Ye Gilde

Chimeras Cove: Release the Terraken!
Not so fast. We need to heal up first.

They stood in muddy water outside a partially natural cavern. That rooms’s floor was dotted with small, muddy pools, none more than a foot deep. At least a dozen wooden boxes and chests lie in the dry areas, most open, with coins and weapons clearly visible within. Treasure!

Of course it was too good to be true that it was left unguarded. The construction of the concealed port many years ago, particularly the excavation via transmute rock to mud spells, attracted ooze mephits to the caves which proved a constant annoyance to Pelastour and his men.

“All this water is filling my codpiece!”

Their murmuring stopped. Was that Cromag? Why it was.

It was then that the mephits attacked with grease, acid arrows and a stinking cloud. The mephits were known to two of them so there were no surprises. Though weak they were clever combatants and flitted out of the range of hand weapons. They continued attacking with a breath of slime, more clouds, more grease, and another acid arrow. Between the obscured vision, water, mud, and furniture in the room it was difficult for the attackers to even get a chance to attack then the creatures had a resistance to all but magical weapons. Crossbow bolts and lead sling bullets flew and the monsters all began summoning. Balinda blinded the leader who was also a spellcaster. Fortunately all the summonings failed. Then Lemmwinks took down the sorcerous leader with three well placed shots. Bart spitted another with bolts and the last fled.

Shortly the clouds cleared and they searched the room. There was a thousand silver and a thousand copper. The rest of the stuff did not interest them. Gwaiyu picked a potion of invisibility off the pulped body of the leader.

They did not waste time advancing to the next little room.

This roughly spherical chamber is mostly dry, and the stone walls appear to be unworked. A passage in the east wall winds away to the northeast. A ghost manifests here when the PCs arrive and attempts to recruit them to its cause. The ghost appears as an insubstantial human figure young and energetic and dressed in sailing attire.

“Greetings, sailors. My name is Pelastour, and I built this place. I am ashamed to say that I am also the grandfather of Poltur, who seeks to sell our family’s honor to the highest bidder. My only hope is to help you destroy him.” He then readily tells the PCs the truth about Chimera Cove and the Terraken including the magical screening which prevents locating the Terraken with divination. He also explains that his ties to Poltur unfortunately keep him from attacking the scoundrel himself, and that it was he who added “The Accursed” to Poltur’s note in a failed attempt to scare off the baron. They spoke for a short time.

Where is Poltur now? “Very close, as the spirit flies. He is in a chamber known as Fluxhold, almost directly above us, and he remains there because Fluxhold offers a view of the Terraken and other locations within the islands through a scrying pool. Take the passage to the north, through the chamber, then northwest, then climb, and you’ll be there.”

What is the purpose of Fluxhold and the scrying pool? “An elemental is bound into the magic of Fluxhold, required by magical oath to lower and raise the water in the cove and the locks in response to certain signals. The scrying pool allows it to do this while remaining in Fluxhold.”

What is next? The next chamber contains Captain Vintresk and what remains of her crew. They are sea sworn and the Captain was a wizard in life. Her first mate was an Ulfen warrior. Three marines remain at their side.

Where is the Terraken? “Just where I left it 50 years ago: trapped in the oubliette, and unable to climb out as long as these tunnels remain dry. There, too, lies the amulet which controls it—the treasure Poltur is undoubtedly seeking even now.”

Why hasn’t Poltur released the Terraken already? “This may be my only success with Poltur to date. He has yet to locate the amulet that controls the Terraken, and is reluctant to make any further moves until he’s done so. Instead, he monitors the situation, too close to his goal to take a step back and find new allies, too concerned with you nipping at his heels to give the matter his full attention. The stage is set for you to confront him in Fluxhold.”

What can you do to help us? “Little, directly. As he is my own flesh, I have not dared attack him outright—the spells that bind this place are tied to me and my blood. I have some control over them, but he, being alive, has more. What would happen if he were to be slain, I do not know.”

