Session 38: Murder in Ashton

After defeating the orcish threat last session, our party returned to Ashton where they were met by Loga (Reeve of Ashton) who delivered some disturbing news…

Pitpet, (Dyme’s childhood friend and recently appointed Captain of Arms) had been murdered the night prior. His body was still sprawled out in the alley beside the tavern drenched in blood.

The party investigated the scene and found indications of blunt force trauma to the back of the head and multiple stab wounds. They also found a bloody rock (murder weapon) and determined the stab wounds were inflicted by short sword.

After interviewing locals, they were able to narrow their list of suspects. Was it Loga himself who had previously expressed displeasure at Pitpet’s appointment to Captain of Arms? Was it the band of bullies that our heroes let go in the previous session? Or was it some other assailant for reasons yet unknown?

Kefka, suggested a seance was in order to try and communicate with Pitpet’s spirit and get some definitive answers on what truly happened.

They established connection with his spirit and were able to ask three questions:

  1. Why were you at the tavern?  
    “Walking home…”

  2. Who killed you?
    “Don’t know…”

  3. Who can avenge your death?
    “… Dyme?..”

Sadly, the answers didn’t lend a lot of insight into the particulars of the incident.

The party received reports that the group of bullies had fled to the south in the night so they decided to head in that direction with the newly (and hastily) appointed Captain of Arms named Chessick. Chessick served with Loga in his previous position of “village leader” and was trusted by him.

The party grew frustrated as their journey south they revealed no sign of the fleeing bullies…  Fizban took Chessick aside and used his magical charm ring to try and get some more information. The spell was effective, and Chessick told him that they would never find the bullies…

This was enough information for the party to realize they were being duped. Fizban ensconced Chessick in magical webbing and then summoned insects to eat his flesh. They took the skull back to Ashton where they would confront Loga.

Loga pleaded ignorance but the party was not buying it.  They locked him in a dungeon and Kefka broke his ankle with a mace. He would only be allowed out if he provided them with the truth.

Eventually Loga confessed that it was Chessick who killed Pitpet but it had nothing to do with him…

Dyme, a man of his word, released the crippled Loga and the party felt comfortable that they had avenged poor Pitpet’s death.

The party then headed towards their next mission… the Dark Elf caves, where they planned to put an end to the evil elves who have been actively trying to assassinate their good friend (and former party member) King Warden of Renaulton.

 

Session 37: Orc Extermination Run

Our party headed into Ashton so that Lord Dyme could inspect the state of things.

Dyme was greeted by a trusted childhood friend named Pitpet who had been manning the front gate and the wall that had been constructed. He quickly filled Dyme in on the happenings of the city. Of special note were the orc scouts that had been spotted probing the wall.

The young Pitpet campaigned to be appointed as Dyme’s “reeve” in the village. However, he was also lobbied by a gruff elder named Loga who dismissed Pitpet’s abilities and believed he should be made reeve due to his experience being chief of a village.

Dyme decided to mull the decision, and the group first went to the local tavern where there were reports that a group of bullies were holed up.

There were some tense moments as the two groups faced off. Aside from Floben punching one of the bullies firmly in the gut, the standoff ended without bloodshed and the bullies were escorted out of the tavern.  

The barkeep was pleased by this and Fizban even gave him an extra 100 gp to help with lost revenue.

The party then decided they would head out meet the orc threat head-on before the monsters would have a chance to attack.

Before leaving, Dyme displayed some astute human management abilities by splitting the duties of town management. Loga was appointed as Chief Magistrate and Pitpet as Captain of Arms and both seemed satisfied with this arrangement.

On their path to the orcs, the party was halted in their tracks by a majestic sight. A unicorn had graced their path and the party was awestruck at it’s beauty.  

After trying to decide what they should do… Venn decided he would try and hug it. He was successful and felt a massive infusion of experience before the unicorn trotted off into the forest and disappeared.

They then found an old friendly gnome named Martin that the party encountered way back in Session 2. Of course only Fizban was part of the party back then (the rest being killed in action) but Martin seemed to remember him.

They all did some drugs together (aside from Dyme who abstained). However, while they were chilling they were besieged by manticores, a grizzly bear and then the orc horde!

Fighting in this impaired state was not ideal.  Kefka the cleric was swarmed by orcs and knocked out early. Thankfully, Fizban called his insects to distract the orcs from delivering a death blow.

One particular acrobatic orc proved very difficult to kill as he deftly jumped around on the backs of the party and the grizzly bear. He connected a strong kick to Floben’s genital area and then blew a horn to rally even more orc reinforcements.  

