “any librarian that fails to report to work” is a waste of time. He has not heard of Kenzil, and only knows Scarbelly by his reputation as a notorious pirate.

After this frustrating meeting, the group splits up. Braast, Daruis, Heylyn, and Jorak go to the docks to see if anyone there saw Lucius book passage on a ship leaving Freeport. Ishta, Kindric, Nathen, and Talis return to Lucius’ house to see if there is anything they might have missed. They cast detect magic upstairs and in the basement, but discover nothing new. They then head to rejoin the others at the docks. After a fruitless afternoon of searching, they are returning to the Scholar’s Quill for the evening to make plans for the next step of their search.

The party is almost back to the inn, and are passing through a narrow alley, when they are ambushed by a gang. There are several crossbowmen on the roof, some swordsmen, and a mage. During the battle, the close quarters means that the sneakier members of the party can’t work effectively and Braast almost dies (twice). It is a very tough fight, but eventually the party is victorious. As the bodies of their foes are being looted, they find some treasure, as well as a note.

End of session.

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Session 3
Temple of the Unspeakable One

Players Present

Planting 6th (continued) & 7th.

After looting the bodies of the Yellow Shields that attacked them (see Session 2), the group heads back to the inn to re-group. They decide to check out the Black Gull Tavern mentioned on the note they found on the leader of the Yellow Shields. Jorak and Talis decide to stay behind and rest up from the battle. They arrive at the Tavern around 9:00 and have a few drinks while they wait. While there, they notice a man sitting in the corner that seems decidedly out of place in the rough atmosphere of the dockside tavern. As time passes, he appears to get more and more nervous. Shortly after midnight, he leaves the bar and is followed by the party. He walks into an alley, and Braast grabs him. He immediately wilts, cowering and begging for his life. He admits that his name is Enzo, and he is attempting to curry favour with a group that he knows only as “The Brotherhood”. He was asked to hire the Yellow Shields to attack the party, an action which obviously didn’t go according to plan. Even under duress, he can’t say much about the Brotherhood, as he has not yet been trusted with much information. He was to bring proof that his mission was completed to an abandoned house where he has met with his master several times previously. With the added encouragement of some personal violence, he agrees to lead the party to the house.

The building is certainly deserted, with all the windows bricked up, and nothing but some garbage and piles of crumbling masonry inside. At the back of the house are some stairs leading down to the basement. A few people start heading to the stairs, and Enzo makes a break for the door. Braast slams him into the door, knocking him unconscious. The group heads down the stairs, dragging Enzo behind them. The basement consists of one fairly large room with nine large wine barrels, four of which are still filled with some well-spoiled wine. After some searching, they discover a secret door behind the barrel in the north-west corner of the room. This leads into a narrow passage down some stairs into the Temple of the Unspeakable One. Braast hangs back as the rest of the party proceeds around a corner, dumping Enzo face-down into a full barrel of the rancid wine before catching up to the rest of the group.Ishta is in the lead, and barely avoids falling into a concealed pit trap at the first intersection. The rest of the party passes around the trap, which resets after they pass. This means that Braast, who is still catching up, doesn’t realize the trap is there and falls into it. This does nothing to endear the rest of the group to him.

The group cautiously listens at the northen and eastern doors, and discovers a secret door at the western end of the intersection. Braast and Heylyn open the east door, which opens to reveal a large, dark and octagonal room. The rest of the group opens the secret door and are attacked by eight serpent people. The fight is over quickly with the serpent people on the losing side. While the fight is going on, Braast and Heylyn investigate the initiation room to the east. At the far side, there is a table with incense, two candles and a gong. They light the candles and incense and strike the gong several times. As the gong rings for the third time, black tentacles erupt from the depression in the middle of the room. * Everyone in the room (Braast, Heylyn & Ishta) feels their sanity slipping away with the horror of what they see. After this incident, they remove a few potential valuables and throw the gong down into the shallow pit. Everyone then heads to the northern door. This opens to reveal a long, wide corridor that continues north for 50’ before angling off to the north east. There is a door on either side of the passage.

Braast opens the first door, and closes it immediately. He reports that there are a large number of skeletons rising in the middle of the room. After getting organized, they open the door and Kindric attempts to turn the skeletons. He succeeds spectacularly, managing to destroy all of them. With the threat dispensed with, the party is free to loot the room, which turns out to be the cult’s treasury. There is a large amount of gold and silver, along with some gems, a potion and a heavy shield.

The door across the hall from the treasury is a library. It is filled with many ancient books , but there is one in particular that holds pride of place on the reading desk. This is the Book of the Unspeakable One. Heylyn takes it for perusal at a later date. Also on the desk are several notes and letters, mostly updates on the progress of the Lighthouse of Drac, and a letter from someone named N’Tal.

Further to the north, the corridor ends at a set of double doors. Listening reveals some kind of activity, but it is not possible to determine what is happening. When the door is opened, the party can see a brightly lit room with pillars carved like serpents. There is an altar on a dais at the far end of the room, and Milos is standing behind it taunting the party. There are also two attendant clerics on either side of the altar, partially concealed behind the pillars. The battle ensues, with spells flying from both sides. Heylyn’s magic missle fails to reach Milos, and arrows seem to have trouble hitting as well. The rouges hang back, as they are both sorely wounded from previous encounters. Likewise, the spellcasters of the group are not able to attack with their full abilities because they have all depleted most of their magical energies earlier in the day. After a long battle, the party is eventually victorious. As they are checking for treasure behind the altar, they discover Lucius, badly tortured and barely conscious.

