nerdlords

The Road to Magnimar
session 20

With Aldern dead the party loot the laboratory. They discover two notable items: Aldern’s journal and a letter. The journal details Aldern’s descent into madness and death: he had been in debt to a group referred to as the Brotherhood, and the payments were becoming increasingly difficult to make. The group forced him to do things that he did not wish to do, which would eventually lead to his death and rebirth as a monster.

The letter is signed by someone called Xanesha and states that Aldern’s debt s will be paid when he delivers some of the toxic mould from the house; they plan to weaponize it. It also notes that Aldern is to perform the Sehidron Ritual on his victims so that Xanesha’s un-named master may harvest the souls of the dead. Cage is able to discern that the vibrant yellow mould patch is the source of the evil of the house and is able to consecrate the evil, finally ending the near century-long haunt of Foxglove Manor. Good job!

As the party begins to ascend through the catacombs they are suddenly set upon by a hail of stones. Ghouls erupt from the water and pull Cage under. Rye dives in after him. With both light sources extinguished more ghouls lay siege on Valerio and Lem. The ghouls dive deep into the cavern pool attempting to drown Cage. Lem tosses torches into the darkness, providing just enough light for him to see the attackers. Meanwhile, Valerio calls forth an alligator that goes ape shit and really messes things up for the ghouls. The alligator and Rye are able to free Cage. Meanwhile, Lem and Archie deal with the last of the ghouls.

The party exit the house victorious, wounded and exhausted. They camp as the last of the carrion crows takes wing The next day they return to Sandpoint and share Sheriff Hemlock what they’ve learned. Hemlock suggests they follow the trail to Magnimar. He tells them he’ll send a bird to contact an associate of his there, Justice Briarthorn, who can help them in the city.

The party spend time in Sandpoint healing. They resupply and once again attempt the hagfish challenge, failing spectacularly. Shyaliss ends her relationship with Rye, assuring him it’s out of respect for her father and not his disfigurement. Cage helps at the cathedral. Valerio discovers the local theatre community and becomes fast friends with Cyrdrak, the theatre owner, and his not-so-secret lover Sir Jaspar, paladin of the Merchant League. They all enjoy a rare opportunity to catch Lion King live.

On the long road to the city they encounter a family of stone giants, the father of which is badly hurt. As best as can be told, it seems the family has been exiled. The giants are reluctant to share information, but tell the party that there has been some trouble in the tribes, particularly amongst the younger giants. They assert the problem is a stone giant one and they will deal with it. The party also meets Miiori once again, catching her group of bandits spying on them. She tells them that there is bounty in town from a tall Dhampir woman looking for information on their whereabouts. She warns them to lay low.

Finally the arrive at Maginmar. They approach a guard at the city gate, who tells them that the Lord Mayor is expecting them…

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Foxglove's Fate
session 19

The party follow the sound of the weeping woman to the attic where they discover what remains of Iesha: she has been transformed into a ghoul and is transfixed by her image in a mirror , weeping at her fate. She is oblivious to their presence until she spots a scrap of her scarf Cage;. She becomes enraged and rushes out of the room, howling for Aldern. Cage and Lem decide to finish exploring the attic while Rye and the summoner follow Iesha.

The attic reveals some valuables and a set of keys. In an observatory Cage experiences an overwhelming desire to leap to his death. He jumps through the window and is speared by a weather vane, which brings him to his senses long enough to transform to gas. Meanwhile, Rye and the summoner follow Iesha to the main floor where she pounds her way through the mould-covered floor, revealing a closed room below containing a pit, which she escapes into.

The party regroup and enter the basement, carving their through a hordes of infected rats. They discover a laboratory and experience a haunting vision told in stained-glass: Vorel Foxglove was attempting to transform himself into a Lich. His wife discovered his intentions and interrupted the ritual, breaking his phylactery and trapping Vorel’s spirit in the house itself, causing it’s cursed state. They use the key to open the pit room, and descend.

