Chains Unbound

Queen's Gambit story update for 20091102 (Elint 25)
Leaving Loudwater

It has been three days since you slew an avatar of the demon Samil and the hexer Medina in Loudwater. Since then, teenagers and adults eager to join your group have flocked to your headquarters in town. Ender, the always-hungry quartermaster for the group, suggested to Balasar that any new recruits bring the tooth of a blue dragon as their entry fee, so to speak. After Balasar announced this to the gathered crowd, they dispersed.

Last night, at the party held in your honor, the group received an urgent request from the duke of Feyshadow Keep, requesting the entire group’s assistance in fortifying the keep against an unknown force. The duke, Lars Winsor, has promised 100 platinum pieces apiece for each adventurer that answered this request, plus another 100 platinum for the group’s expenses. You may negotiate an advance payment or other terms when you arrive, if you wish. The lower group (level 7 characters, or your lowest level character) went out as the advanced party, as the other group just came back from a job. The group departed from Loudwater on the 25th.

Other events of note: The group has also learned that a minor artifact called the Staff of the World Tree was stolen from the temple of Silvanus by unknown parties. Brother Griffon, the high druid of the temple, has requested that you retrieve it and bring it back to the temple. Althea, the party’s rogue, has cornered one of the members of the Loudwater thieves’ guild named Talen (Heather, remind me about this at the beginning of next session, need to do a vignette). And finally, an acquaintance of Galford’s, the ranger Rimewind, has warned the party about a dark presence within the Southwood. While traveling through the Southwood, your group found the source of this presence, a large stone pillar with glowing purple-black runes carved into it, which pulses with necrotic energy. We will continue the battle at this pillar next week.

Queen's Gambit story update for 20091110 (Elint 25-26)
Necrotic Beacon and Chauntea's Hospital

The battle at the necrotic beacon in the Southwood was long and grueling, due mostly to the healing effect that the beacon had on the undead in the area. Due to the efforts of Tovah and Kerrick (Del and Will), the beacon was deactivated, and the undead that had been wearing the party down were eventually defeated. On the body of the pale reaver lord, Hazarak found a ghostphase robe +2 and a canteen of endless water, which went to Kerrick and Tovah, respectively. The party sent out an animal messenger to let Rimewind and the rest of Loudwater know that they had (once again) saved the town from destruction.

The next day, the group encountered a hospital/hostel dedicated to Chauntea. This hospital, the only place that residents of the nearby villages could receive medical care, had recently seen an influx of patients with stonesickness, a disease that causes the bodies of those afflicted by it to turn into stone. A few of the healers and one of the patients reffered to an odd scaled woman with a pet chicken (which was obviously not a chicken, as it was disguised by bad illusion magics) going around the hospital a couple of days ago and visiting patients. One patient said that she had visited him, and when he asked her if she was worried about catching the disease, she told him not to worry about it. She left the next day. Examination of her room by Tovah and Hazarak determined that although there were faint traces of illusion magic there, the room was otherwise spotless, including a complete lack of scent. The staff of the hospital noted that it was much cleaner after she left it than when she got there.

While out scouting, Hazarak spotted a small wooden fort about 20 miles from the hospital. The inhabitants of the fort could not be made out. This fort lies along the route that you have chosen, so unless you plot a new one, you will eventually pass it.

Queen's Gambit story update for 20091116 (Elint 27-30)
Hobgoblin Fort and the Tower of Haunting Melody

After spending the night at the Hills Hospital (the one dedicated to Chauntea), the party continued their journey southeast, towards Feyshadow Keep. Near the end of the day’s travel, they encountered the fort that Hazarak had scouted out previously. The party was split on what to do; they could attack the fort, leave it alone, or wait. Balasar made the decision to wait, and have Althea scout it out. The fort was occupied by goblins and hobgoblins, lead by a young blue dragon. Deciding to take on the goblinoids the next day, you camped in a magical campsite (Frank) created.