After using their last healing spell on Lucius, he sighs with relief and thanks his rescuers profusely. They saved him from certain, painful death, and for that he is eternally grateful. Lucius blurts out the whole tale of his possession, return, and subsequent trouble. (See Lucius’ bio.) He explains that Milos sent him on an errand to the bricked-up house, where he was overpowered and taken below. Milos spoke of the extraplanar entities, but he did not name them nor say why they studied other worlds. Sometime during this questioning, Milos revealed his true form. The sinister serpent man then tortured Lucius, asking question after question about his memories of the other plane. Clearly Milos believed that valuable knowledge was locked in Lucius’s head, but the librarian could not tell him very much. The cultist became increasingly frustrated, and told Lucius repeatedly that he was going to kill him—he probably would have, without the party’s timely intervention.

The party also discovers some magical items and a bit more gold on the bodies of the evil clerics, then heads back to the streets of Freeport, blocking the secret door behind them on their way out.

End of session.

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Session 3A
Something's Cooking!

Mini-game for players unable to attend Session 3.

Players Present

  • Cory (Jorak Dinbeard) via Skype
  • Paul (Talis)

Planting 6th (continued) & 7th.

After looting the bodies of the Yellow Shields that attacked them (see Session 2), the group heads back to the inn to re-group. While most of the party decides to check out the Black Gull Tavern mentioned on the note they found on the leader of the Yellow Shields, Jorak and Talis decide to stay behind and rest up from the battle. As they are enjoying some ale in the tap room of the The Scholars Quill, the innkeeper (Shem) approaches them and asks if they would be willing to carry a message to a friend of his named Gendrew, who lives just outside Freeport. He explains that Gendrew is a chef, and he has need of a caterer for an upcoming banquet. If they agree to carry the note, he will give them free meals and lodging for 3 days. The pair agree to the job, and head out along the road to the west of the city.

They approach the small cottage belonging to Gendrew and knock on the door. There is no answer, after several attempts, which arouses some suspicion. They explore around the house and find nothing obviously amiss. The barn looks as though it hasn’t held horses for a while, but is instead being used to grow several varieties of mushrooms. Heading back to the house, they discover that the back door is locked, but the front door is open. They cautiously enter the house. The hallway appears normal, but they can hear some faint sounds coming from the room on the right. This turns out to be a cozy sitting room. There are some comfy chairs, a sofa, a fireplace, tapestries and artwork, as well as a desk and some bookshelves. The sounds seem to be coming from the door to the north, and listening closer, they can determine that there seems to be someone (or something) ripping paper on the other side of the door. They ready weapons and peek through the door. They are immediately attacked by a small, winged devil. The imp is quickly dispatched with some good teamwork from the two heroes. Once that is dealt with, they turn their attention to the rest of the room. It is a bedroom, with a badly beaten man tied up on the bed. It looks as though As near as they can tell, this is Gendrew. In brief periods of lucidity, the unfortunate chef informs Jorak and Talis that there is a berserk golem in the kitchen. He also tells them that they are welcome to use any of the potions in a chest next to the bed if they are required.

Jorak and Talis load up on potions from the chest, then return to the sitting room. As they are checking things out, they accidentally disturb a book lying open on the desk. The book attacks Talis, but he manages to get a grip on it, and Jorak “kills” it with his spear. Further investigations reveal a magically animated poker near the fireplace, but it is also dispatched with little difficulty.

The explorations then head off into the other rooms in the house. There is nothing remarkable about the privy, although it wasn’t searched fully! Likewise, there is nothing very interesting about the dining room. The kitchen, however, is another matter. It looks like it has been totally ransacked. There are pots and pans scattered about the floor, broken bottles, boxes and jars of ingredients strewn all over, and large, toeless footprints tracking around the entire room. The foot prints seem to lead toward a door in the north-west corner of the kitchen, which is held closed with a chair braced against the doorknob. As they are investigating the mess, Talis hears crackling in the stove. Quickly looking in, they discover an upset fire elemental. They quickly slam the door shut, trapping it inside. Finding nothing else of interest, they head to the other door. Listening at the door, they can hear some loud footsteps and periodic smashing wood. They open the door, revealing stairs leading down into a basement pantry. Once downstairs, they find a strange humanoid figure in the centre of the room which appears to be made entirely of pastry. It turns to attack! Talis hits the creature with his sword, and the wound spurts out a stream of burning hot tomato sauce, which damages Talis in return. Jorak throws his spear, but misses spectacularly, losing his balance. The calzone golem, in it’s haste to hit back, also slips and falls to the ground. Talis hits again, and is again rewarded with a burn from the hot sauce. Jorak decides not to close to melee range and readies his sling. The golem regains it’s footing, but misses again. Talis once again hits, and suffers another burn. Jorak’s slung stone finds it’s mark, damaging the golem slightly. The golem emits a cloud of noxious fumes; Talis breathes in the fumes, but manages to fight off the nauseating effects, and delivers the killing blow to the golem. There is nothing of use left in the cellar, so the two adventurers return upstairs.

Once back in the bedroom, they are tending to Gendrew when they hear the front door open. Very shortly, a woman enters the bedroom, demanding to know what they are doing to her husband. It turns out that she is Andolyn, Gendrew’s wife and a fairly powerful wizard. Once Jorak and Talis reassure her that they aren’t the source of the destruction in her home (most of it, anyway), she thanks them for their assistance. She says that the imp was probably sent by a more powerful devil that she had a falling out with some time ago. She says that the calzone golem was created by herself and Gendrew, and was normally a peaceful guardian in their home. Apparently, the imp somehow caused it to become enraged, then locked it in the cellar when threatened. She once again thanks the them, and offers some gold and some magical bracers, as well as the unused potions they took earlier. She also says that if they need any magic in the future, she might be able to assist them. With that, they return to Freeport, only to find that their friends still haven’t returned to the inn.

End of session.

Maps

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Session 4
The Two Towers -- almost.

Players Present

Planting 7th (continued) & 8th.