The party travel deep into the earth into a series of caverns far below the manor. A loud noise, like breathing, fills the cave system. The summoner sends Woodhouse to scout down a path, where the creature discovers a <>. While the monster slaughtered Woodhouse Cage warped the stone of the cavern to seal the beast within. Clever!

Further into the caverns the party discover some treasures and the source of the ominous sound; a massive sea cave filled by the tide. They also discover a group of ghouls and a battle ensues. A few of the ghouls escape into the darkness before the party call kill them all.

The party descend to the very bottom of the cave caverns where they discover a small room. Within, Aldern has killed Iesha one last time and is despondent. Aldern is longer human, but an undead Ghast. The room, Vorel’s sanctuary, also contains a vibrant, angry yellow mould growth. The party attack Aldern and he does not fight back. They relent, and give their former friend a chance to speak.

Through tears Aldern explains that he is but a patsy, the victim of a group known as the Brotherhood. He has come into their debt and attempting to repay them has spiralled into a nightmare that has lead to his death, his wife’s death, and his transformation into a monster. It seems that his obsession with Lem has grown from his hope that a hero might save him. Unfortunately his lucidity does not last; Alden’s personality shifts again into a creature that refers to itself as the Skinsaw Man. Aldern attacks Lem and attempts to kill him, but the party is able to finally put an end to the miserable un-life of Aldern Foxglove.

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Haunted House
session 18

Fresh off the shock of Rye’s ghostly dance the party are surprised by the sudden arrival of four-armed ursine creature. A summoner quickly followed and the two parties take a few moments to become familiar. The groups decide to join forces. As they explore the house, they encounter numerous dangerous haunts and learn much about the house and family history.

The first floor revealed:

  • Sounds of a woman weeping coming from a floor above.
  • A rat bursting with tumours. Speak with animals reveals that dead things live in the house.
  • A Horrible, supernatural mould infects everything- it seeps between the floorboards, reaches from behind every wall.
  • The ghost of a nervous woman paces in the drawing room. The woman calls for someone called Lorie and suddenly rushes to leave. Cage feels the woman’s terror of whatever her husband is doing in the house, but is able to keep calm.
  • Apparitions in the kitchen of Aldern and his wife. ‘Aldern’ seems confused and time-lost, more a victim than a mastermind. Aldern explodes into mould when confronted.
  • Massive stained-glass windows seem to tell a cryptic tale, but of what is not clear.
  • Two chairs in the library, one capsized with a broken stone statue nearby, the other with a lovely scarf draped over it. Cage inspects the scarf only to have it leap to life and strangle him. As it does he glimpses a vision of an enraged Aldern doing the strangling.
  • A bizarre mould stain on the floor that looks very much like a set of spiral stairs.

Having had quite enough the group decide to try the door. On the way the stuffed manticore in the hall lunges at Rye, slashing and burning him. Lem opens the door to find the entire property covered in thousands of silent, watching black birds. He fires an arrow and kills one, sending the flock to the air, darkening the sky. The house endures a few minutes of violent battering as the birds smash themselves against it, but just as suddenly as they started the stop.

The party press on to the second floor, revealing:

  • The weeping woman grows louder from above them
  • Yet another stained glass window, again undecipherable
  • A child’s bedroom. Within Cage can hear his parents fighting is engulfed by the feeling that one of his parents is about to kill the other and then him. Again he is able to fight it off.
  • The master bedroom, where Rye felt an overwhelming sensation that he had killed the person he loved the most. Overcome with grief he pulled a knife from a drawer and attempted to cut his throat. Lem interfered, which resulted in Rye stabbing Lem with the ‘knife’, in reality a wooden stake, the shock of which brought Rye back to consciousness.
  • A parlour, each portrait buried in dust and cobwebs. Clearing the portraits reveal the house’s residents:
    • Vorel and Kasanda, the original occupants, with their daughter Lorey.
    • Traver, Vorel’s great-nephew, and his wife Cyralie, as well as their children, Aldern,
      Zeeva and Sendeli.
    • Aldern and his wife Iesha.