Fizban called in his magical djinni to help stem the onslaught of raging orcs. Some were even riding on the backs of vicious wargs!  The djinni performed his duty admirably and drew plenty of damage upon himself. Sadly, it was defeated in combat (permanently) and the magic ring that Fizban wore was reduced to a worthless trinket.  

Praetor smartly utilized his magical resurrection stone to bring back the dead manticores and grizzly bear to assist in the fight!

Many magical spells and combat abilities were employed to win this bloody forest battle but our party eventually emerged victorious and eliminated the orc threat to Ashton.

Kefka was brought back to consciousness and the party headed back to the village.. Bloodied and bruised and coming down from the effects of Martin’s drugs.

 

Session 36: The End of the Dinosaurs

Our party of heroes were far enough into halfling territory that they were able to locate the deceased Wubbles’ former tribe.

They also met a human cleric who was working on converting the halflings info followers of Tellisindar, God of Time.

His name was Kefka and he joined the party to replace Wubbles.

The halflings lead the party to nearby fields where mariposa flower grew in wild abundance. The party was eager to collect the plant to mix with their dreamweed and create a potent smoke that could induce the dinosaurs into an obedient trance.

Once under their control, their plan would be to lead the dinosaurs back into the hole to the underworld from whence they came.

Thus began a friendly competition to see who could collect the most mariposa. They had to fight a few elementals and gnomes in the contested fields but eventually they did collect all of the prized ingredient.

Truthfully, Dyme won the contest, but Fizban and Praetor (both followers of the evil insect god, Entomon) conspired and cheated to make it look like Praetor was the winner.

Shortly thereafter, they started their bonfire and dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes began to converge on their location and indeed were induced into a passive, trance-like state.

The team began herding the terrible lizards towards the large hole and every time a dinosaur broke trance, Kefka was able to get them back in line through use of his Charm Animal abilities.

Eventually all of the dinosaurs were exiled to their former homeworld and Fizban closed up the hole with some magical webbing!

The party had now generated great renown in the northern regions by liberating Edgetown, establishing great trade relations with the Gnomatta tribe, befriending the halflings and removing the dinosaur threat.

They returned to Renaulton where King Warden was also thrilled about their work. The king paid them a healthy reward in gold pieces for their exceptional servitude.

King Warden mentioned that he would now like the eastern Dark Elves to be eradicated (as they have been making brazen assassination attempts on his life).  He also mentioned a letter he received from Toros (a minotaur-populated city in the Red Lands). The minotaurs were calling for aid as giants had broken through their city walls were wreaking havoc.

While not really considering plight of the minotaurs to be a high priority, King Warden did relay the details to the party and would respect whatever quest they decided to undertake.

Before starting any new quests, the party decided to first head back to the Stonecrafter dwarves and make further payment towards a stone keep they wished to be developed in the center of Ashton.

But they first stopped at their favourite watering hole, the Battered Whore in Wurther where they enjoyed free drinks and a rollicking, high stakes game of memory match.

Session 35: Renaulton Royal Games

The party recruited a dwarf named Floben the Weak to replace the fallen Nedraw.

When the party entered Renaulton, tents and banners were being erected in anticipation of the Royal Games.

They met with King Warden and explained why they had so much dream weed (a banned substance within Renaulton). Their plan of course was to use the hallucinogenic substance (mixed with mariposa plant) to lure the dinosaurs back into the underworld from whence they came.  

King Warden was supportive of the plan and allowed our heroes to store the drug within the castle as they tended to their errands. As they had a few days left before the Royal Games, they decided to head south to Ashton and meet the Stonecrafter dwarves in order to make another payment towards completing the city wall.

Being clanless, Floben received some insults by the Stonecrafters and a duel ensued.  Floben proved his mettle as a fighter and was able to slay the insulting dwarf in single combat. In accordance with the ancient rituals of dwarven combat, the rest of the Stonecrafters gave full respect after the fight and Floben’s clanless status was no longer an issue.

They drank with the dwarves, feasted, sung songs and then made the final payment to finish the rest of the walls around Ashton.  

When they inspected Ashton themselves, the party found it to be even worse for wear than the last time they visited.  Orc clans had been rising again in west were and were raiding Ashton again.  The few remaining residents were not pleased with Dyme’s seeming neglect and let him know it.

The party then went back to Renaulton where they participated in a number of fun, sporting activities.  

