Relna

Recap of 12/4/08 Game

5th day of the second month of the year of renewal

Headmaster Bastion, Chosen of Azureen:

I hope that this note finds you and the Egg well. As promised, I am reporting back on the events since I left beloved Bahamutal. Gao is quite overwhelming, large, crowded, with flying ships, horseless coaches, merchants hawking all manner of useless junk. All in all though the city is relatively clean and safe, I’m sure due to the efforts of a well run city guard.

I was welcomed at the Heroes Guild, and along with other new aspiring heroes, and quartered in spartan, but suitable barracks. Today I met with some others, when we received our first job, as it seems that there is a warehouse down in the dock district with some trouble with rats. Large rats.

I will make an attempt to describe my new group members, as it seems it is the intention of the Guild to keep us together, the better for us to learn to work as a team. It may be that the seven of us were chosen since we complement each other in our skills. Or perhaps it is just because we all arrived at the Guild at the same time!

Note also that I may not have every detail right, but have no fear, I will correct any errors I make in future reports.

Me, or course, you know. Graeleanna is an Eladrin, and seems quite adept at a most curious skill, artificing. I know very little about this, but it seems to be held in high regard in this city. Asalie is a Human, veiled, quiet, but assured. Rolen is a bow wielding Elven ranger. Seltzer is a Bard who knows a great deal about Gao, which I’m sure will prove quite useful to our group. Glespo is a wild Druid, who marvelously enough can transform into a dog, or a large panther. Perhaps more! And rounding out the party is Dalaan, who we first mistook as a wizard, but it turns out that the man can curse up a storm when necessary! A warlock then.

We proceed to the warehouse, and meet a frantic guy out front. It seems his friend went inside, and has not been heard from since. We proceed in and see a large open space, many crates, and a wounded man in the middle. No rats in sight. We get close to help the wounded person, and things go bad, and fast.

Crates are tumbling, the wounded man vanishes in the confusion, and rats come to attack us. Eight giant rats, two rat swarms, and two dire rats. Also, I must note that our party reacted well, and only one of us was knocked prone by the tumbling crates, and nobody was injured.

We accord ourselves well. I use my sweeping attacks to reduce the minions, while drawing the attention of both dire rats, trying to keep them away from others, as you taught me. Glespo (or Sparky as he doesn’t mind being called when transformed into a dog) encircles rats and swarms in circles of fire, Dalaan curses and uses other magical powers, Asalie strikes from hiding and does great damage, Rolan’s bow is busy. The rats swarms are troublesome to hit, and swarm over a few of us, damaging with many bites. We eventually wipe them all out, but due to engagements with the dire rats, Selzer and myself are not feeling well at all. Likely a disease which will need attention.

After the battle we take a short rest, and Grae examines the room, which she notes has been clearly setup as a trap. Also you will be pleased that your arcane training has not been lost on me, as myself and others in the group clearly see the magical residue left by the “wounded” man in the center of the warehouse.

It also becomes clear to others in the group that the drain in the back of the warehouse was used as a lookout, so we decide to follow. A few of our group are able to conceal themselves adeptly in shadows, certainly a useful skill. After a short trip the storm drain opens into a large vault with many people in it.

Our scouts report that there is clearly a leader with a halberd, three other reasonable fighters, two archers, and five rabble. One of which was the man outside the warehouse. Overheard talk indicates that they are expecting a “shipment” related to something called the “black hand” and the rat trap was intended to make sure nobody interfered.

They send the rat trap man back to check on us (he is sure that we are dead, more the fool him), and we trap him. Our trap wasn’t executed well, but he was quite surprised, and Dalaan does something to him which makes his eyes and ears bleed. He drops.

Although this could prove highly dangerous, we decide to engage these men. We concoct a subderfuge, with Dalaan wearing the cloak of the rat man, but these men are more disciplined that we expect (they have set a password!) and the ruse fails. Battle begins!

We have a reasonable plan, and our ranged members focus on the archers (who appear skilled), while I charge down the central causeway attempting to block progress.

The battle is tight, but we prevail. I must admit to you that I spent much of it on my back, continually either bull rushed or knocked prone by the leader’s halberd. I know you will not take my plea as excuse that at least I wasn’t knocked off the causeway and down 20 feet! The leader was not so lucky, as his face appears to have begun to boil, and Seltzer psychically knocks him into the pit, where a few carefully placed bolts make an end of him.

Grae’s devices are interesting in the battle, both for damage and healing. Once again the ring of fire proves useful (although at the time I was laying in it, which was not optimal), and ranged attacks were critical in removing the archers. Rolan can indeed fire rapidly! I will have to pick up something here myself for such situations, as I did not bring anything from Dragon’s Rest.

Asalie also reminded me that laying down was not the most advantageous position in the battle; I will endeavour to do better.

In any event, the battle was tight, but we prevail, and nobody had permanent injuries. Also Seltzer can sing a curious song which helped us feel better rapidly.

We return and report back. Our guild handler, Twelven Mithral Deepfork, wasn’t very happy with our initiative in progressing into the storm drains (“Rats! I said Rats! Not unknown encounters with dangerous smugglers in storm drains!”). He is also puzzled by this turn of events. Who or what is the “black hand?” Who took out the contract on the rats in the warehouse? Doesn’t seem likely that it was the people we encountered, they seemed to want to discourage entry into the warehouse. Perhaps the owner of the warehouse was unaware? And what was the shipment? Many questions.

Well, I must get some rest, I took time (of which Asalie’s help was most appreciated) to tend to my armor and weapon. Also you will be glad to know that although Seltzer and I were indeed infected with some rat disease, the guild has services to counteract such things, and the service when on contract is free.

Tomorrow we will be onto a new contract, so I must rest. I will write to you as time permits, and let you know how your aspiring young hero is doing.

Always your student, Quiz.

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Recap of the 12/11/08 game

(Historian’s note: This starts at the first page of Grealeanna’s log that survived. Fortunately the events preceding this log were saved via a report that the great hero Quiz had sent to her Headmaster, Bastion)

Artificer’s log, Allandaria date 5th day of 2nd month Renewal, 11,744th year of All. (Continued from previous page.)