As the last portrait is cleared the room each portrait transforms: Zeeva and Sendeli obscure; Aldern’s loses his hair and assumes a deathly pallor; Iesha turns purple as black bruises appear on her neck; Cyralie is burnt and her bones shatter; Travers throat splits open, while Lorie and Kasanda appear deathly sick. Vorel himself violently explodes into a mound of festering yellow mould. The room suddenly becomes supernaturally cold. Both Lem and the summoner escape the violent freeze, which soon after abruptly ends.

While the party was able to endure many hardships one in particular came at a gruesome price: exploring a room Rye felt a sudden and all-consuming sensation that his face was blossoming in pustulent tumours. He violently clawed his face to destroy them, disfiguring himself in his mania, before his friends were able to pull him free and break the spell. His mutilated face was wrapped in bandages for the time being but will likely never been be the same.

Above them, the weeping grows louder while what lies below still awaits… whatever Vorel Foxglove set in motion is now coming to a head…

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Scarecrows
session 17

Upon returning to Sandpoint the party turn Doctor Erin Habe over to Sheriff Hemlock. They spend the evening following up on a hunch of Lem’s: he suspects that Aldern Foxglove may somehow be involved. They learn of the tragic history of the Foxglove family.
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Morning arrives violently: the party follow a panicked crowd trail to find another violent murder at the docks. The victim, a local drunk and gambler, has been mutilated and crucified. Again a seven pointed star is found hacked into the corpse, and another note to Lem is pinned to the corpse. Worse, Lem’s name is writ large in blood. The people of Sandpoint look at Lem with fresh, terrified eyes as Hemlock quickly hurries the party to the garrison to avoid any potential backlash. The party secret out of town with Maester Grump in tow and head to the farmlands.

At the Hambley Farm the party are forced to navigate a labyrinth of tall corn. Approaching a pair of scarecrows, they notice that the appear to be shifting listlessly. Rye cuts one free and is instantly set upon and paralyzed by a ghoul. The other scarecrow leaps into the fight. It appears that the undead monsters have been disguised as scarecrows and scattered throughout the farm. The party tread cautiously as more ‘scarecrows’ are encountered, some real, some ghouls. Some are revealed to be human prisoners disguised to trick the group, but caution and wit prevents a tragic accident. Well done! Grump leads a few of the victims back to Sandpoint.

The party reach the homestead and are able to determine that the barn is full of ghouls. Rather than risking open combat they bar the door from the outside and climb into the hayloft, where they kick the ladder down and slaughter the trapped monsters like fish in a barrel. Super clever!

In the farmhouse they discover the horribly slaughtered remains of Farmer Hambley and family. Once again the level of savagery is shocking, the corpse is decorated with a seven pointed star and another cryptic message to Lem. As they examine the scene a ghast arrives and announces “his Lordship” told him they’d come. He attacks, but is defeated. Searching his remains they discover an ornate key bearing a flower: a Foxglove. The deceased man was the caretaker at Foxglove Manor, and Lem is now certain that answers await them at the estate.

The party head to the manor. A few silent ravens watch as they arrive. They enter the house via the music room and find the mansion in a horrific state; the house sags and groans, and pulses with an evil energy. Mould and rot seep from every board. As they cautiously examine the manor Rye hears the tinkling of piano keys; turning the bench he sees a beautiful raven haired woman before the instrument. She plays a few bars, then rises and approaches him. The music continues. He is compelled to dance with her and he does, but soon breaks free of her control. Cage and Lem see and hear nothing.

Their suspicions are confirmed: something is very, very wrong at Foxglove Manor…

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Sanitarium
session 16

The murder investigation continues. Lem, Cage and Rye visit the survivor of the previous attack at Habe’s Sanitarium, an ill-cared for facility in the shadow of Ashen Rise. The heroes convince a pair of tiefling orderlies to let them speak with the doctor and owner, one Aaron Habe.