The next day, the party encountered a goblin scouting party from the fort. They demanded a toll, but were cowed by Balasar’s presence. Their blue dragon leader snapped them out of it, and combat ensued. The party fought well, making quick work of the smaller goblins and the hobgoblins leading them. Near the end of the battle, the portal stone fell out of Althea’s bag, and a new redshirt fighter entered the battle (Danielle, I need your character’s name and sheet). Nightblade attempted to finish off the dragon, but as he swung, his sword glowed with an unholy light, warping his teleportation power and recharging the dragon’s breath weapon. Lucky for him, the 30’ drop proved to be no match for his cat-like reflexes, and he took only minimal damage from the fall. In the end, Galford landed the killing blow on the dragon, and the new redshirt finished off the hobgoblin battle chanter.

After the battle, while Althea and Nightblade bickered outside the fort, and Galford cut up the dragon for cooking, (Frank) and Kerrick searched the fort for loot. This amounted to 2800 gp in a chest made of ornately decorated oak, worth another 25 gp, which was sent back to Loudwater through the portal stone. The redshirts went through the gate with the chest and a tooth from the dragon, and Jarvis gave them their bluetooth implants, making them full members of Balasar’s Avengers. This took a day and a half.

The next day of travel was a short one. The navigator, (Frank), took the party briefly away from the plotted course before realizing that it was the wrong way and correcting the group’s course. Along the way, the party came across a group of kobold shit merchants, who were trained by the ones that the Avengers had met at Spellgard. They worshiped Balasar and gave him their names, and told of the devastation that a group of sinuous, sharp clawed creatures had wracked on the Feyshadow forest. It seems that these creatures had eaten most of the edible plants and creatures in the forest, leaving only the frames of trees and skeletons in their wake. They also told of a topless tower further south, from which could be heard a haunting melody. The group told the kobolds of the fort that they had just cleared out, and the kobolds resolved to occupy that fort and make it their home.

When the party finally reached the tower the kobolds had mentioned, they heard the song coming from above it. Most of the party elected to bypass the tower, but Althea and Tovah went up to its doors to explore it. Tovah identified the language that the singer was singing in as Supernal, and noticed that the song was about a life of adventure that spanned multiple lifetimes. Tovah also noticed that her yelling echoed off of something above her while outside the tower, as if there was a ceiling above her. Galford detected magical energies coming from the tower top and surmised that there was probably an illusion hiding the top of this tower. Everyone decided to explore the inside of the tower, especially the large pile of treasure in the middle of the room and the dragon and humanoid skeletons in the back. These skeletons were oddly out of place, and the wounds on the dragon did not look like they were enough to kill it. Then suddenly, the party’s investigation was disrupted by four large, corrsive cubes disolving their way out of the pit trap under the treasure and attacking.

Queen's Gambit story update for 20091123 (Elint 30 to Marpenoth 2)
Slimedrop Surprise and a new quest; Balasar kills a little girl's pet

Near nightfall on the 30th of Elint, at the bottom of the Tower of Haunting Melody, the group fought four corrosive cubes. The cubes oozed over everyone in their path, engulfing party members and dissolving the armor from their bodies. The party’s shaman, Captain Planet (...) spent most of the battle locked inside one of the cubes, even after having been pulled out once by Althea. Hampered, but not out of the fight, he continued to provide healing to the party and damage to the cubes via his spirit.

Some notable highlights of the fight:

  • The party’s druid (Frank, I still don’t have his character sheet… or know his name) also spent most of the fight inside one of the cubes, viciously stinging it and casting spells from within it.
  • Galford was the all-star for this battle, with a multiple attack turn for over 70 damage.
  • Darkblade spent the entire fight in the pit, after “accidentally” falling into it. His contribution was to throw Lady Tron’s hammer back out of the pit after a flubbed swing sent it sailing over the edge of the pit.