After talking with Twelvin, we met at the barracks to discuss our plans. At that time I had the most embarrassing moment! I had picked up a plaque thinking it would be useful for my work, but I had forgotten to show this potential “loot” to my team mates. We all took a look at it, but none of us know what it is. After much debate, we decided to keep the inlaid plaque and protect it from detection.

After reaching that decision the team split up. Quiz decides to stay at the guild and clean up her gear. Several others (Glepso, Rolan & Seltzer) go to the famous hero tavern and discover the barkeep has an amazing right arm – it is metallic with many gears and crystals! This is something I must see in person. I hear that there was a brief discussion of quality wines and much observation of the patrons there. In addition to heroes, many members of the nobility are there as well.

I went to the Artificer district. For a while I just wandered through the district. And then I started seeing small stores with artificer’s materials. Then I entered Eureka Place – a large square dominated by an immense building. The building had huge bronze doors flung open. On the inside of the doors many gears could be seen, and it lead into a lobby that turned into a huge entry hall.

From there my experiences were various and wonderful. But to summarize I was able to find a library with information that was new to me, so I settled down to read for the rest of the evening.

Dalaan opted to go to the knowledge district. He finds tree-lined roads and more townhouses. Dalaan looked for a temple of Dalnanor, knowing that it will contain plenty of books to review. He finds one and enters, with the intent to research the plaque that the team found. It turns out he found the largest, oldest library in the world! As he’s guided through the temple he sees all sorts of people from different walks of life, children, merchants, etc. Eventually he finds Brother Peter – an expert on heraldry. Peter recommends talking to an Artificer and initially he doesn’t recognize the pattern. Peter leaves and returns with 4-5 book, and he finds a book with a similar symbol. The bow is very similar, so he decides it is probably 5-7 thousand years old. Maybe it is the heraldry of noble family of Skyreach. But he definitely thinks it was made by Artificers.

Then an odd thing happened, when I asked to study the plaque Dalaan was resistant saying that he had already studied this thing and that it wasn’t that important.

Artificer’s log, Allandaria date 6th day of 2nd month Renewal, 11,744th year of All.

Goblins and Halflings and sewers – oh my!

The team met with Twelvin the next morning. He researched yesterday’s contract and it was from a “Hadren Cooper”. At the time there was no reason to suspect it was odd. They had also contacted the Merchant’s union to let them know about the trap and the smuggling. In response, the head of their anti-piracy division wants to talk to us. His name is Ustis Silvanna. He’s an important man, we shouldn’t keep him waiting. And our appointment is at 11:00 in his office at the Merchant’s Union. He may just want an interview, but he may have a contract too. Twelvin warns us that taking outside contracts are dangerous, and we should be careful if we do.

At that point Quiz asks about contracts – are they paid by wealthy folks only? How do poor people handle issues where they need heroes? Twelvin’s initial response was that the town guard is well trained, have magic, etc. But Merchants don’t like working with guard as much, there are lots of forms, etc. So they prefer to work with the Heroes Guild. And the Heroes Guild will sponsor contracts for poor folks if needed. For example, we shouldn’t forget that we’ll all have a 3-6 month tour with guard patrolling roads, etc.

After a short break, the team decides to head over to the Merchant’s union. A lot of the team takes a public auto-coach. This was a most wondrous of devices. I could only grasp the very basics of how it might work. Otherwise it was sophisticated beyond anything I could dream of – yet they were scattered about the streets for anyone to use! The rest of the party decided to walk.

We find that the grand market is the immense open space around the Merchant’s Union. It’s packed to the gills with people, stalls, etc. Everywhere we look there’s chaos. Even the auto-coach drops us off on the fringe, not willing to take on the crowds. The Merchant’s Union is by far the largest building we’ve ever seen anywhere. It’s an immense dome structure that is ringed by 10 towers, with a large tower at the center of dome.

Looking inside it appears to be almost as chaotic as outside, just different. The interior is one vast open space, and we can’t really see the end. All we see are carts filled with different grains. There are auctions going on all around us. We each see at least 1 thing we’re veeeery interested in. And there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason to the stalls. As we near one of the towers, the merchants there are more closely aligned with that Tower. For example, as we approach the door we see a symbol for food shop. The stalls around this area are selling all manners of foods. Cheese, meats, etc.

The receptionist welcomes us. Matt asks for Ustis, and she directs us to the main tower. She directs us to crazy thing called “elevator”. Turns out it’s a box similar to auto-coach. Eric says “Main Tower” and it takes off.

There’s another receptionist in main tower. She directs us to elevator there.

When we arrive floor 13 (anti-piracy) is busy. Receptionist welcomes us and knows we were coming, but we have to wait a bit. We’re also greeted by Carola – Ustis’ assistant. She ushers us in to Ustis’ office, offering refreshment. It’s a large beautiful office with great view. Just before 11:00 a middle aged gentleman with graying hair comes in. He introduces himself as Ustis Silvanna. He brings up the Black Hand and asks for more information about them. We tell him about Hadren Cooper. They don’t know a Hadren Cooper, yesterday’s contract doesn’t appear to have actually come from Merchant’s Union- he doesn’t know why we were sent to that warehouse.

Ustis says that smugglers are always an issue. A certain amount is permitted, but these folks aren’t on the “list” as it were. He’d like us to eliminate them. They are prepared to offer a generous contract to eliminate the Black Hand and he has some info to give us that would help. For this kind of contract he’s willing to pay on the order of 500g total. And we get all of their stuff personal effects while the Merchant’s Union gets the trade goods. If the mission turns out to be much more difficult, we can renegotiate if we need to.

Once we sign, Ustis’ shares his info – they people we’re targeting appear to be a small group. Based on his information it seems like they smuggle a variety of goods, including rare commodities and valuable artifacts. Merchant Princes from other lands aren’t keen on the Union, and will pay more for things without the union stamp just out of spite. The goods are being transited through the harbor here. And they have at least one base here. There is one lead – there’s a person to follow up with. Speak with Joss, he’s the barkeep at the executioner’s pint.

With this information in hand, the team heads to the central district to seek out Joss. We find the Executioner’s Pint and enter. We see a large Teifling (with a large gut) standing behind the bar. Seltzer approaches and identifies him as Joss and buys cheap wine. We mention Ustis and Joss mentions the Black Hand. Seltzer offers a gold and is spurned, so he turns on his Bardic charm. It works handily, and Joss tells us about a townhouse a few blocks down. No one goes in the front door and the people who go in the back don’t come out. But he’s seen the same people go in the back several times.