Our heroes have vanquished the leader of the Brotherhood, and looted the temple. This took all night, after a long day spent in the sun, so they are noticeably weary. They spend most of the next 2 days resting and recovering. During this time, they pay a visit to Lucius, who is recovering nicely, but still seems troubled about his ordeal and the strange events leading up to it. They also return to the Temple of Aarth, and receive their reward from Brother Egil. He also tells Ishta that he was able to find some information about Kenzil. The wizard was known to have inhabited a tower in the south-west side of the Grandwood Forest, on the Mikar River. The local peasants did not like the way that Kenzil treated them, so they were forced to re-locate their village some miles away. The party also sells some books that they found in the Temple of the Unspeakable One to Thuron in exchange for some research from the library. They ask for more information on The Unspeakable One and on the The Cult of the Yellow Sign, and they reserve one question for a future need. They are told that the research will take several weeks, at a minimum, so they have to decide what they want to do in the interim.

Most of the party does not want to travel for several weeks on what could be a wild goose chase (looking for Kenzil’s tower), so they decide to investigate Milton’s Folly, the lighthouse that is under construction on T’wik the small island across the harbour from Freeport. Braast and Nathen feel that this would also be a waste of time, and decide to stay at the inn for the day. The rest of the group heads down to the harbour to hire a boat to take them across the bay. The first boatman that they approach is reluctant to take them, saying that the Captain’s Council has forbidden travel to the work site by anyone not on official business. After some discussion, he agrees to take the group and wait for them until dark – all for the bargain price of 5 gold per person! They are dropped off on the south side of the island and make their way through the forest to the top of the hill. There are many workmen, several foremen and a couple of guards on this side of the building. As it is nearing the end of the day, the workers seem to be packing up their tools for the day, and several members of the group decide to investigate individually. Ishta begins a circuit of the work site, which looks to take a while, as she wants to remain under cover, and the forest has been cleared quite a way from the tower. Heylyn boldly walks up to the construction area and attempts to bluff some information out of the workmen. He isn’t able to discover much, but he does learn that the council member in charge of the construction is Verlaine, the head of the Captain’s Council. Darius also decides to make himself known, but the foreman in this area is suspicious. He calls the guards over to straighten out his story, and when the guard grabs Darius’ arm to lead him away from the worksite, Darius draws his sword and attacks! The other guard blows a whistle and comes running to assist his companion, and the workmen start gathering around and placing bets. Darius is lucky in that his companions are able to assist him from their cover in the nearby forest. Jorak and Kindric summon animals to help (a wolf and badger, respectively), and Talis helps with some archery. Heylyn tries to trip the second foreman as he approaches the fight, but fails.

By this time, the guards from the other sides of the lighthouse are arriving on the scene, and Darius decides to flee, especially since he has already received several wounds. He is assisted by Jorak casting entangle after he passes, causing most of his pursuers to get stuck, or at least pause as they determine where they can safely walk. The guards from the eastern side of the tower manage to bypass the area of the spell and pursue the group down the mountain, but they are slain once they catch up to the party. In the course of the skirmish, two guards are killed, and both foremen are neutralized.

Ishta was on the southwest side of the tower when the guards were called away. She didn’t know why they left, but she decides to take advantage of their absence to investigate the tower more closely. She approaches the now undefended door on the west side of the tower and takes a peek inside. She doesn’t see anything of interest, even when using detect magic. It looks like a large, empty room the full size of the tower, with a staircase in the centre, and many pillars to support the upper stories. She decides not to press her luck any further, and slips back into the forest and around to the southern side of the construction site to meet up with her companions. They have already fled, so she meets up with them at the boat.

After the fight is over, Heylyn talks to the foreman, who questions why Heylyn is there. Heylyn says that he is working on Verlaine’s security force, and has been trying to foil the plans of the attacker (Darius). The foreman seems suspicious of this, since Heylyn can’t produce any evidence to prove his story. Heylyn is allowed to leave, though.

The group meet up at the boat, and return to Freeport. They decide that it might be wise to lay low for a while, so they head out of the city to Gendrew and Andolyn’s house for the night. They are treated to a wonderful meal, prepared by Gendrew, and spend a quiet evening making plans. They decide that the tower in the Grandwood Forest belonging to Kenzil might be worth checking out, now that some members of the party are likely wanted by the authorities for their participation in the battle at the lighthouse.

Planting 9

With the heat on, the group slips back into Freeport (with Darius in disguise) and they book passage to Rel Astra. They depart around noon that day and begin a relaxing voyage to the mainland.

Later that afternoon, Heylyn decides to investigate the Book of the Unspeakable One. This turns out to be a very bad idea, as he takes both physical damage and damage to his psyche. He thinks this might be a one-time effect, and makes another attempt. This also causes damage, and he figures that more research into the mysteries of The Unspeakable One might be better left to someone with more stamina (or less wisdom) than himself.

Planting 10-14

The journey to Rel Astra continues. There is some rain on the 10th, but the rest of the passage occurs under clear skies.

Planting 15

The party arrives in Rel Astra in the afternoon. They prepare for their overland journey by buying horses (and ponies) and a cart. They stay at an inn for the night and set out early the next morning.

Planting 16

The first day of the overland portion of the quest passes quietly as the group travels through peaceful farmland and open plains. The party sets up a guard schedule for the night, but all is quiet.

Planting 17

The journey continues through the next day. Again, the day is peaceful, although the land is less settled. At nightfall, they have just reached the edge of the Grandwood Forest. Jorak is on guard around midnight, when he spots some dark shapes flitting through the trees. They appear to be fuzzy, bat-winged shapes with long, thin beaks. As he rouses his friends, the creatures attack. They latch on to their victims and start drinking blood. The fight is very draining (pun intended), but the stirges are fought off after most of the party and their mounts have been wounded.

End session.