Can you tell us more of the elemental? “Do not concern yourselves with it. It is a bound servant, and matters only if someone gives it the command to flood the oubliette.”

With that the ghost urges haste and fades away to nothing. They prepared themselves for battle with magical charms and Cromag drank his healing draughts. Then they proceeded to confront the Captain.

That fight is interupted when the last remaining mephit ambushes them. As the turn a sharp corner it spews slime breath on Bart and Jaron. Then it drops onto Bart’s face scratching and clawing. That proved to be a mistake. Although nobody else could reach it, Bart skewered it on his fine trident. Then he held it out for Gwaiyu to batter.

Ahead was a stone chamber filled with a roar every dozen heartbeats, similar to the sounds of surf, but amplified. A large pool of water fills the southern half of the chamber and extends shallow fingers almost to the northern wall. For decades Captain Vintresk, the sea-sworn pilot of the Terraken, has languished in this chamber.

The party saw her sitting behind a table with the tall Ulfen marine beside her. “Are we doing this?” Lemmywinks asked.

“Yes!” was the response, so she dodged through all the people in her way and entered the room. Immediately three marines burst out from the water and two were able to attack. One stabbed her viciously forcing her to spin to the left and exit down a short side passage. Good thing she was under the affects of expeditious retreat. Then she let rip with a scorching ray that destroyed the nearest marine.

Captain Vintresk got the right angle and with a word, unleashed a lightning bolt down the hall that zapped everyone and Cromag doubly so. The fight was well and truly on now. The Ulfen jumped on the table and began bellowing and flexing which left the first three people in line shaken. Then the remaining two marines moved up. Bart nicked one. The first attacked Bartholomew and missed and the wouned one continued up to Lemmy in the other passage and missed.

There was a general feeling of hopelessness, but the regular marines were quickly destroyed. Bart pierced the one over and over and Lemmy sprayed fired on the one after her. Jaron entered the room only to have the first mate jump down from the table and run him through with his longsword. The investigator wobbled on the edge of unconsiousness.

It was then that the ghost of Pelastour manifested again. Vintresk hissed at her old enemy who launched into a lively sea shanty that bolstered everyone’s spirits. They felt sure that victory would be snatched from the jaws of defeat! Pelastour also reached out and touched the Ulfen marine who wailed and collapsed into the water.

Vintresk burned the her old enemy with a ray of fire and then everyone else was upon her. She fought back primarily with spells although she was armed with an impressive trident herself. She took their blows sometime healing herself other times attacking. Cromag was held. Gwaiyu cast rage on Jaron allowing him to move over and deal the final blow to the captain and send her to her eternal reward.

Pelastour was gone but for the moment they were safe and Balinda excitedly announced that the room was full of magic. They grabbed armfuls of stuff and retreated to the chamber where the helpful ghost had first appeared. They barracaded it with things from the mephit’s room and then started treating wounds and identifying magic items.

It was clear they were done for the day even though it was 9 am. Most of them were close to unconsciousness and almost all magic was used up for the day. Adventuring is tough!

XP: 1867

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Chimeras Cove: This Water Is Filling My Codpiece

Cromag inexpertly returned the catboat to the dock. During the burning of the Chelish ship, Cromag paddled away from the inferno. The task was harder than the sailor had made it look he thought. By the time he had returned to the dock his loud companions were disappearing from the inner port.

The dwarf waited for some time watching the merchant vessle burn. The two wounded hobgoblins that still remained were unable to ascend the ramp to the top of the lock due to the smoke and noxious fumes. Seeing the dwarf alone they descended. Cromap quit the small boat to meet them on the dock.

They charged and Cromag bellowed deeply intimidating them both. Yet he was struck with a longsword and the other mercenary moved behind him. The naked dwarf traded blows with the sword and shield wielding hobgoblin. The creature behind him chopped him with hand ax and short sword. The barbarian took a liking to the masterwork breastplates worn by his opponents. He knocked the one senseless with his greatclub and concentrated on the other. They fought back and forth before Cromag decapitated the hobgoblin with a tremendous blow.