Team decides to go to the house. It’s a regular old townhouse in a nice area. Back door was probably for servants. Alley is well kept. Glepso notices that on the doorjamb (rear) towards the lower end there appears to be a black handprint that looks like a smudge if you don’t pay attention. The door is sturdy, the windows are barred and appear to be shuttered on the inside.

We can actually see inside the front of the house, it looks like a normal house with a well kept parlor.

Then we discuss tactics a long time. Then the 5:00 chimes sound and there’s a lot of activity. In particular five Halflings scurry into the back alley. They knock 4 times in a distinct pattern and are let in. More debate ensues. Do we charge? Or look for more information? Information wins out.

Most of the team retires to Joss’. Rolan stakes out the house. Seltzer & Dalaan go to library to find sewer maps and discover it isn’t an easy task. There have been revisions upon revisions and they’ll have to reconstruct them. The 1000 year storm drains don’t appear to run under the house. But there was some rerouting of the drains built at different times. They wrap up the research and head to the tavern, collecting Rolan on the way.

The team decides to look for an entrance to the drains near the house and try to find a back way into the house. Some sewer entrances we have to avoid due to passing pedestrians. However, there’s one entrance in an alley. If we wait most people will be shut in and it’ll be a good option.

After a fine meal, we enter the tunnels. Glespo changes into an “alligator”, since they go with sewers “like apples and brandy”.

Rolan guides the group through the tunnels, while Glespo keeps an eye out for oddities. But after a few minutes, the team is startled – there’s a wall where there shouldn’t be. So we strike out in a different direction and end up off the map. So we find our way back and feel closer to the house but not there yet. Glespo notices a grate that might go back the right way. Having exhausted our other options, the team drops down and continues until Rolan is confident that we’re under the houses. About where our house would be, there’s a set of double doors- probably going to a sub basement. Glespo searching carefully notices a black hand on the door… The door is locked, and there are tracks heading the other way.

The team discusses options then decides to go for it. Grae picks the lock, and the team opens the doors and sees a bunch of crates and Halflings. They scurry away quickly.

We see a two story high warehouse that is well lit. On one wall there are stairs up the side that lead to a landing.

As we enter the room, we see that the Halflings are gone but there are Goblin cutters and warriors scattered around the room – battle ensues!

Sparky bites a nearby Goblin Warrior and shifts back to safety. Quiz dashes in and smites a Warrior & Cutter, but the Cutter shifts when Quiz misses him. Quiz also sees many more Goblins in the room. They immediately close on the party. As a cutter approaches him, Rolan strikes it down nimbly.

The other goblins swarm Quiz & Rolan, but they miss.

Then the team opens fire – Seltzer fires at a cutter and drops it. Dalaan enters the room and curses and smites another cutter, killing it.

At that point the Goblin Warriors step into the fray, closing on the party. One of them attacks Quiz with his blade, barely missing due to the crate.

Rolan steps in, marks a foe and fires his bow, killing one cutter. Angered, the cutters close again, two of them attacking Quiz. Both take advantage of their combat advantage to stab viciously at Quiz.

Having charged up his defensive shield, Dalaan curses a cutter and blows up another with his shield.

Intimidated, the warriors scatter, and two of them try to throw javelins at Dalaan and a third throws at Seltzer. Grae finally gets off a clean shot, striking a warrior with her crossbow bolt.

Suddenly the Druid steps in and throws an icy wind at two warriors, killing one and wounding the other. Inspired, Quiz strikes out at a cutter near her, striking it down. A bolt of lightning flies off the dead goblin and strikes another goblin, dropping it too. She then moves to engage a nearby warrior.

Rolan moves to get a clear shot, and fires on a warrior with twin strike, hitting it soundly.

The remaining cutter charges Selzter and hits him. Seltzer responds, insulting the Goblin making his head explode, while Dalaan curses a remaining warrior and blasts it.

The goblin warriors throw javelins at Quiz, but miss.

I strike again, bloodying a warrior. Quickly the druid steps up and gets range on a warrior, firing a flame ring on him. The flames surround the warrior and trap it!

Roland moves for position, and fires at a warrior hitting him once, bloodying him while Dalaan moves towards the other warrior, blasting him and dropping him.

The remaining warrior attacks Quiz, but misses. Enraged, the druid runs up at claws at the remaining warrior, killing him.

After the battle, Seltzer & Dalaan approach the Halflings, and Rolan watches the hall while the others scour the warehouse.

The Halfling says it’s just a contract, he didn’t know anything bad was going on. With persuasion we find out that if something bad happened they were told that they should “follow the black hands and solve the riddle”. We also found out that Halflings just load the crates, they don’t wheel them away. They met the person hiring at the Executioner’s Pint, got a few gold for the job. The Halfling also notes that this house is connected to the house next door.

The team finds that the crates are filled with trade goods of all sorts.

Grae locks the downstairs door to prep to raid the house next door. The team investigates, but find nothing at all in the other house. So we release the Halflings, and go search for black hands.

The black hands follow the cart tracks for a while, but after a while they split and go their own way. We choose to follow the hands and eventually find a metal ladder at the base of a manhole cover with this riddle:

Why do farmers love nunnerys?

Drawing on her knowledge of history, Grae realizes that the answer is: “Because of all the virgin territory.” As soon as he hears “Virgin Territory”, Seltzer remembers that there is such an inn/pub in the city.

Now we have to decide what to do next. Tell the Merchant’s Union about the goods? Track the cart tracks? Go to the pub “Virgin Territory”?

(Historian: Unfortunately much of Graeleanna’s journal is destroyed after this point, hopefully we can find another source to tell us what the heroes did next.)

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Recap of the 1/15/09 game

She cringed when she saw the two missing fingers. While blood and violence were no stranger to her, she never liked seeing others in pain. Though uncomfortable, she continued to listen as the man spilled his guts on the Black Hand. While she would never condone torture or the mutilation of prisoners, she couldn’t deny it got results…

The dwarf was his usual, ungrateful self. “He sure is bossy.” She thought to herself as he continued to bark orders. As they left, Asalie noticed them take the prisoner to the basement. “I wonder if the Heroes Guild has secret prisons like my old thief clan. I wonder if people disappear here too.”