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Session 4a
Party in Freeport

Players present:

Planting 7th & 8th

Our heroes have vanquished the leader of the Brotherhood, and looted the temple. This took all night, after a long day spent in the sun, so they are noticeably weary. They spend most of the next 2 days resting and recovering. During this time, they pay a visit to Lucius, who is recovering nicely, but still seems troubled about his ordeal and the strange events leading up to it. They also return to the Temple of Aarth, and receive their reward from Brother Egil. He also tells Ishta that he was able to find some information about Kenzil. The wizard was known to have inhabited a tower in the south-west side of the Grandwood Forest, on the Mikar River. The local peasants did not like the way that Kenzil treated them, so they were forced to re-locate their village some miles away. The party also sells some books that they found in the Temple of the Unspeakable One to Thuron in exchange for some research from the library. They ask for more information on The Unspeakable One and on the The Cult of the Yellow Sign, and they reserve one question for a future need. They are told that the research will take several weeks, at a minimum, so they have to decide what they want to do in the interim.

Braast and Nathen decide that they aren’t interested in the lighthouse. Instead, they return to the Temple of the Unspeakable One to check out the secret passage that was left unexplored on their previous visit. The only thing of interest they find is a large cavern with an underground lake. There are also 3 more serpent people, but they are quickly dispatched.

After leaving the tunnels of the temple, they spend most of the rest of the 8th exploring the city and keeping their ears open for interesting rumors or possible employment opportunities. The only thing that people are talking about is the upcoming Swagfest, a major holiday in Freeport, and some local politics. They hear that someone named Captain Lydon is making a bid for the Captain’s Council, and is expected to be a major player at the Swagfest celebrations. In the latter part of the evening, the two adventurers are finishing up their tour of the city, and they wind up in Scurvytown, the worst area of the city. Nothing untoward happens to them, but they make contact with Otto, the owner of a well-respected magic weapon shop. After discovering that they are adventurers, Otto warms up to them and he offers them some deals in the future when they need some of his wares.

Planting 9th & 10th

Since they explored the city yesterday, and didn’t find much of interest, it seems like a good idea to explore the rest of the island. They are getting ready to head out of town, when the rest of the party meets them at the inn, explaining that they think it best if they lie low for a while. Braast and Nathen don’t feel like another sea voyage, so they decide to stay in Freeport while the rest of the group seeks Kenzil’s tower.

They journey through the forest and have a nice stroll. They meet a strange woodsman around noon, but after a brief conversation, they continue on their way. By nightfall, they have reached the dormant volcano on the northern portion of the island, and camp there for the night.

The next day, they walk back to Freeport and are delayed for several hours by an intense thunderstorm. Other than being wet and cold, they arrive safely back in the city.

Planting 11th

This day is spent quietly at the The Scholars Quill, drinking and gambling with the other patrons of the inn.

Planting 12th – Swagfest!

Braast & Nathen decide to head down to the docks to participate in the Swagfest celebrations. They arrive in the main square in time to get a good place to view the opening speech given by Captain Lydon. As he starts his speech, they notice a suspicious figure sneaking up behind the stage. When the dark figure draws a dagger and moves to attack Captain Lydon, they act, Braast charges toward the assassin, and Nathen quickly shoots a couple of arrows. The assassin still completes her attack, and Lydon suffers a massive wound. He is still able to react, and between himself and his two benefactors, they quickly put the assassin down. She is still alive, though, and Captain Lydon stops Braast before he can commit a coup-de-grace. During this development, the watching crowd erupts in turmoil, fearing that there might be more attackers. The guards are called and the assassin is taken away for justice. Captain Lydon, once he has a healing potion into him, calls the crowd to a semblance of order with the promise of plenty of ale arriving shortly. He is very grateful to Braast and Nathen for their timely intervention, and asks them to participate in all the festivities.

The first “game” is called “One Eyed Jack’s Stand”, and it is to remember a pirate of ancient times that single-handedly fought off a dozen sahuagin while tied to a mast during a storm. In honour of that, each contestant is tied to a pole (with some room to move) and expected to fight off as many sailors as he can. Everyone is given padded clubs so that no one is actually hurt during the contest. There is a great deal of betting and alcohol involved in this contest, so it is quite popular. Nathen goes first, and manages to fight off all 12 “fish-men”, which turns out to be the best battle of the day. Braast, who had good odds placed on him due to his size, did not manage as well, as he didn’t even “kill” one of his opponents. Nathen’s reward for winning is “Jack’s Eye”, a small jewel.

After much drinking, and lunch, the next game is ready to go. This one is called “Chasing the Rat”. A large crate is brought onto the stage, and Captain Lydon announces that the person (or group) that catches the rat wins the prize! With that, he opens the crate, pulls out a large dire rat and releases it into the square. The crowd erupts – some of them trying to catch the rat, but most of them (especially the children) running for cover. Braast and Nathen give chase, and manage to keep the rat in sight while overtaking their competitors. They chase the rat all the way to Scurvytown, and just manage to see it scamper into a broken basement window on a run-down shack. They open the door, and are greeted by a large spider with human arms that says “Ahh – Fresh meat!”. The spider attacks, throwing webs at the two intruders, also casting spells when it’s physical attacks fail. After a tough fight, the aranea is defeated. The house is filled with cocoons, and some of them are still kicking. One is the rat, which is tied in a sack to be taken back to Captain Lydon. There is also a commoner, who is somewhat weakened and very grateful to be saved. The last surviving victim is a halfling who introduces himself as Kiro. He also thanks his rescuers profusely before exiting into the streets of Freeport. A bit more searching turns up a small treasure hoard, which is taken by the victors. They decide to drag the corpse of the aranea back to the square as well.

Upon their return to the square, they are hailed as heroes for defeating the aranea, and for bringing the dire rat back alive as well. They join in the rest of the celebrations until the party winds up in the wee hours of the morning.

End session

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Session 5
Two-headed trouble

Players Present

Planting 18-20

The game begins the morning after the stirge attack in Session 4. Our heroes are somewhat battered and bloody from the fight, but they decide to proceed on their journey. Several of the most badly wounded ride in the wagon to try to get some rest. The next several days pass peacefully as the party travels beside the Mikar river. Peaceful, that is, until the afternoon of Planting 20, when a loud crashing sound is heard approaching through the forest. They just have time to draw their weapons before two ogres come into view. The first ogre smashes a blow into Ishta, causing a frightful amount of damage. After a heated battle, with everyone doing their part, the ogres are defeated.