Cromag left the dock wearing an ill fitting breastplate, carrying a masterwork steel shield, and armed with a fine longsword. In his belt was a sharp new hand axe. He also sported several new injuries.

The dwarf exited the port and spent some time rummaging the guardroom. He retrieved some coins and pulled three mysterious oils from a small lead box before collecting six candles. Then he hiked the ledge alongside the dry canal until reaching the landing.

At the landing he looked with interest on the two large bloody pools in front of the iron double doors which were ajar. Cromag stared at the three iron levers set in the wall and the open doors. He dragged over some mouldy rope so the doors couldn’t close behind him and then followed the sets of bloody footprints inside.

He poked around a dead chimera for a time. Then moved on to a water logged chamber with two dead zombie marines in it. The barnacle encrutsed gear was in a poor state. Here he heard some noises and left the room. He recognized them as his companions from Falcon’s Hollow. He hurried through the twisting passage.

“All this water is filling my codpiece!” he shouted.

XP: 2000

codpiece.jpg

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Chimeras Cove: The Secret Port

That evening the village had another reason to celebrate. Bartholomew Roberts was rowed ashore from his ship. He was a favorite of the inhabitants and freshly returned from a year at sea. He was so grateful that he immediately insisted on joining them the following day.

They wasted no time in the morning. They took the items Lemmywinks had brought, the holy symbol and silver wire, and climbed into a small boat. Bart sailed the catboat into the center of the cove and Lemmywinks lowered the holy symbol. It was as easy as that.

Almost immediately, the winds and waters calm. The spray gradually ceases and waves that were crashing against rocks now lap placidly against them. Although the fog remains, where gaps between the shore and the islands were once visible leading out to the open sea, now stone seawalls are visible, slowly rising. It quickly becomes clear that the seawalls only rise a short distance and thereafter it is the water level in the cove that starts to fall. More and more of the steep, rocky sides of the islands become visible, until the three islands appear as a single connected mass. The retreating water leaves the dock below the village’s boathouse lying in muck. The southwestern face of the largest island reveals a large cave mouth below the low-tide mark.

But the lowered water revealed something else. A giant octopus was left stranded above water on a rocky promenance 650 feet away. As it slithered toward the water Bart told them about this particular nasty. The Inner Sea is home to the Hand of the Deep, a rare breed of giant octopus that has evolved a paralytic poison in its tentacle suckers. The Hands are even more aggressive than the typical giant octopus, and superstitious sailors have named them for their tendency to pluck single crewmembers from the edges of ships’ decks and whisk them beneath the waves.

Not liking the sound of that Balinda quickly magicked up an illusion of a giant hungry orca to swim around between their boat and the beast. It seemed to do the trick and they headed directly into the cave mouth.

The cavern was huge – big enough for more than one large ship. To either side of the cave mouth, stone ramps five feet wide rise out of the water and cling to the cavern walls, gradually rising upward to end at a height of thirty five feet at the far wall. At that wall the west ramp opens into another chamber from which faint light emanates. Thick ropes hang into the water here and there, some anchored to rusting cleats set into the walls, others lying in loose coils.

Dominating the far wall are gigantic wooden double doors, twenty-five feet in height and forty feet in width, composed of planks which could be ships’ timbers and are heavily reinforced with rusting steel. The top of the doors are flush with the top of the wall, while the bottom is ten feet above water level. The many barnacles indicate the door is typically submerged to a depth of twenty feet. No hinges are visible, making it appear the doors open inward.

Standing atop the far wall to either side of the giant doors is a pair of wooden and steel contraptions which resemble small siege engines. A stout wooden base supports a pivoting mechanism enclosing an open chute ten feet long and one foot in width, with attached gears used to adjust the angle of the chute. Three hobgoblin mercenaries watched them from the upper ledge. They appeared to have been spear fishing. Now they eyed the newcomers curiously.