The group set out for the docks, the place where the Black Hand’s smuggling ship was supposed to be. Asalie was sent to gather intel on the ship and the Black Hand while the rest of the group went to scout out the territory. An hour of questioning sailors revealed some interesting information on their quarry. It appeared the ship was rarely in port, and when it was, it had a whole pier to itself.

An hour in the local tavern revealed how gullible certain companions were. It also inspired the local bards to write a new song…something having to do with two silver. In addition, some drunken workers revealed that the ship was heavily guarded and that it would be leaving soon. The adventurers knew they had to act quick. A runner was sent to inform the dwarf and the group prepared for the worst.

Orders came in, Asalie wasn’t crazy about the plan but time was short and her contract reward was slipping away. It was a fairly standard bash n grab but staged from the law’s side. Several trucks carried her, her friends, and half the Hero guild soldiers towards the boat. The only thing that stood between them and their prize was the warehouse full of guards. Though if all went according to plan, the armored muscle would take the brunt of the attack while her companions and her slipped past onto the boat. The trucks approached the warehouse door, there was no turning back now.

Smash went the gate and the battle was on. Guild soldiers hit hard and broke a hole through to the ship. They were quick to board, but no backup came after them, then the ship left dock stranding the group on board.

Halflings and gnomes met them there. Damn those little guys can fight better than they let on… It wasn’t pretty, but the group managed to fight them back and break through to the lower deck where the boss was hiding. Asalie did her best and found out she was much better at killing than she thought. Several stabs later the baddies were down and the group was being signaled by the coast guard to dock the boat.

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Recap of the 1/22/09 game

Artificer’s log, Allandaria date 13th day of 2nd month of season of renewal, continued from previous page.

The team takes a deep breath. They’ve defeated the gnomes, but there is the sound of shouting on deck and the harbor patrol sounds itchy to try out their spiffy new cannons. Half the team stays below to conduct a quick search, looking for clues (and possibly loot). The other half goes on deck to subdue the Halflings and to negotiate with the Harbor Patrol.

Those worthies pull up next to us and tie up to our boat. As they start towing us to their impound lot a brief but impressive argument ensues as to the ownership of the boat. Unfortunately the wily heroes are outgunned and they impound our boat. We find out that the harbor master and our guild master will have to discuss ownership of the boat.

So the party clears off the boat. It’s 1:00 AM, so we can’t go to the merchant’s guild to turn in our quest. So we head back to the pier. There was a line of gawkers, but they are now streaming back into the bars. Hoping to find Twelvin, the team heads into the warehouse. The town guard is there cleaning up and hauling away prisoners. Most of the guild heroes are gone, but some have stayed around to help with the cleanup.

When Twelvin sees us he hails us happily, pleased that we survived. There was a brief discussion of the boat’s ownership, and Twelvin crushes our hopes, letting us know that it’ll probably go to the city to reimburse them for getting the harbor patrol out at 1:00 AM.

Then we discuss the Black Hand, and that after a mighty battle we killed him. We also tell Twelvin the disturbing news that somehow he thought the org would survive. Twelvin’s not surprised that a Gnome had a backup plan. According to him, Gnomes don’t mind payback from beyond the grave. After a quick wrap up the team heads back to the guild and sleeps.

Asalie points out one final anomaly – there were a lot of Gnomes, but we hadn’t heard a peep about ‘em. The team decides to discuss further later.

Some of the team goes out to party – in particular Rolan samples a new type of beverage and gets carried home…

Artificer’s log, Allandaria date 14th day of 2nd month of season of renewal, continued from previous page.

After breakfast we first go to collect our reward. Ustis was waiting for us. When we talk to him, he’s really pleased that the Black Hand is dead, but is equally concerned about the lieutenant we found out about. As it turns out, Ustis might actually have information about this lieutenant. Further, he doesn’t think we’re done since the lieutenant is still out there. The bard tries to negotiate for more to deal with the lieutenant – but it’s dicey. But through his and Asalie’s awesome negotiation we manage to get a significant amount more (250 more and 25 gold for provisions).

Ustis tells us that the lieutenant is a Tiefling named Brelnon, a member of enforcer’s division. He disappeared yesterday when the attack on the Black Hand began. Ustus gives us location information and promises us a coach to get there – if we leave in an hour. The team agrees.

Asalie, Rolan & Dalaan decide to go visit the artificer Almet. He has news – Brighton Kelmon made the box and he has narrowed the magic box down to one of two particular boxes. It is possible (and more likely) that that this is the “Box of Drawing”. It seems to draw people together from disparate backgrounds to defeat a great evil. But it could be the “Box of the Forest Heart, made for the king of the Silver elves. That worthy box seeks out those who can offer a great service to the elves. The hard part is that the bow and arrow is on both boxes. The sides on the Box of Drawing is based on disciplines (warrior, archer, etc), while the sides of Forest Heart is based on elven things (bows, lutes, etc).

The team also finds out that sometimes the patterns look like maps, or sometimes owners get visions that lead to other pieces. They do apparently call to each other. It is also rumored that they even shape the events around them. They only seek those they need, parties. Almet mentions the tale of Martin’s folly – a great hero who became obsessed with boxes and that he had to find a box. He wasted away the rest of his life in pursuit of box pieces.

Almut’s final note is that the Box of Drawing might be behind heroes of Brayland.

After that, the party meets the carriage that is hired to take them Brelnon. It is drawn by horses and the driver is brightly dressed. He informs us that he’s taking us to an estate way out of town. It’s near Miller’s Crossing, close to the swamp and river delta.

Partway there, the team discovers a tree down. When they get out to clear away the tree, tragedy strikes! A javelin flies out and impales the driver. Putting aside the thoughts of owning a carriage, the team charges into combat with a group of goblins led by a hexer.

A brief but intense battle ensues, with everyone in the party contributing to the downfall of the motley goblins and their filthy leader.

Checking for information, they find a note on the Hexer saying “I’m sending them straight for you, you can’t miss the carriage”, signed by the “New Hand”. Clearly we’ve been set up! But by who? Ustis? Someone in his employ?