Later that afternoon, the party approaches a small village. They arrive just in time to see an ettin snatch up a cow and disappear into the woods after its attack on the village. The villagers are understandably upset, but it turns out that this is actually a fairly common occurrence. The ettin has been making similar raids every day or so for several months. The villagers have lost about half of their able-bodied men to these attacks, not to mention a lot of livestock. This most recent attack also destroyed the bridge over the river, which cannot easily be crossed by other means. The villagers plead with the adventurers to rid them of their two-headed problem once and for all.

The locals say that the town is called Newkeep. Upon further questioning, the villagers say that the village used to be located about 10 miles further west, but they were forced to move after a cruel wizard named Kenzil took over the tower. Another item of interest us that the villagers mention they believe the ettin has a den somewhere in the area near Oldkeep.

As the heroes are getting settled in some vacant houses (the former owners having been killed by the ettin), they notice some writing on the outer wall of the chapel. It appears to be a poem or riddle of some kind:

Two heads have we, but born with one.

We avenged, healed, and protected.

Our master was Invincible,

But punished we all who objected.

Heeded we the six-armed king,

And so by our god were rejected.

Thus, this is our fate:

One head, twice bisected.

It turns out that the riddle was written by the ettin, who frequently sneaks into town at night. It seems to act very differently than it does during the day, trying to be stealthy and not harming anyone or anything. It seems to have a particular fascination with the shrine. Restick, the local priest of Heironious says that he cannot believe what is happening, since ettins are known to be mindless beasts that can barely talk, let alone write.

The group decides to observe the ettin if it makes an appearance that night. After relaxing at the village’s outdoor tavern and getting to know the townsfolk a bit, they set a watch. Nothing is seen during the night.

Planting 21

The day dawns bright and sunny, and things seem peaceful enough. The general consesus is to stay in Newkeep to help defend the village should the ettin attack. Sure enough, the ettin makes another appearance, around noon. It travels quickly throuhg the village. The adventurers try to engage it, but it moves too fast for them to keep up. They do a good job with their ranged weapons, and Darius manages to get ahead of it at one point. It is wounded somewhat, but as it retreats, it appears to cast a healing spell on itself. Talis and a few others track it for a mile or so north of the village, but lose the trail when the ettin crosses the river.

The decision is made to wait until nightfall to try to make contact with the ettin when it is feeling more benign. They set multiple watches and are rewarded around midnight when they spot the giant sneaking into town. The left head is very alert, but the right head seems to be dozing. The watchers observe as it sneaks through town to the shrine. It looks like it is kneeling to pray. After a respectful period of time, Kindric quietly asks what it is doing. The ettin is startled, but once it is reassured it tells a strange story.

Just over two years ago, I was part of a group of adventurers that learned that the inhabitants of this village had been forced to flee their home when an evil wizard took control of the local keep. We confronted the wizard in his lair and defeated him, but not without suffering heavy casualties. Only two of us survived the battle. During the battle, the evil wizard polymorphed me into an ettin. Already under the effect of a charm spell, I aided the wizard in pounding my former friends into paste. After the wizard was finally defeated, my surviving partner, a young rogue named Hartmund, promised to go find some help. Hartmund advised me to stay out of sight—to avoid being taken for a real ettin—until he returned. I never saw him again.

When I ran out of food, I began hunting the local wildlife. Soon I had cleared the area around the wizard’s keep, forcing me to range farther afield. I encountered the occasional hunter, but swiftly learned that if they didn’t immediately run from me, I was better off running from them. The old keep became his hiding place. It was not long before I began attracting monstrous attention. I was approached by a band of orcs seeking some “muscle” for their planned raids—including one on the very villagers whose former keep I now occupied. I turned them down—violently—and learned just how easy it was to take advantage of my new body’s brutal strength. Later, several ogres tried to take me down. It was at this point that I discovered that my savagery was greater than I’d dreamed. My second head—which I’d always thought of as merely an extra set of eyes and ears—took on a life of its own, directing my limbs in ways I wouldn’t have chosen myself. At first I believed that I had been imagining things. But the next time I encountered a hunter in the forest, my other head again took charge, and before I could will his limbs to stop, I had beaten the poor man to death. I could only watch in horror as, day after day, my second head took control of our mutual body.

In time, the second head—calling itself “Muck”—gained almost complete control of my body. I became an unwilling passenger, and worse, a witness to Muck’s atrocities. When I objected, Muck pummeled me unconscious. The only times I could operate my body were when Muck was asleep. I had given up on Hartmund ever returning, and resigned myself to life as an ettin—until this development. Now I renewed my efforts at restoring myself to my true form. Through prayer, I came to realize that I could one day cast a dispel magic divine spell, suitably powerful to undo the polymorph spell that had so drastically altered my life. But I found that my deity, Heironeous, would not grant me the dispel magic spell. Instead, I was granted a vision of a kind of riddle, which you have probably already seen scratched on the walls of the shrine in Newkeep. At first I took the verse for instructions on how to live in accordance with Heironeous’s wish, but soon realized that it was somehow the key to my dilemma. Whenever I prayed most fervently, I saw the riddle again. I took to praying all night, whenever Muck was asleep, and writing my visions on the walls of the keep, to better enable him to study the riddle.