Realizing that the hobgoblins were expecting reinforcements Balinda bluffed her way into their trust. They were told to move the catboat to the lock doors on the far end. The hobgoblins would open the doors and let the boat inside. Bartholomew again proved his worthiness and expertly piloted the boat inside the lock. The giant doors closed behind them. Now the water could rise behind them concealing the port.

The inner port was not as big as the initial cavern but still big enough for 2-3 ships to dock. In fact there was a Chelish merchant ship there now but the name of “Silver Reign”. It looked low in the water. Light was provided by multiple magical sources high in the ship’s rigging. Bart docked near the ship and all but Cromag exited. They though someone should stay with their escape vessel.

To their surprise, they immediately spotted Poltur running up the gangplank to the ship. He stopped at the top to stare at them. He was a tall, tanned man in his thirties with a black eyepatch over his right eye. He wears flashy clothes but despite the garishness of his outfit, his every movement conveys a precise sense of balance. He had a rapier on his hip and a crossbow on his back.

Balinda again tried to pass them off as the expected reinforcements but her initial success waned. It seemed like he knew Bartholomew was too goody goody to go against the town or perhaps Balinda’s story was thin on specifics. Poltur demanded a duel with Bart who was happy to oblige. Before that could start though the rest of the group began to conspire and Poltur stepped back out of view while calling his mercenaries.

They immediately rushed aboard the ship but Poltur was nowhere to be seen. The deck of this ship was completely bare under the flickering supernatural lights attached to the mast, with shadow-nets cast through the rigging dancing across the planks. Two hatches, each with a steep ladder, stand open to the hold below. Jaron threw an alchemist fire down one hatch. No reaction from below. Then Jaron became invisible and descended the other ladder followed by Gwaiyu while the others guarded the two hatches. The ship’s interior is a single empty cargo compartment, broken only by two rows of thick stanchions and a ropeless windlass in the center of the deck.

Poltur remained hidden while the other occupant, a hell cat, attacked the invisible Jaron sinking only its teeth into the man. Gwaiyu and Jaron began combat with the otherworldly cat which was soon suffering from Gwaiyu’s curses. The cleric debilitated the beast further with each passing round.

Above deck the others were fighting six hobgoblin mercenaries bottlenecked on the boarding plank and some suffered from magical stunning.

Both fights carried on and suddenly Poltur exited from below decks. He crossed the ship stabbing others when he could before leaping to the dock when the fight appeared to be going against his side. As his mercenaries dropped into the water and the hell cat suffered, he ran into the darkness. The fight only continued a couple of more rounds. Then the two remaining wounded hobgoblins retreated.

Poltur was gone.

They left the burning ship and hastily checked the remaining bodies. No money but they had some expensive gear. The group moved off into the darkness after their quarry. Balinda scanned for magic in the guardroom and came up empty. So the group followed a ledge that ran alongside a dry channel until it came up on an old landing.

Opposite the dock where two large iron doors with a set of three iron levels set in a plate on the wall. Bart and Jaron checked them out but accidentally triggered a terrible spike trap that impaled the two of them for 1 minute before it reset. The others helped them through the doors and Gwaiyu reluctantly performed some magical healing.

The party formed ranks again and marched down the passage until it opened into a narrow chamber. As they entered a sea sworn chimera sprung from around the corner and blasted three of them with a line of acid. The five of them made the beast pay dearly however. Gwaiyu used magic to pass behind it but took a hit from the tail and his lungs filled with saltwater. Jaron and Bart took the brunt of the heads and claws. It was a nasty but short fight. The chimera was cut down and they passed on.

A short section of hallway separated them from the next room. That one had water on the floor and rotting furnishings. There were also two submerged bodies that animated as Bartholomew approached to poke one with his trident. The were undead Chelish marines and not nearly the challenge the chimera was.