With these questions unanswered the party rests, then clears the tree so the journey can continue with Glespo driving the hesitant horses.

The party arrives safely at Miller’s Crossing. They hop into the bar and ask about the estate “The Grapevine”. The barkeep tells us about the house – the owner is Jeremiah Brown, but it is usually empty and maintained by a local caretaker. A discussion of the driverless cart ensues, with much panic.

Once the locals are calmed down, the caretaker takes us to the house. He lets us in to look around, and we see that the house is empty and dusty. No sign of sneakiness, Teifling or other naughtiness.

So we pile back into the carriage and discuss our route back into town. We’d decided to leave the cart outside of town and sneak in and talk to Twelvin. But we didn’t reach agreement and once we got close to town the discussion continued. There was a brief mantra of “The carriage is irrelevant”.

Except then we got to the stable…and suddenly it’s relevant again. Sigh. They want to know why we have a teamster’s cart. The only solution is to take the cart back to the teamster’s union. We let them know that the driver was killed by Goblins, and that the Goblins were hired by someone. Glespo gets a token for a carriage and we head to the hero’s guild.

Once there, we show the note to Twelvin and discuss strategy. We decide to head to merchant’s guild, find Ustis and claim our reward for “killing” the lieutenant – to see his reaction.

We enter. The Guild is quiet…too quiet. Carola is at her desk and crying. She sees us and gasps. First Brelnon was found dead then Ustis said we were dead. And that Ustis decided to go to his country estate in Brewerton: “Dawn Breaks”. He left this morning, 4-5 hours after we did. Asalie “checks” his office, but it looks like he cleaned things out. It doesn’t look like he planned to come back.

Much discussion ensues. We go to Twelvin and relay our plan to go to “Dawn Breaks” and confront Ustis. When we go to get a carriage, they send along a crossbow man to help discourage further ambushes…

(Historian: Unfortunately much of Graeleanna’s journal is destroyed after this point, hopefully we can find another source to tell us what the heroes did next.)

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Recap of the 1/29/09 game

15th day of the second month of the season of renewal

Headmaster Bastion, Chosen of Azureen:

I do hope that things are well with you and your students; I assume that my mail has been reaching you without error, and you have been interested in hearing about the adventures of myself and my friends. Yes, I can hear you interrupt me, perhaps antics is a better word, indeed. Just thinking of that brings a smile to my face.

I must bring word that we have been betrayed by Ustis of the merchants guild here, it appears we have been involved in machinations of his and his illegal workings. He has fled the city for a smaller burg a few hours travel from here, Brewerton. We go to confront him.

Our makeup is slightly different, Twelvin needs Dalaan and Seltzer for some reason or another. We are joined by Artos, whom we met on our first day in the guild. His journey has been exciting as well, escorting a noble’s son turned into quite an adventure, assassins and kidnappings, midnight escapes, daring rescues, etc. etc.; The few hours ride to Brewerton passed quickly.

Brewerton, as you might have guessed, is quite famous in these parts for its beer. We stop at a large inn, The Full Pint. I must admit that some in our party do enjoy their cups. I continually have to remind them that there is a time for crazy wanton drinking, and then there is a time to sample the local flavors, but keeping one’s head ready for our mission. Sigh.

I, for one, am looking forward to confronting this Ustis, completing this mission, and then perhaps spending some time in revelry. Perhaps.

Asalie wanders town a bit, gathering information. It seems that this estate, Dawn Breaks, is pretty far outside of town. We travel for an hour or so, and as we crest a small hill we see the estate. It is very fortress like, high walls, covered with masses of brambles and vines. As we approach we see long sharp spines amidst the greenery. Climbing this would prove tricky.

Fortunately there is an open gate, which leads to a walkway to a closed door with a knocker. Considering that it is (remotely!) possible that Ustis has not betrayed us, and that there may be innocents living in this estate, we knock.

Alas, this is a trap. There is a blinding flash, and our surroundings have changed. We are now in a maze. There are four directions we may go, none of them being the directions we might desire, forward, or back out.

So we take the closest and wander. We reach a dead end which has a pit in our way, and rings which appear to be pulled. Glespo also clearly sees that on the other side of the pit the ground has been rigged to trigger, well, something. Probably bad. Artos tried to leap over, doesn’t fall into the pit, but does trigger the trap. A wall slams behind us, and begins moving towards us, with the intention of pushing us into the pits, or crushing us into the end of the dead.

Yes, yes I said pits, this trap is many layered, we opened another pit via additional pressure plates. Fortunately we have ropes, we make our way to the end, falling into the pits sometimes, and climbing out the other side. Pulling the rings resets the trap (closing the pits, thankfully none of us was inside at the time).

We retrieve a glowing bit, one quarter of the symbol which was on the door. Clearly we need to navigate each corridor of the maze, getting four parts, so that we may continue. If Ustis thinks that this will deter us, or prevent us from reaching him, he is sorely mistaken.

So we proceed, one section we need to recover keys to open a gate, battling spiretop drakes. For future instruction purposes, they bite quite hard. Another section involves five plates which we must stand on to drop a shield, but which also releases rat swarms. These we are familiar with, tough to fight, but we prevail. Next comes more artificing with rings to shoot and swinging blades; Seems more at home in the summer carnival, except without the sharp and deadly part. I am witness to some very talented precision shooting – completion requires hitting multiple target simultaneously. Damn this mazery!!

We do retrieve the parts required to open the door, and we proceed. Thoughts of calm discussion with Ustis have faded, and now we want to confront him and make him pay. Past the traps, we reach the estate proper, and above us on a balcony is Ustis himself. He baits and belittles us, and claims to be glad to see us so he can tie up this lose end. Rolan takes a shot at him, but he is protected, of course.

The gates to the estate open and we are confronted by a young Green Dragon!! We …

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The Dragon

The Doors opened and out scrabbled a dragon, the group looked at the dragon and thought of their impending doom. Then shook themselves, and prepared for the attack. “Spread Out!” someone yells. Glespo and Rolen move right, while Seltzer, Grae, and Dalaan move left. Artos and Quiz charges in. While the attacks were going home, occasionally the dragon would look at someone and they would appear dazed or confused and would actually close on the dragon. Glespo was casting Fairy Fire on the dragon, making it easier to attack and slowing the dragon, while Artos and Quiz were keeping it contained. At one point Artos actually pinned it to the ground in place. Quiz dodged the dragon’s tail several times but failed once and that’s all it took, the dragon immediately turned and chomped laying her low. Grae moved around the dragon as best she could to try to get Quiz up and it worked. Quiz was up and moving again. Glespo and Rolen rained down arrows and fire from a distance. Working together the group was able to bring the dragon down.