Muck, of course, took exception. Although Muck proved unable to read, he defaced the riddles out of spite, and again, beat me for objecting. I despaired until I remembered a small shrine to Heironeous near the place where the villagers had resettled. I began slipping down there to pray and record my visions. Sometimes I had to dodge the villagers, but at least they didn’t erase my notes. Unfortunately, one morning Muck woke up early, and noticed the villagers’ rather plentiful herds of cattle. The hamlet became Muck’s favorite target for raids, which made it even more difficult for me to slip in and out unchallenged. I tried on a few occasions, during my nightly visits, to explain myself, but the villagers wouldn’t listen. I resolved simply to be more careful, but I knew in my heart that it wouldn’t be much longer before the villagers found some adventurers to vanquish the marauding ettin. I wasn’t even sure I would have objected—if it would end my suffering, and Muck’s reign of terror. So now here we are, and I’m pleading for your help.

The group agrees to help Keirnan, and they convince him to accompany him back to his lair, where they can tie him up so that he can’t harm the village during the day when Muck is awake. They don’t make it all the way back, and tie the ettin to a tree when it seems that Muck is starting to stir. When Muck awakes, he flies into a rage, but the ropes hold. Most of the group wants to check out the tower at Oldkeep, but Kindric wants to return to the village to inform the elders of the latest developments.

The rest of the party arrives at the tower. They search around outside and don’t discover anything of interest. All the houses that used to make up the village have been destroyed, either burned or just smashed. There are three relatively new graves to one side, presumably belonging to Kiernan’s former companions. Inside the tower is a disaster. What isn’t foul from the presence of the ettin has been destroyed by fire or other effects of the battle between Kenzil and Keirnan’s group. The ceiling of the main room has a large hole in it. Apparently, Kiernan was polymorphed upstairs, and couldn’t fit down the stairs, so he made his own way down. In the upper room, they discover some treasure that the ettin couldn’t reach. This includes an amulet that may have belonged to Kenzil when he lived here.

Not finding anything interesting, the group heads back toward town. When they arrive at the place that the ettin had been tied up, they discover that it was able to break it’s bonds and is now nowhere to be found. Kindric catches up with the rest of the group at this point.

As they continue back to Newkeep, they realize that Darius isn’t with them, but he catches up almost immediately, saying that he was answering a call of nature. After several more hours of travel, they arrive back at Newkeep…

End session

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Session 6
Two Heads are Bitter, Then One

Players Present

Note that some characters were played by another player due to absences.

Planting 22 (continued)

The game starts with the party traveling back to Newkeep while having a discussion about the poem left on the chapel walls by the ettin. When they arrive at the village, they see that disaster has befallen the townsfolk since they’ve been gone. Muck, the ettin, having escaped his bonds, has run amuck (pun intended) in the village, destroying three houses and killing ten more villagers. Restick, the village priest says that the constable – already very angry about the ettin killing his father recently – has vowed revenge and took a dozen men to seek out the ettin’s lair. Restick is concerned that those men are headed for their certain death so he pleads with the party to intervene. After a brief time to regroup, they follow the ettin’s tracks away from the village. This isn’t a difficult task, since Muck was enraged and made no effort to conceal his path.

The trail leads back to the tower at Oldkeep. It is well into the night when the party arrives, and Muck has fallen asleep, leaving the Kiernan head awake and contemplating his fate. He is sure that the villagers will try to kill him once and for all after this latest atrocity. When the party arrives, Darius, Heylyn and Jorak remain outside to watch for the presumed appearance of the mob of angry villagers. The rest of the group enters the tower to speak to Kiernan about their interpretation of the poem, and Talis heads to the roof of the tower to keep an eye on the situation from above. Kiernan admits that before he was transformed, he was perhaps overzealous in his efforts to fulfill his duty to his deity. He punished evil-doers more than was strictly necessary, and often in a cruel manner. He immediately began praying to Hieronious for forgiveness in the hope that he would be granted the dispel magic spell that would allow him to remove the curse placed upon him.

While this is going on, the watchers hear the approach of the villagers. Darius immediately heads into hiding, while Heylyn and Jorak block the path in an attempt to reason with the villagers, sure that they will all be killed if Muck awakes. This doesn’t work well, as Malwick is adamant about killing the ettin, and won’t listen to any arguments to the contrary. The other villagers don’t feel as strongly as their leader, but are willing to follow him. Malwick tells his posse to fan out and surround the tower. At this point, Darius attempts to lure some of the innocent militia men away from danger. He creates a lot of noise and tries to make it sound like he is the ettin. When four of the militia break off from the main group to investigate, he leads them on a merry chase before doubling back to the tower.

At the first sign of this approaching trouble, everyone hurries outside to confront the situation, except Talis who is still on the roof, and Ishta who bars the main door and then moves toward the stairs – ready to climb to safety shold things take a turn for the worse. She does, however, stay close enough to keep an eye on the ettin.

Meanwhile, Heylyn tries to block Malwick’s way, but he pushes past and starts shouting, calling the ettin out. Jorak heads to the side of the road to intercept the approaching villagers. He casts a fog spell, obscuring their vision and slowing their way. Any of them that emerge from the fog are persuaded to re-think their actions and warned of their impending death at the hands of the ettin.

Unfortunately, Malwick’s shouting awakens the Muck head, and he immediately takes control of their shared body. He charges the door in a rage, but cannot break through. Keirnan continues to pray fervently, despite the added distractions. Ishta attempts a spell to weaken the ettin, but misses. Shortly afterward, the ettin manages to break through the door, knocking Malwick backward. A close-quarters melee combat ensues, with the ettin on one side and the majority of the party (and their summoned allies), Malwick, and several villagers that were unwilling to be swayed from their decision to fight. The battle does not go well for the militia, with Malwick and another man quickly knocked out of the fight. The ettin takes some damage, but doesn’t seem badly wounded, when Keirnan’s pleas to his god get results. He immediately casts dispel magic on himself, now that he has been granted the spell, and instantly returns to his own form. He immediately heals the dying Malwick, while Kindric does the same for the other villager. Keirnan then gives thanks for his redemption while apologizing for the damage that was caused by the other head of his transformed body.