Habe informs the ‘trespassers’ the facility is private and denies them entry. Cage notes his unusual agitation. Rye attempts to win Habe over a few times but only manages to increase the doctors nervousness. Cage tries to reason with Habe, but the doctor suddenly snaps and runs into the building.

The party thinks this is a bit suspicious so Rye blows the door open. Lem and Cage dash for the stairs while Rye beats the staff up a little. The interior of the building seems disused and somewhat abandoned. Lem follows the doctor’s footsteps up to the second floor where they meet two of the sanitariums residents: Old Sedge, a blind farmer, and Hammy, an even older lunatic who yells what’s happening to Sedge and both laugh uproariously.

One of the orderlies follows Rye up the stairs. Rye accidentally rips the tieflings clothes off, then accidentally kills him. Meanwhile, Cage and Lem arrive at the third floor to discover an operating theatre with unusually invasive instruments. Cages line the walls; in one, a straight-jacketed man in the very last stages of ghoul fever lays slumped and still, and in another a were-rat lurks, it’s own cage door thrown open. Habe is nowhere to be seen.

The were-rat launches an attack. At the sight of Lem the ill man perks up and walks toward the group, overjoyed to see them. He tells them that the master told him to deliver a message to Lem and recites “I hate you. I fear you. You must hate me; do you fear me as well?”. The message delivered, the man finally dies from the disease, only to rise moments later and attack. The party is able to easily defeat both the were-rat and the ghoul. Suddenly the room fills with a toxic cloud. The party escapes down the steps and into a large pack of zombies and a necromancer. The zombies and the necromancer attack, but are no match for Cage’s channeled power. The necromancer attempts to flee but is soon killed.

The party discover Habe cowering in the necromancers study in the basement; he seems shocked but relieved that the necromancer is finally dead. He explains that the necromancer had provided the funding for Habe to open the sanitarium asking only for dead patients as payment. Although immoral, Habe had issues finding funding due to his unorthodox treatments, so he agreed. The necromancer, however, had a greater need for bodies than Habe had anticipated and soon the hospital became less a place of care and more a source of corpses.

Habe shares a note found on the ill man, Grayst Sevilla, inviting Grayst and and three other con men to meet someone referring to himself as “His Lordship” in a barn to discuss an opportunity. The other three were slaughtered while Grayst was forced to watch and was himself tortured physically and mentally until he was broken before being brought to the sanitarium.

The party decide to have Habe face the law and consider their next steps…

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Trouble at the Old Mill
session 15

Sheriff Hemlock shares a bloody envelope discovered at the murder scene. It is addressed to Lem and a note within reads: “I’ve seen your bloody handiwork, now you’ve seen mine. Join the pack and the streets will run with blood!”.

Hemlock leads the group to the Sandpoint Lumber Mill and shares what he knows:

  • The bodies were found by Ibor Thorn as he arrived for his morning shift.
  • The victims were Banny Harker, the mill operator, and Katrine Vender.
  • It’s a well-known secret that pair were lovers despite Katrine’s father Vin’s objections.
  • Both Ibor and Vin are being held at the garrison, but neither is a strong suspect.
  • These are not the first recent killings: a few days ago a trio of con men were found slaughtered in a barn south of town. A survivor of that attack is being treated at a sanitarium outside of town.
  • The mill is owned by the Scarnetti family. The Scarnetti’s are the most ruthless of the Sandpoint nobles and are suspected of being involved in criminal activity.
  • The mill has been a source of discord around town lately as the operators have been running the noisy facility around the clock to the chagrin of their neighbours.