After taking a short rest, the group moves into the estate house only to find Ustis upstairs quickly trying to gather papers and items for his escape. Ustis was apprehended instead of outright killed due to a warrant for his arrest brought by Seltzer and Dalaan when they had rejoined the group just before the dragon fight. Apparently the reason they stayed behind in Gao was to give a deposition for the warrant as witnesses. A red skull mask was found among Ustis belongings and went to Dalaan with some protest from Artos, but was quickly sorted out.

After loading Ustis up in cart, the group headed back to town. Rolen calls for a celebratory drink at the inn, and is quite vocal against those that wanted to just head back to Gao. “You swore that after we defeated Ustis, we would come back and get a drink here!” Glespo and Rolen ended up buying a cask of ‘Deep Oak’ for the road trip home.

Ustis was ‘dropped off’ at Gao, and the group split up to celebrate and checkin with the heroes guild.

After a long night of drinking, the ‘Heroes’ gather in the morning. Rolen not remembering much learns that not only has the ‘tale of two silver’ become a popular drinking song but that it’s grown in length to include something about ‘two silver’ attacking an Orc Statue. Rolen assumes that he won the encounter while everyone points out his clothes and state that he lost. Rolen is skeptical.

Twelvin briefs the Heroes on a new mission. At a town called Arroyo, a back water of Namal (Protectorate). Local townsfolk’s are being kidnapped for unknown purposes. No ransoms or demands are being made. The group does a little research but find that there isn’t really much information to be found. So they head out and hope to gather more info as they get closer to their destination.

At inns and taverns along the way and finally at Fair Weather (last stop before Arroyo) a little more info is found. Namal is bordered to a country called Tyraga, which is ruled by a Wizard King. The latest king is apparently tyrannical and there is the possibility of war with Namal. Rumors of undead armies and other ghastly things abound.

After arriving in Arroyo, they meet with the town elder called Tyriel and his grandson Edward. Edward appears to be displeased with the appearance of the heroes in town. Arroyo is build in a crevase that is part of a mound that sits under the old city of Terenondemall. It was the site of a great magic battle in the past and lays in ruins now. It is inhabited by goblins and kobolds. Apparently there are 2 treasure hunting groups looking for some lost artifact within the ruins and one of the groups is responsible for the local kidnappings (seven members to date). The group decides to trek thru the ruins and head for the 2nd group of hunters and possibly enlist their aid in retrieving the locals. The locals speak of the dangers in the ruins and to not be caught out at night due to the lurking horrors.

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Recap of the 2/19/09 game

29th day of the second month of the season of renewal

Headmaster Bastion, Chosen of Azureen:

I write to you quietly from our second camp of the night, in a lightly forested area outside of an ancient ruined city. But, I get ahead of myself.

We have travelled away from Gao to aid a small town, Arroyo, which has had some few townsfolk captured by treasure hunters. Basically, Arroyo is fortified and built up into the basements of the ancient city. It is all very interesting, from a historical perspective. The ruins of the ancient city are dangerous, especially at night. And we have the added trouble of two groups of treasure hunters, one of which has captured locals to help them in their excavations.

An ancient ruin is very exciting! Although I must temper myself, as our mission is the rescue of these unfortunate locals, not the discovery of ancient artifacts or powerful magical weapons.

We wake early, have a large breakfast, including some questionable bacon, and we head out. Edward helps us get topside, this involves a meandering path through ruined basements of the old city, and other passages. The exit from Arroyo into the ruins is guarded by draw bridge, When we return we ring a bell and either George or Joseph will let us back in.

The ruin is barely recognizable as a ruin, it is so old. It looks more like a rough wild overgrown land with occasional remains of walls, or a bit of road, or shells of a building. Nothing is left standing. It would indeed take an excavation to realize that it was once a city. Very slow going. And not much wildlife. The elves in the party are also very uncomfortable, uneasy. It may be the bacon, but is more likely that something is wrong here. Perhaps fey wild intrusions.

As we travel it is clear that we are being tracked. We find a defensible location, more or less. We are being tracked by a pack of grey wolves, Glespo sees one cross our path, and he fires. We all engage. Of importance to note for instructional purposes, they attack using effective pack tactics, and when they have the advantage their attacks can knock you prone. Yes once again, I have my face in the dirt during a fight. We are somewhat spread out, and our archer Rolan is continually fighting two on his own. He fights valiantly, but is eventually knocked out. Amazingly, he manages to regain consciousness on his own! I have never seen this before, but he rejoins the fight, much to our rejoice.

Glespo is quite fast in this rough terrain, which is to our advantage. Well, Asalie wasn’t as excited, but she did still manage some nice stabbing. Seltzer, our bard, had to pull out his longsword and fight! After a nice battle we prevail.

We find some newer ruins, but they are entirely creepy, and we are unable to approach. Then they vanish, and we see normal ruins again. Chaos magic, and the fey wild, we assume. Dangerous.

We find the first treasure hunter camp. A cleared area with the undergrowth removed, a large trench, spikes, etc. A rough bridge and a temporary compound. Human guards, some with staves. A path leads away from camp to the northwest, leaves the ruins, and leads to the plains where we see the smoke from a larger camp. This group of treasure hunters does not night in the ruins, we assume.

Before night falls, we examine the other camp. It is also in a clearing, but isn’t as extensively cleared. They have also built a stockade, and we do not discern a path away from their camp. With the more heavy fortifications and clear guards, we assume they these treasure hunters night in the ruins.

Two hours before nightfall the first camp breaks, and heads out of the dig site, back towards their main camp. The humans lead a group of townsfolk and kobolds. They don’t appear to be coerced, however they are all wearing brass collars, which our group recognizes as compulsion collars. Vile magic. There are two wizards with control cuffs, five humans guards, seven townsfolk, and ten kobolds.