Planting 23

The party, the newly-transformed Keirnan and the re-grouped villagers decide to stay in the tower for the night, which passes peacefully. The following morning, they head back to Newkeep for a bittersweet celebration of the demise of the ettin. The villagers are relieved to be rid of the ettin, but still have to rebuild the bridge that it destroyed and bury the most recent victims. Keirnan is quite grateful to the party for coming up with the solution to his problem, and tells them that he should be at the temple of Heironious in Rel Astra in the next month or so if they need to speak with him or if they need any assistance that he can offer. For now, he will be in Newkeep helping the rebuilding efforts.

Planting 24 – 29

The next day, the party sets out for Rel Astra so they can sail back to Freeport and rejoin the other members of their group. While in the Rel Astra, they investigate the amulet that they found in Kenzil’s posessions in the tower. The young wizard that identifies it says that it aids in spellcraft, and that there is another charm of some sort that he didn’t have the skill to analyze.

Planting 30 – Flocktime 5

The voyage back to Freeport passes peacefully, and the group arranges to be dropped off to the west of the city. They again ask for hospitality from Gendrew and Andolyn while they figure out who can safely enter the city after the fight at the lighthouse last month. Unknown to them, Braast and Nathen have received another plea of help from their friend Brother Egil. It sounds like things are again amiss in the City of Freeport, or perhaps they are still amiss…

End session.

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Session 7

Players Present

Flocktime 5

The majority of the party that has just returned to Freeport reunites with Braast and Nathen at The Scholars Quill. Darius decides to remain outside the city until he figures out if he is still wanted by the authorities for his involvement in the attack at the lighthouse a month ago. Braast and Nathen inform the rest of the group that Brother Egil has again approached them asking for help. The gist of his plea is that several nights ago, he had helped Lucius home after he experienced a flash-back of his possession. Egil fell asleep at Lucius’ house and awakened in the middle of the night to find an intruder searching for something in Lucius’ desk. The dark figure apparently found what it was looking for and left, not knowing that Egil observed what happened. Egil’s impression was that the intruder might have been a serpent person and he is now asking for the party to investigate whether the serpent people are still active in Freeport and what their plans might be. If they manage this task, he will pay each of them 110gp.

Egil says that he was looking through some of Milos’ old papers and discovered that he had booked rooms in an inn in the old city under yet another assumed name, Devlin. The party decides to investigate, and finds that the inn in question is run down, and obviously not too popular. With a bit of a bribe to the bar-man, Heylyn and Nathen are allowed to search the room belonging to the one-time priest of the Unspeakable One. The room is small, and contains some bookshelves, among other common items. The bookshelves reveal several strange items, including six albino cave rats that are apparently preserved in liquid filled jars. The strange thing is that the rats appear to be still alive! Nathen takes these jars as a curiosity, and also finds a book that has a sketch of the lighthouse on the last page. The sketch has some arrows pointing to various locations on the structure and some strange (possibly mathematical) symbols as well. Nathen takes this book as well, and the two men return to the common room.

As the party is heading out of the inn, they hear cries for help and see four large orcs bullying a teenage boy. They intervene, and the boy hides behind them while the orcs attack. The orcs put up a good fight, but are defeated by the heroes. During the fight, the boy sneak attacks Heylyn and then turns to run. He is quite fast, and manages to elude the creatures that the party summons to pursue him. Heylyn and Nathen give chase and manage to keep on his trial until they lose it near the abandoned house that is the secret entrance to the Temple of the Unspeakable One. One orc survives the battle; his wounds are bandaged and he is dragged back to the inn for questioning once he awakens.

Flocktime 6

The following morning, the party heads to the Temple of Knowledge. There, they speak with Brother Egil again and get some information about Councilor Verlaine. They also ask Egil to see what he can discover about the book with the drawing of the lighthouse covered with mysterious symbols.

After this, Braast asks the group to accompany him to the Wizard’s Guild. Once there, they speak with the doorman, who will not allow them access to the tower, but will answer some questions. Braast mentions that he has found a grimoire, and wishes to return it. As the doorman is examining it, and before Braast can name a price, the porter thanks him and keeps the book. This annoys Braast, who says some harsh words, to which the doorman replies with a warning about not angering wizards. Ishta tries to question him about Kenzil, but he seems a bit put out with the party and refuses to answer.

The next stop for the party is to check out the entrance to the Temple of the Unspeakable One. Once there, they discover that the old house is now guarded by several city guards. The guards each have a patch on their sleeve with the letter V in a circle. The guards refuse to allow the group inside, and are somewhat reluctant to give them any information, other than that the city is having the temple cleaned out, and it’s none of their business what’s happening.

The party decides to split up to gather information more efficiently. Heylyn and Ishta visit Lucius to see if he can shed some light on the next step of their investigation. They spend a nice afternoon sipping tea, but don’t discover anything useful. Nathen and Braast attempt to speak with Captain Lydon, hoping that he can tell them what the city is doing in the old temple. Unfortunately, Lydon is in council session and can’t be interrupted. They leave a note for him requesting a meeting at the inn later that evening. Jorak returns to the inn to question the orc from the battle the previous day. He heals the orc so it regains consciousness. The only information that is forthcoming is that the “messenger boy” hired the orcs to menace him, then turn on the party when they tried to assist. Apparently, the boy’s name is Cal. Talis and Kindric return once again to the run-down house to see if they can find a way to gain access. The guards appear to be alert, but there might be a way to sneak inside through a bricked-up window in the back, or through the roof.

As evening approaches, the party regroups at the inn. Once there, they notice that it appears that their rooms have been searched. Nothing appears to be missing, but things are slightly out of place. The innkeeper appears shocked and dismayed that this happened in his inn, and he promises to keep a very close eye on things in the future. A messenger seeks out Nathen and Braast with a note from Lydon. The note says that he is too busy to meet with them at this time.