After the battle, Hazarak searched the inside of the pit and found 4 emeralds worth 200 gp each, plus 900 gp and an eye of deception, which went to Althea. The remaining loot was split up amongst the active party members (not including Darkblade), 200 gp each and 100 for Althea. 270 xp was awarded for defeating the cubes and the slimedrop pit trap. While searching, Hazarak also found a skeleton with a dagger near it’s hand, and the word “recsu” carved into the wall. After he and Tovah pondered what it meant (and pronounced it wrong several times), Althea finally said the word correctly, causing a ladder to slide out of the ceiling. The group then decided to call it a night, and set up camp in the bottom of the tower.

The druid, feeling adventurous, explored the second floor. He found a shelf with a few manuscripts detailing the lives of legendary bards, sheafs of music, and ritual books. When he attempted to pilfer one of the books, a voice from above admonished him, and invited him to come up to the third floor. He dutifully notified everyone else about this, and everyone except Hazarak stepped into the blue teleportation circle on the second floor, and were transported to the third floor.

The third floor of the tower was both invisible (allowing one to see the second floor, which appeared translucent, and the first floor) and hidden by an illusion from outside the tower. At the top of the tower stood a Deva bard by the name of Kiniro Okimasa. He asked the party to retrieve fragments of a piece of music called the Song of Eternity, which grants the person or group that performs it flawlessly in conjunction with an epic song detailing the singer’s life, grants the singer immortality. Verses of the song, when sung correctly, also grant power to those singing them. He told the group that one of the fragments could be found in the tomb of the famous bard Ormus the Polyglot, at the north edge of the Feyshadow forest. After conversing with the bard for an hour, the party slept at the bottom of the tower and cooked the acidic remains of the corrosive cubes. Hazarak was the only one to successfully find and cook a portion of a cube, however.

Two days of travel later, the group met a young girl riding a horse and looking for her pet. That pet turned out to be a rust monster she had accidentally made invisible. It chomped on Balasar and shook him around like a rag doll, but the girl quickly subdued it with a sleep spell, making it visible in the process. Balasar, seeing an opportunity, immediately performed a coup de gras on the rust monster (and after rolling a natrual 20) killed it and handed the girl its head. Tovah and Urgarr spent the next hour trying to console the girl, who told the group about the ranch owned by a Mr. Nostrum that her dad works as a rust monster breeder at. They make a living by converting adventurer’s unwanted magic items into more residuum than the Disenchant Magic Item ritual can extract, then keeping a small percentage of that. The party overwhelmingly agreed to avoid going to this ranch, instead making a note of its existance, and continued on towards Feyshadow Keep after sending the girl back home with 5 gold.

Queen's Gambit story update for 20091130 (Marpenoth 3-6)
Assault on Feyshadow Keep, pt. 1

The group has trekked along they Graypeak Mountains, skirting the Marsh of Chelimber, and followed the woodline of the Feyshadow Forest for the last four days. Finally, in the midafternoon of Marpenoth 6th, you reach your destination: Feyshadow Keep. Upon arriving, the group discovered the reason for their summons: a horde of wickedly clawed creatures with sinuous bodies, along with their bullette slaves, were attacking the keep. Undaunted, the group rushed to join the battle.

The battle raged on for what feels like hours, with the creatures popping out of the ground all along the southern wall of the keep. Galford and (Frank) slaughtered endless waves of the creatures, but more kept coming. Meanwhile, Darkblade and Hazarak rushed the bullettes that were attempting to batter the gate, and Lady Tron, Althea, Balasar, Cpt. Planet, and Tovah tackled the other, more specialized creatures. Hazarak made a mighty effort, and managed to grieviously wound both bullettes, but passed out from the effort. Darkblade found that there was a small creature buried into the back of the bullette’s head, and when it was killed, the bullette went berserk. The group realized that these specialized creatures were sharing their powers with the others around them when a few of the creatures, who seemed to be giving off extreme amounts of heat, caused all of the other creatures nearby to do the same. These creatures also seem to be able to work together to perform highly coordinated attacks. Some of the other tactics that the creatures employed were: Hiding some of the specialized creatures within swarms of their young, which gave them cover from the party’s attacks while letting the creatures jump out and strike at will; gathering around what seemed to be a leader, a creature with dark red and grey mottled chitinous armor. This creature was killed through a combined effort by Balasar and Althea, and its death caused all of the other creatures to stop moving for a little while.