We camp for the night, and consider how best to ambush the group in the morning as they return to their dig site.

During the night we are attacked by shadow hunter bats, and this battle was extremely bad. In the dark these bats can do a huge amount of damage. They nearly claw off Seltzer’s face! We have to blow a sunrod to eliminate the advantage, but still the fight is very very rough. The bats are extremely mobile, and we take a large amount of damage. We do prevail, but who would have thought bats would do this much damage to us.

We also hope that we were far enough away from the treasure hunters camp to avoid being noticed, we did camp a few miles from them. For safety though we do move camp, and then attempt to get some rest, and hopefully prepare the rescue the hostages tomorrow morning.

I hope that when I next report I will be able to tell you that we have rescued the unfortunates and returned them to their homes safely.

As always, your student, Quiz

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Recap of the 2/26/09 game

Exert from the Journal of Asalie:

Sleep didn’t come easy after the attack, what the hell were those things anyway? I usually don’t mind bats, but those things were way too big and way too feral to be normal bats. I’ve never seen anything feed off the shadows the way they did…it was a bit unsettling. (Maybe a little fascinating)

I don’t like this place, though I’d never admit it to the elves. It’s not some sort of magical distaste or mystical feeling…I just don’t like the quiet. When I look at this place I see a dead city, and something about that deeply disturbs me. I suppose I have a certain expectation of what a city should look like and that expectation, that normality, is disturbed by this place. Will all cities one day share this fate? Will my home city one day look like this?

It has been decided, we are going to attack the slaver group. Though I’m not sure about our tactic of trying to lure them away from the camp will be a good one. I’d prefer to engage them in the surrounding forest where we can attack from close range and where we will have plenty of cover to attack from and fall back to should the need arise. Regardless, it’s not my call…I just have to do the best with the situation.

…………….

As expected, our attack did not lure the enemy to our location. In fact, they attempted to make a wall of slaves and set up the bridge so they could retreat to the safety of their mine. Even so, my group continues to impress me with their battle prowess.

The druid was first out and ended up being a bolt magnet. The rest of us turned his misfortune to our advantage and while the enemy reloaded their crossbows the rest of us struck. The ranger assumed the rear position and rained down wooden death upon our foe. As per our usual tactics, the Swordmage and I moved in as a unit and did our best to surround and cut down enemies (I’ve grown quite fond of her). Meanwhile, one of the enemies exploded with disease (obviously the work of our warlock). The thing that was strange about it…several kobold slaves also exploded and died a horrid death from the disease. (Just another example of the unpredictable and dangerous nature of magic use.)

Our assault continued and we managed to drop the two wizards before they were able to create a bridge. The druid kept laughing about knocking a wizard into a pit. I didn’t see it, but it supposedly happened behind enemy lines. (Though I think he was just making it up.) We moved in surrounding the enemies, and even with their employers dead and their situation hopeless, they still refused to surrender. (You have to admire their dedication to the job.) Finally, the last one threw down his sword and gave up.

…………

I’m not proud to admit that greed got the better of me. The slave collars were obviously made of precious materials and could probably be sold for a great price as most magical items are. For several moments I entertained the idea of selling them. And for what, so some other poor soul could be enslaved? No, the collars had to be destroyed.

When we returned to the village we were greeted as heroes. I don’t think the people expected us to return, the whole celebration felt like a mixture of surprise and joy. And as much as I hate to admit it, it was nice being the hero. I tried to keep to myself and watch over my drunken companions from secrecy, but people made it a point to seek me out and thank me. It’s nice to feel appreciated, but it does get on your nerves after a while.

The party ended with a speech and some new magical goodies. None for me mind you, but I guess it’s good that the others are getting some better equipment. Assuming we stay as a group, I’ll need the Swordmage to be in tip-top shape.

………….

It seems the town elder knows what the two groups are searching for. (I’m a bit pissed he didn’t tell us this before) It seems there’s some artifact buried under the city. Funny thing is, it’s under this town in some catacomb. And now the kicker…not only do we have to get it, but we have to cause a distraction first then sneak it safely out of the city and travel for several weeks back to our hometown.

Yeah…

Suddenly the whole hero thing doesn’t feel nearly as good.

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The Further Tales of Two Silver - A Bars Tale

The decision had been made, the heroes would go into the catacombs and retrieve the artifact first before attempting to distract the Treasure Hunters.

Before the Heroes activate the portal device, Two Silvers goes and stocks up on provisions, and ale (the listening crowd Cheers and Drinks) and when he returns the heroes step forward to the device while the town elder saying “Good Luck!” steps back to edge of the room.

The Heroes find themselves in a magically lit room with 3 unlit braziers in the center of the room. The room is octagonal (what? That’s means it has 8 sides you dim wit, says someone at the back of the bar) and the walls appear to be solid. Two Silver takes a closer look at the unlit braziers and decides to light one (crowd Cheers and Drinks). One section of the wall magically opens and there appears to be a hall way leading to another octagon shaped room with another device that looks like the one that brought the Heroes to the first room. Before anyone moved into the hallway the brazier was doused and the wall closed back up again. A different brazier is lit and a different section of wall opens to reveal another hallway but this time leading to a huge rectangular (Crash! Means square but longer you idiot, now shut up!) room. The Heroes decide to light the braziers in different order to reveal all the passages before exploring each one.

On the 3rd attempt, the Wall opens and immediately creeping crawling sounds can be heard down the hallway. The Heroes prepare themselves for combat and edge down the hallway to see what dangers lay ahead. Quiz takes lead (“She’s my favorite… OW!” Another patron snarls “I Said Shut UP!”) with Seltzer close by. They reach the end of the hallway and out of the ground appear Giant Spiders. Quiz moves into the room and Seltzer moves up to the edge of the hallway “I can hold em!”. One Spider immediately moves up and Spits some form of acid on the heroes, which immediately drives seltzer to re-think being up front. The heroes engage the spiders and kill a few right off with little trouble. Suddenly about half the spiders tunnel into the ground and disappear. The Heroes attempt to finish off the ones they can see. Quiz finds herself surrounded by the spiders but remains able to stay up and take the beating. The other heroes remain in the hallway and fire from cover at what they can see. Suddenly from the ground at our heroes feet pops up the missing critters and they attack whoever they are near. Two Silver steps back and pumps arrows into the closest ones (crowd Cheers and Drinks) but doesn’t kill em. The Heroes start to whittle down the numbers but take damage themselves as well. One of the larger spiders closes on Two Silver but he gracefully just glides back and puts two arrows right thru the head of the spider killing it! (crowd Cheers and Drinks). Two Silver steps back up to rejoin the heroes and finds that some of them have entered the room to clean up the rest of the spiders. He hears Asalie griping about her constantly being alone to deal with critters, which doesn’t make sense due to all the Heroes, are there with her.