Dusk settles over Freeport, and the heroes decide to take some action after a long, frustrating day. They head out to see if they can discover anything that might have been left behind in the Temple of the Unspeakable One. Once there, Heylyn and Talis distract the guards by speaking with them. At the end of the conversation, Jorak summons a pack of wolves for even more distraction, and the whole group slips into the shack through a hole they make in the roof. They spend the next couple of hours cautiously searching the temple. There appears to have been some activity in the tunnels; some large objects have been dragged through the dust, apparently something heavy was dragged toward the entrance.

The party spreads out to try to watch all the various passages and rooms. Braast in particular is separated as he watches the secret passage leading toward the underground lake. The rest of the group eventually ends up in the temple proper, having discovered nothing in the rest of the complex. As they investigate, the secret door in the corner opens and a large group of serpent people burst out. With them is a female cleric and the familiar face of Cal, the messenger. The battle is joined, and once again the heroes are victorious, but it isn’t an easy fight. Braast hears the noise and tries to come at the enemies from the rear through the secret tunnels, but by the time he gets there, the battle is over.

As they search the cave that the attack came from, they find a crate that had been dropped when the serpent people charged. It is addressed to:

From: Bierce Vintners

To: 100 Wave Avenue (Cellar)

Inside are 6 golden goblets and several ordinary bricks.

It is now quite late in the evening, and the party decides to rest here for the rest of the night.

End Session

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Session 8
Trapped like a rat in a sewer.

Players Present

Flocktime 7

The party has a peaceful night in the ruined Temple of the Unspeakable One, or at least as peaceful as possible in a place dedicated to the worship of an ancient evil. Perhaps “uneventful” is a better word.

The only place in the temple that the party feels hasn’t been explored enough yet is the lake. After much time and thought, they come up with the idea of casting a light spell on a scrap of wood and getting Cowl the Owl to carry it around the perimeter of the cave, and summoning a porpoise to swim down, then using Speak with Animals to ask what it found. Neither of these returned satisfactory results – the dolphin couldn’t “see” the bottom, and cowl couldn’t find any place that looked like an opening at water level.

Around noon, after their fruitless search, the decision is made to leave the temple. Some of the party tries to sneak out, but others want to just charge out. The break-out group surprises the guards that are still outside. No weapons are drawn, but the guards blow thier whistles and perhaps get a look at the group as they run past.

The party heads back to the Temple of Knowledge. They make arrangements with Egil to meet them tonight at the Scholar’s Quill. They then return to the inn to clean up from their adventure, then some of the group head off on various errands.

Nathen and Talis seek out a particular curio shop to sell the remaining pickled undead rats. Then they stroll casually past 100 Wave Ave. It looks like it is one of the richest houses in the ritziest section of town.

Braast decides to mend some fences and returns to the Wizard’s Guild to apologize for his previous behaviour. The apology is accepted, and the gatekeeper (the same one as the previous day) seems to mellow a bit, even if he still doesn’t seem overly friendly.

Around supper time, the party reunites at the inn. Egil comes to meet them, and suggests that they might be able to find some more information at the Hall of Records.

As night falls, Darius rejoins the rest of the party. He managed to sneak into town without attracting the attention of the guards, but it is still not known how much trouble he might be in.

Flocktime 8

The party again splits up, with several members going to try to set up an appointment with Captain Lydon. They leave another message, but are not allowed to see him. The rest of the group visits the hall of records. The grouchy old man in charge of the city’s records is surly at first, but once it is discovered that neither party is very fond of Councilor Verlaine, he warms right up. He says that some of Verlaine’s soldiers were there several days ago demanding to see certain documents. Upon examination of these papers, it looks as if the guards were interested in the sewers under Freeport for some reason. There looks to be a smudge on a street near the entrance of the Temple of the Unspeakable One. With this possible lead, they return to the inn to meet with their companions.

While they are deciding what to do, Brother Egil enters the inn in a state approaching panic. He says that the Cult of the Yellow Signhas once again kidnapped his friend Lucius. The party agrees to help after Egil tells them that The Temple of Aarth has arranged for a sympathetic councilor to make the party wards of the Temple; immune to arrest and bringing punishment on anyone that harms them. Buoyed by this news, the party (plus Egil) set out to find their friend. The most promising place to search, according to Egil is the sewers. They head to the eastern district and find that the grate on the entrance to the sewers has been unlocked and left partially open. They descend into the effluvium of the city. By the end of the following hour, they are liberally covered in shit and other, more vile things. After traveling for a hour in a generally eastward direction, they come across a gate blocking the next passage.

This gate also looks like it has been passed through recently. The bars in one section are loose and a person can slip through without too much trouble. The passage then dead-ends about 100’ further along. There is a concealed door at the end. As the door is being opened, Darius notices that something seems odd about Egil, but he’s not sure what is wrong. Most of the party enters the room. Egil enters just ahead of Braast, Kindric and Jorak. Darius is watching him closely, but is still taken by surprise when he shoulders the door closed.

At the moment that the door to the room closes, a rumbling starts. This increases until the room starts shaking and the floor begins to tilt away from the door. The ceiling opens up and the shaking increases. Between frantic attempts to hold on, a few people notice a small window high up on the now-exposed wall. A face can be seen peeking through the window, but no details can be made out. There are quite a number of close calls – some very close. It appears that this room is used for crushing rock, as large rollers are visible to a few of the party that end up suspended over the end of the floor, which is now a ramp.

As the shaking starts to subside, Nathen manages to climb up above the level of the ceiling. The ceiling closes, trapping Nathen in the upper half of the room. He investigates the window and sees some levers that he assumes are used to control the crusher room. When the man in the control room sees Nathen, he runs toward a door at the far end of the room, but a couple of arrows from Nathen end his escape (and his life).

Meanwhile, the rest of the party manages to open the door, which locked while the crusher was running. Egil tries to make a run for it, but he barely gets through the broken gate when the party catches up with him. He is quickly killed. When his body is searched, his face seems to be someone else, not Egil. He has no treasure, but there is a small jar of ointment labeled “Pigment of Disguise”.

End Session

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