We will pick up the battle in medias res next week.

Queen's Gambit story update for 20091207 (Marpenoth 6)
Assault on Feyshadow Keep pt. 2

The battle raged on, and there were losses on both sides. Shortly after handing off the Bodybag of Holding to Poppy, Althea staggered and passed out. Hazarak and Darkblade spent some time unconscious and in the bodybag as well. The group managed to kill many of the creatures, but endless waves of them continued to come. Just when most of the party had exhausted their powers, a magic circle appeared on the battlefield. Balasar explained that if was not destroyed, standing in it would slowly replenish your power. The members of the group that were able to get to the circle drove off the bullette that had occupied it, then took advantage of the restorative powers of the circle.

The group received a brief respite from the creatures, as no more of them appeared for a few seconds after the circle was completed. During this time, however, the muddy ground boiled with activity, as if the horde were moving around under it, preparing to burst forth. And burst forth they did, popping out of the ground near the gate for one final, massive assault. With much chittering and screeching, the horde through everything they had into destroying the gate. The smaller ones, flush with power from the larger flamewrought creatures, started vibrating rapidly. This created an aura of heat that quickly evaporated the water in the ground and created a concealing steam. The heat also proved dangerous to anyone that got too close to the creatures, as (Frank) and Lady Tron found out. The creatures used this, as well as attacks by the larger members of their group, to set the gate on fire. Thanks to the combined efforts of the group, however, the creatures were all killed except for one straggler, who fled the battlefield.

Balasar, who had gone inside the keep during the lull, started organizing everyone he could find into a bucket brigade from the kitchen to the front gate. He also ordered one of the keep’s mages, a sky blue dragonborn female, to use her magic to put the fire out. She was most displeased that he had wasted her time as they climbed to the top of the guard tower, and she huffed and went to assist the bucket brigade in extinguishing the fire.

Devilsinger (a Queen's Gambit sidequest) story update for 20091214 (Marpenoth 2-4)
The Avengers get into a bar fight; travel onboard the _Lyla Desari_; the Gray Vale Pirates

After receiving word of the Staff of the World Tree’s whereabouts, LaQuel and the full members of the Avengers in her party discussed ways to get to Llorkh. It was finally decided that the fastest way there would be by ship, and with that, Ella headed to the docks district to secure passage. As she walked into the Fisherman’s Friend tavern, a fight between some drunken sailors and members of the town guard broke out. One of the Avenger’s redshirts, (Chris), was also there, and he used his shapeshifting powers during the fight to imitate both the sailors and the guardsmen. Eventually, the sailors won, and the guards were ejected from the tavern. While LaQuel, who had mysteriously appeared inside the tavern, paid off the owner for his damages, Ella and (Chris) negotiated passage with the sailors’ captain. After much sexual innuendo on the part of Ella and one of the sailors, the group secured passage on board the Lyla Desari, bound for Llorkh.

The next day, the group arrived at the docks with their gear and mounts. The captain, a human male by the name of Mac Desari, was most displeased at the arrival of those “smelly beasts”, and demanded an extra 5 gold for each of them, as well as having them stay in the cargo hold for the entire trip. LaQuel relented, and after the animals and the group’s gear were loaded, the ship departed from Loudwater’s harbor. Captain Desari told the group that he expected the journey to take the better part of two days, and that they should be arriving in Llorkh around the morning of the 5th of Marpenoth.