After having cleared out the last of the spiders, the Heroes find that there is a device much like in the other rooms. Upon further inspection it looks like this device is part of a larger mechanism or spells and might be some kind of combination lock. The Heroes decide to go back and try another room. They decide to try to activate two braziers at once and find a new wall opening. In this room are what appear to be 5 smaller and 2 larger statues around the room. Two Silver cautiously moves into the room (crowd cheers and Drinks) and appears to set off a trap (bets are made) because the statues come to life and immediately Charge him. Two Silver avoids them (money exchange hands, crowd Drinks) as Glespo moves in to lay down fire around them. The rest of the Heroes move in except Asalie and Seltzer. During the fight some of the Heroes appear dazed and shout “Where’d they Go?” Others attacking the smaller statues at times seemed to miss wildly and hit their comrades. At one point Two Silver fires and grazes Quiz (crowd looks around unsure if to cheer or not, shrugs, and Drinks). The Heroes focus on the 2 larger statues and take them down quickly, but the smaller statues take a little more time. At one point Glespo shouts out “Where are they? Point them out”, Two Silver shouts back “Which One? Over There” pointing in a general direction to Glespo’s right, exasperating Glespo (crowd Drinks). The Heroes continue to fight until all of the statues have been destroyed. Quiz checks her shirt and sticks a finger thru a hole In it looking at Two Silver saying “Hey That Hurt!”, at which Two Silver responds “Hey, if I had meant to hit you it would have been between the Eyes!” (crowd cheers and Drinks, Someone in the back makes a comment about “Quiz being Awesome” and is immediately smashed against the bar, “I said Shut UP!” starting a overall bar brawl. During the brawl, the bard crawls out the door and almost escapes but is grabbed by the ankles and dragged kicking and screaming back into the bar.. “Your not done yet bard!!” Crowd Cheers… and Drinks)

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The Further Tales of Two Silver – A Bars Tale (Part 2)

The Bard settles back down to continue the tale, with no hope of escaping the crowd at this point and picks up where he left off.

The Heroes after cleaning up the mess in the statue room, move back to the center and decide to just clear each room as they come to them. The brazier is lit and the Heroes move down the hall. The room appears to be empty except for the device on the far side. Looking around the walls seem rather high and it is soon noticed that there appears to be nocks or nests high up on the wall.

As soon as the Heroes step at the end of the hall, flying things come out of the nests. Two Silver immediately recognizes them as drakes (crowd Cheers and Drinks). Quiz moves into the room (a patron nursing a sore head looks about to say something then thinks better of it) a short distance to take on the larger drakes, while Asalie and Ghelespo move up to provide cover. Two Silver takes a shot at the closest target and gets in a few hits (crowd Cheers and Drinks). One of the Drakes does strafing attacks on Asalie while a Swarm of smaller drakes attack Ghelespo. It’s immediately clear that this fight is going to hurt. Asalie taking significant damage ends up running all the way back to the center room and can be heard saying “f this”. Ghelespo also taking a heavy beating pulls back and shouts “Don’t you dare!” Two Silver thinking of his academy training yells out to pull back into the hallway and continues to shoot drakes as target become available (crowd Cheers and Drinks). Quiz and Seltzer slowly pull back into the hallway, and the Drakes are picked off one by one. When it’s finally all said and done the drakes are all killed, and the party limps back into the room nursing theirs wounds, expect Two Silver who appears to not been hit at all (crowd cheers and “Round on the House” rings out).

Seltzer begins to examine the nests and attempts to get up to them to search them. After several failed attempts (something about recovering his sword that fell on him) he turns to Two Silver and asks him to help since he knows more about the creatures. Two Silver looks at him strangely and just pulls out his grapple hook and rope and slings up there to knock the nests(crowd Drinks). There doesn’t appear to be anything of value.

The Heroes head back to the center room to rest up and recover from their wounds. They rest peaceably and have dreams of heroic deeds and feats (crowd Drinks).

The heroes refreshed and ready to go, move on to the next room. Filled with confidence after having been thru the last fight without a scratch, Two Silver moves up to examine the room from the end of the hall. He and Seltzer are immediately stuck in place by webbing that is cast on them from man sized spiders. Quiz rushes out to get in front to blunt the blow against those stuck in place and is quickly surrounded. Asalie, Ghelespo, and Dalaan, staying as far back as they can use ranged weapons and spells to do as much damage as they can to the creatures. Quiz is eventually overwhelmed and falls. Two Silver time after time gets free of the webbing only to get re-webbed. He eventually stops trying and just holds his ground to cover the downed Quiz (a few Cheers and Drinks). However using ranged weapons against opponents standing right on top of you is not the best idea around, and Two Silver pays for it, going down himself (the dwindling crowd is subdued). The fight continues with the others knocking them out one by one thus give an opening for Ghelespo to burst thru and get into the room so that he can hit the creatures that were using the walls for cover. Two Silver seems to get worst while lying there caught in the webbing (the dwindling few patrons that are left are on the edge of their seats/stools). The last of the creatures are defeated and the rest of the party bandages up the wounded and get both Quiz and Two Silver back up (remaining crowd roars and Drinks, not many patrons are left standing at this point, most are either unconscious or stumbled out of the bar at this point). The heroes need rest and once again retire to the central room.

The Bard finishes his tale and looks around the bar. Literally no one is left except for unconscious patrons and the barkeep that is drifting back and forth from the back room cleaning up. The bard talks to the barkeep and takes a cut of the nights profits. Looking around carefully to be sure the barkeep is in the back, he starts to clean out the remaining coins from the sleeping patrons. Walking out of the bar thinking to himself that “Two Silvers” is worth more than it used to be.

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