The party investigate the Mill. Katrine has been split in two by the log splitter. Harker has been badly mutilated; what’s left of his body hangs from hooks from the rafters. Cage identifies gouges from claws amidst the cuts from a blade or blades. The killer also carved a seven-pointed star on Harkers chest. An unusual scent permeates the air which is identified as the odour of undeath. A bloody axe is found and Cage is able to determine that the blood on the head belongs to either a Ghoul or a Ghast. Further exploration uncovers muddy footprints leading from the river to the dock. On the opposite bank Lem finds more prints in a clearing in the marsh; it appears the killer strode from the river to the clearing and hid in the marsh before entering the mill via the dock.

Next they question Ibor and learn Katrine and Harker would often used the Mill for their private ‘meetings’. Ibor shares that Harker was a greedy sort and may have been skimming money from the mill. Even with the noise issues, the illicit hook-ups and the potential pilfering he can’t conceive of anyone capable of the horror that Ibor witnessed.

Rye visits Shayliss, and her story is much the same as Ivor’s; Harker was cheap and loved money, but he did care for her sister. A visit to the Mayor regarding the Mill’s operation proves fruitless.

The party meet Titus Scarnetti and it goes poorly; the nobleman thinks very little of Sandpoints heroes and shows it. He refuses to help in any way, but does seem to be surprised to hear that Harker, who he professes to like, may have been skimming.

The next morning the party gather to visit the sanitarium when an old farmer arrives in a frantic, half-mad state. He rants about walking scarecrows eating the livestock, the dogs, even the people. The Sheriff calms Maester Grump enough to learn that there had been trouble of some sort at the Hambley family farmstead recently; the farm had gone dark and the family had not been seen, and strange sounds emanated from the rows of corn.. A group of local farmers had gone to the house to investigate but had been attacked by ‘scarecrows’. The situation has spiraled out of control Grump has come looking for help.

The Sheriff sighs and looks toward Lem, Cage and Rye yet again…

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Jubrayl's Big Score
session 14

The Badger Boys ask Jubrayl to wager Cage to Ukrun and lose, placing the cleric in the vault with the ring. Jubrayl plays along, losing both Archie and Cage to the half-orc. Ukrun leaves the table as his ‘winnings’ are lead away.

The dhampir woman suddenly approaches Lem and demands he follow. He is lead to Jubrayl and Rye’s table. They are joined by her robed companion. The woman suggests the guards may be interested to hear they arrived as slaves but now appear to be guests. She demands Jubrayl wager his slaves for her silence. Jubrayl agrees and loses.

Rye and Lem join Cage and Archie in the vault The robed man reveals himself as Peter Vane, the merchant Rye had crossed in Riddleport. His strange companion is called Seeker in the Morning. Peter has every intention of torturing Rye to death and can’t wait to get started.

The party locate the ring in Ukrun’s hoard and give it to Archie, who escapes in a grate with instructions to find Jubrayl. They also fine a cache of liquid blades and Cage’s (apparently pick-pocketed) holy symbol in Jubrayl’s chest.

The guards shackle Lem and Rye before Peter and Seeker lead the pair to a waiting boat. As they travel Lem notes the position of the stars and the stones in the water has shifted; the only solution, and the key to Fifty Fathoms secret location, is that the island moves.

Meanwhile, Ukrun retrieves his winnings and Cage tells him the other slaves have robbed him. Furious, the half-orc doesn’t have Cage manacled and immediately heads for a boat of his own.

Peter and Seeker delight in tormenting Rye with threats. Lem is able to provide a powerful distraction by returning insults, including a super-sick loogie fired straight up Peter’s nose. This results in a ferocious beating; his collar-bone and hand are broken by Seeker. As she pummels him Rye stealthily pick-pockets the keys to their shackles from Peter.

Ukrun catches up. Lines are immediately attached to Peter’s boat and the raiders board, immediately setting the ship ablaze. Rye frees himself and Lem. Seeker tosses Ukrun overboard and assaults Rye. Lem spears her through the railing and she responds by breaking his skull. Cage is able to keep his friend alive as Rye shackles the Dhampir to the boat. Peter watches his revenge slip away from the captain’s room as the half-orcs, dwarves and undead war on the burning boat. The Badger Boy’s navigate to Ukrun’s boat and flee with a magical gust of wind provided by Cage. All of their new enemies die off-camera, never to be seen again.