The rest of the journey on the 3rd of Marpenoth passed by uneventfully. Early in the morning on the 4th, however, the ship was attacked by the Gray Vale pirates and their ship, the River Serpent. The battle favored LaQuel’s group from the beginning, as the pirates were unprepared for a ship full of mercenaries. Despite a few devastating attacks, including setting fire to the group’s cleric and most of the Lyla Desari’s deck, and impaling (Danielle) on a ballista bolt, the pirates were quickly forced off of their ship, with Conan, (Chris) and Blaze capturing the ship shortly thereafter. The captain of the pirates abandoned her ship and is currently attempting to make an escape in the talons of her two frost hawks. This is where we will pick up the battle next week.

Devilsinger (a Queen's Gambit sidequest) story update for 20091221 (Marpenoth 4)
The Pirates walk the plank; Lynnedslag, terror of the Gray Vale river

In the cold light of the early dawn on the 4th of Marpenoth, the battle with the Gray Vale Pirates came to its conclusion. The captain of the River Serpent, whom the ship’s logs named Ran Cwen, fled on the wings of her two pet frost hawks. Under the Lyla Desari, Ella was slowly making her way towards the starboard side of the ship when the bodybag she carried in her backpack stirred, and (Mike) popped out. He immediately grabbed Ella and made for the surface. Further downstream, LaQuel, Conan, and Tempest made short work of the remaining pirates, who seemed to have lost the ability to swim like the fishes once their captain fled.

Ella and (Mike) boarded the River Serpent and took the helm, saving their redshirt pirate captain Skip in the process. The pair then slowed down the ship and turned it around, running over the last surviving pirate in the process. The rest of the battle consisted of cleanup and regrouping, with everyone getting onboard the newly aquired ship, and negotiating the transfer of the mounts (and refund of the price of passage) with captain Desari. LaQuel also looted the hold of the Serpent and distributed what she found amongst the group. The two ships then parted ways, with the Lyla Desari headed back to Loudwater, and the River Serpent continuing towards Llorkh.

The ship traveled for most of the day unimpeded. During the trip, the group squabbled over what to do with the ship, thinking up plans for keeping it and expanding the hold. As the ship neared the west river gate of Llorkh, Oligar spotted a blue glow from below the ship, and saw some dead fish floating to the surface. Fearing attack, the party braced itself for battle.

The battle that followed would be one that the bards would sing about for generations to come.

A huge (Gargantuan, even) river serpent with two tails and a crackling aura of lightning surfaced, bent on eating the entire crew of the River Serpent. The beast blew out a mighty gout of lightning over the deck of the ship, shocking and stunning those that were unlucky enough to be standing in the blast. It then chomped down on the panicking Ella and swam to the other side of the ship. (Mike), thinking on his feet, switched to his abyssal form and swapped places with Ella, then disappeared from the creature’s mouth, reappearing on the deck of the ship. He quickly took command of the ship, much to the chagrin of LaQuel, and got it moving towards Llorkh. The serpent, refusing to let its prey escape, moved to block the ship and was promptly rammed by it. Then Conan got an idea, and with a mighty roar, provoked the creature into swallowing him.

From within the creature, and with Tempest’s guiding commands, Conan went to work. Blow after mighty blow did he land, hacking the inside of the creature’s mouth into so much bloody meat. The creature continued to chew Conan, but found that he was a much tougher piece of meat than expected. Outside, Ella, Oligar, and LaQuel hurled ranged attacks at the serpent, with LaQuel binding it in huge magical chains for long enough for the River Serpent to get back underway. (Mike) had the ship head at full speed for Llorkh, but before his attempted escape he made one last attack, freezing the creature in a gigantic block of ice, immobilizing it. With LaQuel yelling at him through the bluetooth, he escaped from the serpent and made it into the walled section of the river within Llorkh’s borders.

Undaunted, Conan, Tempest, and LaQuel continued to work on the creature. After fumbling his sword and having it swallowed, Conan was forcibly pushed through the entrails of the serpent via one of Tempest’s powers. Unable to do anything about Conan, the serpent renewed its attack on LaQuel and Tempest, blooding them and losing portions of its tails in the exchanges. Eventually, beset from within and without, the great river serpent Lynnedslag succumbed to its wounds and died a screaming, thrashing death. The three heroes that finished the great beast off were left stranded on the ice block that encased its corpse, at the mercy of the river’s current.