Wubbles and Floben joined (and lost) in the event of Drinksmash.   

Fizban put on a fine display of wizardry by winning the conjured monster competition.

And young Dyme was able to win the coveted single death armed duel competition (much to the delight of his combat god Belluum).

After the festivities, the party retrieved their dream weed and began heading North in direction of Wubbles’ halfing homelands where they could acquire more mariposa plant for their mixture.

Things then took a terrible turn for the worse when they encountered a flock of four violent chimaeras…  the party tried to flee but poor Wubbles was not fast enough.  The flame breath from two dragon heads burned him where he stood. His vibrant form was reduced to black ash in seconds and there would be no hope for revival.

The rest of the party escaped but now with no clear direction to finding the halfling homeland and ending the dinosaur threat.

RIP Wubbles the Halfling Cleric.

Session 34: Bad Math = Permadeath

The party spent some time in Careb resting and conducting various errands.

At the market, Wubbles spoke with an alchemist who explained that his mariposa plant could be combined with a hallucinogen to produce a trance-like mist. This gave the party the idea of returning to the Gnomatta tribe. They hoped to purchase more dream weed that they could mix with mariposa in order to influence the dinosaurs that had invaded the north.

The party headed back through the desert to the underground caves where they knew the portal existed that could transport them back to the north.

They battled through a sphinx and a solarite and even some pesky sand chokers that latched on to Fizban’s neck and impeded his spellcasting abilities.

Eventually they made it north and arrived back at the Gnomatta settlement where they placed a massive order for dream weed.

They decided they would first head down to Renaulton where they may have opportunity to sell off some of the excess dream weed for profit. However, transporting the large quantities was difficult and they had to take turns manually pulling a rickety wagon loaded with 8 full barrels of the drug.  

During this journey they fought off a pack of hungry dire wolves before encountering a horde of barbarians who appeared to be in some kind of argument.  In broken common language, one barbarian engaged them and requested they settle a trade dispute. The party was posed with a math question related to the amount of goods that had been offered as a dowry for a barbarian bride.

Fizban, Wubbles and Nedraw conferred on the math problem. Although Wubbles had the correct answer he was overruled by Nedraw and Fizban and the answer given was incorrect.  This enraged the barbarians and caused them to attack the party.

Dyme was knocked out multiple times and very nearly killed if it weren’t for Nedraw shielding Dyme’s body and physically throwing him  out of harm’s way.

Nedraw’s heroism in turn brought more barbarian attacks on himself. It was late in the battle when one such attack caved his helmet, forcing the dented plate mail into his skull and crushing his brain within.

Nedraw’s math was incorrect… and that error cost him his life. He could not be revived…

After the remaining barbarians were dispatched and Nedraw’s holdings were distributed, the party pulled up to the northern gate of Renaulton with heavy hearts…

Session 33: Wizard Gang Battle

The party studied the portals and experimented by throwing items into them.

Some items were unable to enter one portal, but disappeared entirely when thrown into the other.

Brave Wubbles the halfling stuck his head into the accepting portal to try and take a peek, but was sucked in. The rest of the party quickly decided they had better join him!

They were transported to another cave system, where they were greeted by more Black Pheasant couriers, this time of the Anubian race (a race of desert dwellers with heads resembling a jackal).  

After dispatching the hostiles, the party continued through the underground caves, fighting bats, avoiding black pudding monsters and eventually encountering a strange loner named Slodka, Purchaser of Souls who offered them thousands of gold pieces for the rights to their soul after their death.

None of the heroes took the deal, but they did converse with Slodka and learned that one of the dark portals could take them to the city of Toros, home of the minotaurs, deep in the red lands.  

They decided to save that adventure for another day and continued searching for the cave exit which they eventually found.

The sun was blinding, and after a period of adjustment they realized they were outside the desert village of Careb. A place that the party once visited way back in Session 16.

Heading into Careb, they were intercepted by a bold wizard who demanded they all pay a 200 gold toll in order to pass. Due to their weakened state, they decided to pay rather than risk a fight with this strangely confident, lone wizard.

In Careb, they healed themselves, took care of various errands and even found the same local girl they encountered back in Session 16.  

The girl explained that Terris and his gang of wizards (who were likely invisible) were harassing and demanding tolls from everyone on the outskirts of the village and that everyone was too afraid to stand up to them.

The party decided this would be their next quest…

However, prior to all of this, Fizban had received a private message from his god Entomon, that either Venn Woodenbleeder or the dragon needed to die as they were outbalancing his influence within the party.