Arriving in Riddleport, they buy the captains silence and loot the hold, obtaining, among other things, a pair of Boots of Elvenkind. They locate Jubrayl and Miirori (who may have had a pleasant few hours together) and Archie before returning to Sandpoint.

They decide to give the ring over to Hemlock, as the letter suggested. Not long after he informs the group that the rings owner has been in contact and they will be meeting at the Devil’s Plateau the following morning. The party follow out of sight. Hemlock and his men meet with a large, organized force lead by a man of stern, noble bearing. Through divination Cage is able to determine the man, called Corsair, is actually a dragon in human form. Satisfied with the ring, Corsair and his followers leave.

A few days after the party are witness to a confrontation between Hemlock and Jubrayl. A local drunk believed he had hit gold when he discovered a barrel of ale bobbing in the sea nearby. Instead of hooch he found a corpse, one Hemlock has determined to be one Baron LeChrysler. Jubrayl professes ignorance, but does share some news: he’s recently become the owner of the Pixel’s Kitten, the brothel where Kaye Tessarani works. If rumours are true, the Sheriff and the madame are a couple, which gives Jubrayl a very personal edge over the lawman.

While the origin of the note remains a mystery Hemlock is as good as his word, and party accommodations are now covered entirely by the town. The Badger Boys’ have a permanent home in Sandpoint and absolutely, positively zero loose ends to be worried about.

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Fifty Fathoms
session 13

Two weeks before the lumber mill murders Bethany politely suggested that the party’s deal was with Ameiko; perhaps the time had come for them to consider paying their way in the world.

Cage discovers a written plea from Sheriff Hemlock in his room. A ruthless group is heading towards Sandpoint in search of a ring which is in the possession of a half-orc called Ukrun. He can be found at Fifty Fathoms, a secret hive of villainy. Hemlock implores the party to enlist the help of Jubrayl in infiltrating Fifty Fathoms and retrieving the ring to appease the group.

The group seek the help of Jubrayl without sharing the note. The insanity of their request intrigues him and he agrees to help.

Lem approaches Hemlock for more details. He claims not to have written the note. He asks the party help locate Fifty Fathoms; in return, he will investigate the note and procure them room and board at the city’s cost.

The party ride to Riddleport under the guise of an associate of Jubrayls, Baron LeChrysler, and his entourage. Sleeves of Many Garments are used for quick costume changes. Boarding the ship to Fifty Fathoms they learn Barons entourage are slaves, a fact Jubrayl overlooked to mention. Also on board the ship is an unusually tall Dhampir woman accompanied by a number of animated dead and a thin, robed man.

They sail to Fifty Fathoms, a remote ramshackle building on a fist of an island hidden by illusions. They surrender their treasure to the attendants. As they discuss their plans in Jubrayl’s room trouble sounds from below. They arrive to see the giantess intercept a cheater and viciously crush his skull with her own. Guards lead another cheater to a gallows and summon an Aboleth from the ocean depths. The primordial creature makes a slave of the accused and, enveloping him in it’s protective slime, leads its vassal to the bottom of the sea. Sucks to be him!

Another surprise awaits them: a smirking woman recognizes Jubrayl. He uncomfortably introduces the group to Miiori. They leave him to her. They locate Ukrun, notable by his Dwarven companions, playing cards. Lem and Cage decide to locate the treasure stash while Rye sticks to the main floor to keep an eye on activity.