Next time: Conan, Tempest, and LaQuel must find a way to Llorkh or ride the giant block of ice, in the freezing cold river during the beginning of winter back to Loudwater. (Mike), Ella, Oligar, and the party members inside the bodybag will have to deal with docking the ship or mounting a rescue attempt. And what to do with the body of Lynnedslag? At least it will be well preserved on the ice!

Devilsinger (a Queen's Gambit sidequest) story update for 20091228 (Marpenoth 4)
Llorkh Docks; Conan buys the pirates a drink

As we continued the story, half of the party was stranded on the giant block of ice encasing the corpse of the river serpent Lynnedslag, and the other half sailed towards Llorkh aboard captured pirate ship, the River Serpent. Fatigued from the last battle, LaQuel and Ella passed out, and the party’s cleric and Blaze climbed out of the bodybag to replace them. While this was going on, Conan ranted at the group’s pirate, (Mike), for leaving the three of them stranded. Finally, he and Tempest decided to abandon the corpse, telling Jarvis that it would eventually pass by Loudwater, and that he should grab it when it did. Jarvis, somewhat irritated at being tasked to do something far outside his area of expertise, eventually capitulated and said that he would see what he could do about it. Conan then grabbed the body of LaQuel and he and Tempest headed towards Llorkh on foot and by river.

Meanwhile, as the River Serpent pulled into port, it was greeted by some angry Gray Vale pirates, whom were surprised to see unfamiliar faces aboard one of their ships. (Mike) then attempted to sell the pirates back their own ship for 1/3 of its total cost (4500 gp), reasoning that they had “found” the ship in the river, and that it was a bargain at that price. One of the pirate captains, Kerrot, demanded to inspect the ship before purchasing it, telling the group that he knew what was supposed to be on the ship’s manifest, and if those items were not in the hold, he would have more reason to suspect that your group had killed or driven off the original crew. His demand was that (Mike) and he go into the hold alone to do the inspection, and the rest of the group remain on the pier with his pirates. (Mike) agreed, and they went into the hold.

In the hold, Kerrot quickly found that the ship had been looted, and demanded to know where the gold and gems that were in the hold went. (Mike) attempted to bluff him into believing that it was stolen by the members of the party that were not present, but Kerrot saw through her ruse. As the pirates attacked the group on the pier, Kerrot fought with (Mike) in the hold.

The battle lasted for what seemed like a half an hour, but couldn’t have been more than a few minutes. Conan, carrying LaQuel, and Tempest showed up in the middle of the battle and turned it from an even match into an overwhelming victory for the Avengers. While (Alex) kept everyone alive, including the badly wounded Sir Oligar, Conan beat the other pirates down and intimidated them into submission. Eventually, he reached the captain, who was lying on the deck of the River Serpent, taking pot shots at (Mike) and Blaze, whom he had used blasts of water against to force off of the ship. After a few well-placed hits by (Mike) and Conan, he was eventually cowed into a grudging submission by Conan, who offered a promise to assist with “dealing” with (Mike) if Kerrot surrendered. He agreed, and an argument ensued between Conan and (Mike), with the former eventually putting the following question to every full member of Balasar’s Avengers via bluetooth: Given that (Mike) had abandoned his comrades and taken a valuable ship with the intention of selling it and splitting the profits only amongst the group members that were on the ship, should (Mike) merely be expelled from the guild, or did her treacherous actions warrant execution. (This decision was made by the characters of all players present at this session). Eventually, a decision was made by all active guild members to exile the traitorous pirate instead of killing her, although Conan and Hazarak would have preferred her death. Casting off the sender for her bluetooth, (Mike) left the group, wandering off into Llorkh.