Venn also had received special instruction from his god Drakkar, to protect his dragon and not let anyone near it.

Despite the message, Fizban approached and fed the dragon some infected maggots without any intervention from Venn.

The next day, the dragon grew ill and died. The party suspected (especially Wubbles) that it was Fizban’s doing but none of them could prove it as Fizban denied responsibility. Although he did appear to become stronger and more powerful immediately after the death of the dragon…

The dragonless party, then headed out to engage Terris’s gang of wizards in what would prove to be an intense magical battle. Wubbles was dropped early with magic missiles, but the heroes fought hard using some strategically placed silence spells to slow down the wizard’s spellcasting abilities.

Eventually 3 wizards were killed and their valuable spell books recovered.  Terris however was able to escape and survive another day…

 

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Session 32: Dragon Reclaimed

After the loss of Slade last session (death by velociraptor, Winsil rest his soul), our party ventured deeper into the cave system where they were still trying to track the thief Mikael.

As you recall, Mikael had stolen the party’s precious dragon.

They had arrived at a dark, subterranean stream. Three canoes were docked here, their gunwales decorated with black feathers indicating their belonging to the Black Pheasant Courier Company™.

Our heroes were bruised and battered but they dared not rest here.

Out of a nearby barrel popped a halfling who introduced himself as Wubbles. Wubbles came from a northern community of halflings that had been studying the dinosaur invasion.

Through their experimentation, the halflings had discovered that burning pollen of the native Mariposa flower, mixed with other plant-based ingredients, could induce a trance-like state into the dinosaurs.

Unfortunately, Wubbles had not yet found the right catalyst. The trance-like effect would wear off prematurely and the dinosaurs would turn violent. His fellow halfling researchers were eaten by dinosaurs during these experiments and Wubbles had fled into these caves for safety.

The party and Wubbles shared a common desire to expel the dinosaurs from the land so they accepted Wubbles into their ranks.

Venn, Nedraw and Wubbles in the first canoe. Dyme, Rodella and Fizban in the second with Praetor (now an insect, dryder-like monster) occupying the third canoe by himself.

The party began their canoe trip. They were quickly stalled by some giant catfish but they were able to defeat them.

They continued on, taking left turns whenever a choice of direction was presented.

They defeated another boat of lizard men and found a place where they were able to safely make camp. They enjoyed some exotic mammoth and t-rex meat that they cooked over a small fire.

The next morning they set off again in their canoes. They passed through some toxic yellow mold where Fizban developed up a nasty lung infection. It was killing him, and the party feared they would lose him to the infection.. a truly horrible and undignified way to die for the last remaining original hero.

Blessed be to the Gods! They found a small area with rocks set up in a ritualistic circle with a pedestal and worn book in the center. A ray of sunlight shone down from a crack in the upper cavern ceiling and it was enough to cure Fizban of his mold infection!

After reading the text, the party realized this was a prayer area for Tiolua, God of Time. The text presented them with strange time-based symbols in a pattern that they needed to decipher in order to prove their worthiness and summon the God of Time.

The party was not worthy.

They continued on until they found a large contingent of lizard men (donned in Black Pheasant garb) camping on an island with Mikael and their caged dragon!

The fight was on! Dyme kicked things off with a flaming arrow that engulfed one of the lizard’s canoes and caused the lizard men to scramble into the water. They were adept swimmers of course and were quickly approaching the party’s floatilla.

Sleep, Hold Person and Fireball spells were all put to effective use here to dispatch most of the Black Pheasants before things got truly dangerous.

Mikael begged for mercy, but Fizban cut off his finger and then released the dragon from the cage who devoured Mikael in turn.. The thief’s wretched screams echoed off the subterranean walls and will haunt the dreams of our party for years to come.

With their dragon reclaimed, they continued until they arrived at a large pool of water with a giant Aboleth (multi-tentacled fish-like amphibian monster)  accompanied by two Skum (grotesque fish-human hybrids).

Our heroes fought like warrior-poets. Wubbles used a Growth of Animals spell to double the size of their dragon. The dragon flew over and delivered the finishing assault to the ancient Aboleth, a monster who had survived for thousands of years before this encounter.

Shortly after, they arrived at another land area. This area had two swirling black portals the likes of which our party had never previously witnessed. They also noticed a large lever though they were unsure of it’s purpose.

While inspecting the area, out popped a locked wooden chest from one of the portals!  After, checking for traps, Dyme picked the lock and found it filled with gems!

What mysteries were contained within these portals?

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