The room had nothing of value in it and they moved on quickly. The twisty passage led them to another room. This large cavern’s floor was dotted with small, muddy pools, none more than a foot deep. At least a dozen wooden boxes and chests lie in the dry areas, most open, with coins and weapons clearly visible within. And there was movement inside.

XP: 5120

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Treasure of the Blue Moon (part 2)
Nothing like a good pack dog

An uninterrupted night’s rest helped lift the spirits of the party. Laramore the pack dog was loaded down with Rillivis’ satchels and spear since the elf was still too weak to carry those things effectively. Wounds were healed though, and so the hunt for the treasure continued. Elmer led the way with a swig of alcohol, scouting out the beach and their best path up to the hill tops on the penesula. The pirate’s tale spoke of a cave near the top somewhere. Sophie and Rillivis followed the fighter, but they both basically took in the sea vistas and fresh air offering nothing useful in the way of scouting. Elmer chose a good spot to climb to the forested bluff and head towards the hill tops, one with numerous handholds and trees to help the others climb. After a failed attempt, the weakened elf required Elmer to haul him up via rope anyway. They hiked a path to the nearest hill top, unsure where to begin their search. On the way up they found a mineshaft, well fortified but unused for some time. The decision was made to explore it. They needed to find a cave, right?

Elmer led them in with Rillivis lighting the way for the 2 humans plus himself. Sophie and Elmer paused at the first side passage when they both spotted a large black spider hanging in a web watching them. It was the size of a mule. Sophie identified it as a giant black widow then told Elmer to “kill it!” The party paused for minute in a staring contest, neither spider nor person daring to move first. When Elmer sent Laramore away everything changed as a web shot out to entangle the poor dog. The spider lurched forward and Elmer moved to chop it. Sophie started telling jokes and Rillivis sent a sparkle of lights to dazzled it, informing the others that his magical light and fire attacks were only effective against evil. They could not hurt the insect. The massive spider bit Sophie and she felt the strong poison taking effect. The comedian’s performance suffered as she wept between verses. Seconds later another of the large spiders raced along the ceiling from deeper within the mineshaft. Elmer, with sophie’s help managed to slay the first spider but the fighter was soon entangled by the second creature’s webbing. He broke free in time to beat it back but took a nasty bite in the process. Meanwhile Sophie was quickly deteriorating due to the poison in her bloodstream, her constitution draining away. Eventually she was able to use her bard magic to break free of the poison. Rillivis summoned a small fire elemental to attack and the spider retreated after being burned. Elmer did not want to lose track of it so he chased it deeper into the mine with everyone following. They cornered the spider and, as it tried to escape, cut it down.

The mine ended abruptly but they collected a bag of onyx chips Rillivis estimated at about 60gp value, placing the new bag on Laramore’s back. It wasn’t a treasure perse, but it was something. Seeing nothing else here they headed out and continued up the hillside. They came upon another mine but this one looked much more random, like a hole dug in the dirt without supports. Cautiously entering, they heard clinking sounds deeper inside. The farm boy fighter noted that the ceiling here wasn’t very stable. Elmer had Rillivis cast light on an arrow to fire inside and see the source of the clinking. After a poorly aimed shot that barely lit the ground beyond their feet, they tried again and this time saw that 6 humanoids were digging with picks. The humanoids noticed them and turned dropping the tools. Sophie called out “zombies!” As the dead lumbered in their direction. Slow moving, the party used their vantage to fire arrows and eventually heavenly flame at them, destroying half of them before they were within range to strike. The others were cut down mostly by Elmer, but not before landing a couple of solid blows on the elf. Inside they found nothing but rusted picks … odd. And so they carried on climbing further up the hillside. Elmer decided that was worth another drink!