Using their Sleeves of Many Garments to pose as attendants, Lem and Cage are lead deep underground to the treasure hold. The horde contains unheard of treasure of all types: gold, jewels, magical animals, flying carpets, self playing instruments, even a dire boar. Although the exterior is well guarded no guard is posted within since the room is completely sealed other than a floor drain. The drain might be something an animal could travel through, and it appears like even living creatures can be treated like treasure…

On the gaming floor Rye spots Jubrayl and Miiori, now posing as his drunk girlfriend, join Ukrun’s game. Jubrayl starting to work a con on the half-orc. What he and she are up to is anyone’s guess, but it sure looks dangerous…

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Thistletop Conclusion
session 12

The party confront the Greater Barghest. Despite their exhaustion and the creatures powerful magics they are able to slay the beast. With their enemies finally defeated or having fled the group explores the ruins, uncovering a fair bit of treasure for their trouble. They discover a treasure room with a mural depicting a city of spires in a mountain range. Their backpacks heavy with booty and Ripnugget’s crown atop Lems head, they return to the goblin stockade where they are greeted by the surviving members of the Thistletop clan. Dozens of them. Even Yoda and that swearing one.

Luckily the goblins are fronted by a goblin druid called Gogmurt alongside his firepelt cougar, Tangletooth. Gogmurt brokers a reluctant truce between Thistletop and Sandpoint. Lem crowns the new King of Thistletop before they take their leave.

After what seems like months but was really just one very long night the party returns to Sandpoint by sea, where they are greeted by a jubilant citizenry: the goblin operation has been a success. The major players in town again gather for debriefing while Rye takes a quick side quest with Shayliss. Brodert shares that the seven-pointed star relates to to the seven Tholassion runelords; it also signifies the seven sins and the schools of magic associated with them. The city of spires, he explains, is a fabled lost city in the Kodar mountains thought by most to be a legend.

And finally, Sandpoint is once again at peace. Good job, heroes.

A few weeks pass. During this time Ameiko, now living in the family estate and running the family business, vanishes in the night, taking her adventuring gear with her. She leaves behind a note promising to return and gifts the Rusty Dragon to Bethany. Rye spends more and more time with Shayliss, much to the chagrin of her father who does not approve. Abuse of pesh rises in town despite Jubrayl’s assurance that the drug was being sold elsewhere but it’s a minor problem for now. Lem feels the call of the forest and heads to the wilderness to seek out an animal companion, which turns out to be a badger, Detective Inspector Archie LeBrock. He is joined by Shalelu. Both have a wonderful time being with someone so like themselves. Cage assists in rebuilding the town and helps Father Zantus healing and caring for the faithful; of all of the group he is most welcomed by Sandpoint and is quickly seen as one of their own. Ilsoari discovers a new spring in his step and a taste for adventure, even though he can’t quite recall just what happened after that yeth hound scared him. He and Cage become buds and are often found at the monastery with Sabyl, Brodert and the others. And once again they all try the hagfish challenge and they all fail. Life is good.
It doesn’t last. One morning as the group spends breakfast considering permanent addresses they are interrupted by a grim faced Sheriff Hemlock. He tells them quietly that there has been a grisly murder. He once again asks for their assistance but tells them this time it’s a bit more personal: a bloody envelope containing a cryptic note from the killer was found at the crime scene.. And it’s addressed to Lem.

DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUN!

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Nualia
session 11

The party explore the area, discovering:

  • A storage area, more cave than building. A passage to the north leads to the tentamort cavern Rye discovered earlier.
  • Ripnugget’s harem, populated by terrified goblins-in-waiting. Bugbear-sized undergarments on the floor suggest Bruthazmus was a very recent customer.
  • A prison, currently empty of occupants. Lem finds the ring of keys in the warden’s office and pockets them, just in case.
  • The sleeping quarters of Tsuto, Nualia, Orik, Bruthazmus, and one other person. Items of interest include more of Tsuto’s ‘artistic’ nudes of Nualia, detailed notes on the Sandpoint attack, and everburning torch which Rye takes.