Conan promised to have a drink with all the pirates that surrendered. Also, during the battle, all the mounts that were onboard the River Serpent ran off, scattering throughout Llorkh. This amounted to a warhorse, a Valenar riding horse, three regular riding horses, and a riding lizard. (Mike) will recover her lizard (so don’t think about trying to get it. If anyone else left Loudwater with a mount that wasn’t mentioned here, let me know), but the rest of the party will need to find their horses. This is where we will continue next week.

This will be in the game discussion email as well, but just in case you don’t read it, we will be moving permanently back to Ward. A situation has arisen that makes our continued presence at Hickam untenable.

Devilsinger (a Queen's Gambit sidequest) story update for 20100104 (remainder of Marpenoth 4)
Another barfight; a duel with a disgraced captain; looking for information

The remainder of Marpenoth 4 saw the group take a much needed break, then go out on the search for information. From their starting point at the Llorkh docks, into the prison and fort on the east side of town, and through the territory of the Hundred Knives Gang on the west side, the group groped for clues as to where the staff was. LaQuel and Tempest searched the fort and prisons, respectively, and found what the pirates had told them to be true: both were haunted by the ghosts of slain nobles and prisoners. Conan, after drinking Capt. Kerrot under the table, followed Ella and the cask of neverending rum she had out the door. They went to follow the party’s cleric (Alex, I can never remember your character’s name) and Blaze into the Knives’ territory, to the town’s only working bar, the Defiled Maiden. Blaze and (Alex) started a barfight, with both drawing weapons/implements. Conan ran in and took a few swings, and Tempest eventually showed up and started giving orders, causing everyone involved to fight with more vigor.

The bartender, who never gave his name, eventually had enough and jumped over the bar with his trusty mug, swinging at Blaze and (Alex), who promptly surrendered. Following the second rule of barfights here (the first being no outside weaponry), Blaze and (Alex) cleaned up the blood they spilt, and Conan paid one of the Zhent soldiers to do it for him. Conan also made a lucky swing during the fight and hit the bartender, who said that he hits like a girl. Later, Conan bought a drink from the bartender, a rare gin distilled at the border between the elemental planes of Water and Earth. At 10 gp a shot, this drink was not only the most potent thing anyone in the group has ever drunk, but also the most expensive. Conan’s massive constitution would have proven insufficient to withstand the gin if not for the hurled insults of the rest of the guild members spurring him on to remain conscious.

Back on the River Serpent, the group’s pirate, Skip, was enjoying a drink with a few of the Gray Vale Pirates when the ship’s original captain, Ran Cwen, who was borne in the talons of her two frost hawks, arrived. She ran inside the warehouse and swore at Kerrot, then came outside and challenged Skip to a duel for the ship. LaQuel, who had sneaked onboard the ship behind Cwen, said that she was the group’s leader, and challenged Cwen instead. Skip tried to confuse Cwen by assuming the shape of LaQuel, but Cwen was able to tell them apart by the cutlass that she had just handed the real LaQuel. They dueled, with LaQuel landing the only blows, until Cwen fumbled her sword, sending it over the side of the ship. Mumbling under her breath, “I guess you keep it, for now,” she stalked off the ship and into town, with the derisive laughter of the pirates following her.

After searching the town for the day and early evening, here is what the party learned:

  • Both the prison and fort are haunted. The ghosts do not seem to be violent right now.
  • There are four faction in town, none of which like each other. All of the rest of the factions hate the Zhent Irregulars the most, though.
  • The women that you are looking for came through two days ago looking for something. They were seen at the Maiden, where they got into a bar fight. They ended the bar fight by summoning a blade demon and fleeing.
  • The river serpent Lynnedslag was rumored to lair in a large underground cavern, somewhere under the prison. It also hoarded treasure like a dragon. That treasure is likely in its lair.
  • There is a sewer/underground river exit that feeds into the Gray Vale River about 2 miles from the west wall. The entrance is entirely underwater, and it is here that Ella and Tempest will swim up and look for a way for the rest of the party to enter the sewers/underground.
  • Ella suspects that Lynnedslag’s lair is the most likely spot for the elemental gate (I forget why at the moment).

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