The party pass into a corridor containing doors to the north, east and west. The western door is a massive stone affair decorated with carvings of monstrosities being birthed from unnatural mothers. Cage identifies the artwork as a tribute to Lamashtu, Mother of Monsters. Despite this super tempting door, the party goes east. A thin corridor again leads them to the tentamort cave where Rye is finally able to dispatch the monster.

Turning back they discover their path blocked by a Yeth Hound. The creatures unholy howl sends Ilsoari into a panic. The wizard flees in terror and a second yeth hound attacks. A series of magic missiles from the north shoot Ilsoari from behind. The trio fight the dogs in the enclosed space, including a bitching wall run/ cleave combo by Rye, but are interrupted when a deep female voice speaking Abyssal calls for the dogs to Heel. The hounds obey and Lem promptly slams the door, leaving Ilsoari in the hallway with the monsters.

Let that sink in.

The now-trio dashes through the tentamort cave back to the original chamber and re-enter the corridor to find Ilsoari missing. The north reveals a sort of goblin art gallery containing a depiction of Thistletop in cross-section with a massive thirty foot goblin in a cavern in it’s heart. Pressing on, they discover a war-room for Nualia’s gang with details of the original and upcoming Sandpoint attacks,, including notes of a partnership with the quasit below Sandpoint. Most notably the notes describe a Runewell there can can create Sinspawn by via the blood of sinners. The Runewell is not at full power, but the death of Sandpoint should fully enable it.

They find and follow a staircase to the interior. The stairs twist and break revealing the slanted cant of the ‘head’. The chambers below are dusty and unlit and contain multiple statues of a stern-faced man wielding a book and glaive. Before entering a corridor Lem notices the ground is unusually clean and that a particular tile is a bit suspect. All three party members jump over the tile, but Cage lands noisily. From the far end of the corridor the same deep female voice demands their surrender or their friend will die. They decide to risk it and open a full assault.

Again: let that sink in.

Naulia awaits them. She is as beautiful as described, maybe moreso, except her exposed midriff reveals a map of scars- a symbol of a devotee of Lamashtu- and her angry red right arm, transformed now into something infernal as her metamorphosis has begun. She is joined by a trio of floating yeth hounds and a wizard called Lyrie, furious at Tsuto’s absence. True to her word, Naulia slashes Ilsoari’s throat with her saw-bladed bastard sword.

The fight begins and it’s a slobber knocker. All stops are pulled, all tricks are invoked, nothing is left on the table. Fate turns on Nualia as she loses control of her weapon. Waves of negative energy bomb the room as Lyrie fires a wand of magic missile and the hounds relentlessly attack. Through some miracle the trio are able to gain control, and soon a brutal power attack by Rye followed two perfectly placed arrows by Lem silences Nualia’s rage forever.

Still, the fight is not over; a yeth hound attaches itself to Cage’s throat, nearly killing him. Lem drives his thumbs deep into the hound’s eyes to save his friends life (he’s lucky he’s not Ilsoari) before Rye is able to land a killing blow. Lyrie, overwhelmed and heartbroken that her love Tsuto has been killed, flees the scene, leaving behind her belongings. As Lem watches her flee Ripnugget returns, sword in hand. He rushes toward the group but accidentally sets off the trapped tile and is slaughtered by a storm of swinging glaives.

Somehow all four of the party survives. They pillage the room, discovering Nualia’s journals, then take a well-earned rest and heal before continuing their exploration. They follow a recently uncovered hidden passage where mumbling from behind a door draws their attention. The door reveals a throne flanked by statues of the glaive-wielding man, as well as an illusion of the same man on the throne. The illusion is damaged and has been looping a short message for ten thousands years. It identifies the runelord as Karzoug and has a cryptic message about runelord Alaznist and a catastrophe.

Finally they discover a seven pointed star- the Sihedron rune- and place it in a relief in the massive stone doors to the south. The door slowly opens for the first time in ten centuries, revealing a massive four legged creature in a massive chamber lit by an ancient flaming pit. Not quite the thirty foot goblin they expected…

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