Sophie spotted a structure above them, actual stonework. Elmer climbed to it and discovered a finely constructed well adorned in sigils and blackened as if burned. He pulled the others up and they identified risidual magic, probably from the sigils, and religious markings representing Norgorber God of Assassins and Deceit. They heard a crunch alerting them to something moving nearby and they hid behind the well. Actually only Elmer hid, both Sophie and Rillivis just crouched to either side of it in plain sight. A voice called down to them to come out. It was a pair of harpies perched on a ledge some 20 feet above them. The women held morning stars and bid the trio to surrender and be escorted to Tirarus. Elmer used his surprise to shoot one of them with his bow and a battle broke out. Rillivis blasted them with his light burst while Sophie started up her jokes to inspire the group “waka waka waka!” One of the harpies began to sing but everyone managed to resist her charming song. Down she went with another blast and some well-placed arrows. The remaining harpy swooped to attack Elmer and stop his deadly bow. She batted and clawed the farm boy pretty severely before he brought out his 2-handed sword and cut her from the air. The harpies had little to offer but they did find a large silver key inside the well. They continued on up.

Topping the hill, they found a strange pentagram Rillivis suspected of being a summoning circle. Seated a few feet away was a large creature with the body of a lion, face of a bearded man and dragon wings, plus a heavily spiked tail. “A manticore!” Sophie blurted out. She immediately asked if he was Tirarus which angered the creature immensely. To calm him, Sophie did what Sophie does best and flashed him. Her breasts jiggled and it worked. They began a dialogue, learning that Musa the Manticore and Tirarus the chimera were both summoned by Garazandal the mad dwarf wizard to guard his domain. The wizard vanished years ago and the pair of creatures now battled over who ruled this area. Elmer mentioned the harpies and angered the manticore again, they worked for Tirarus. But Sophie flashed him another peek (jiggle jiggle with a smile) to calm him. Musa offered them a deal, kill Tirarus and they could leave safely with the Garanzandal’s treasure in tow. They agreed to the deal and set out towards the moon-shaped cave they could see on the distant hilltop. Elmer later informed them that the manticore was definitely lying! They shrugged, that was a problem for the future. For now, they were headed for the treasure!

The group hiked another couple of hours to reach the tallest peak and the lair of the dwarf wizard. It was a 20 foot steep climb to reach the large landing and cave. Sophie turned Elmer invisible so he could sneak inside and possibly slay the chimera in its sleep. Rillivis informed them it was quite dangerous, quite stupid and quite evil. Elmer scaled the cliff and crept inside to find the large 3-headed creature hiding and waiting to ambush them. Evidently it had spotted them on their way here. The lion head, goat head and black dragon head all stared intently waiting for signs of someone climbing over the ledge. Elmer carefully retreated back to explain the situation to the others.

They took a few minutes to form a plan then set into action. Sophie used her ghost sound ability to again make the loud roar of a lion followed by her silent image of Masu circling far away as if challenging Tirarus. The ruse worked and the stupid chimera bounded out of the cave launching into the air and heading straight for the manticore. As it flew by, Elmer hurried up the cliff again and hauled the others up with his rope. Time was very limited as the chimera blasted the illusion with its acid breath discovering its true nature. They ran as fast as they could into the cave and hurried on through the only door they saw, a large stone portal marked with religious symbols and runes. They slammed the door and prepared to bar it behind them when Rillivis pointed out the chamber before them. Black and white checkered stones paved the floor each with symbols drawn on it. Sophie recalled seeing one of those symbols over the door as she ran inside. “We have to peek at the door again, quickly!” She cried. Elmer opened the door while the other 2 stepped outside to take a quick look at the symbols and words. The chimera would be returning any second so they had to hurry. They then closed and barred the door behind them. The trio spent a good amount of time trying to decipher the puzzle, assuming horrible traps awaited them with a misstep. Finally they just gave up and went with Elmer’s guess. Sophie started crossing the floor in the pattern he called out. Miraculously he was right and she made it safely to the other side. The door on the far end was locked but the key from the well did the trick. Inside was a bedroom and alchemical workshop of sorts. A 7 foot black onyx pyramid marked with unholy symbols dedicated to Norgorber sat in the center, rillivis valued it at around 15,000gp but at 1,000 lbs it was far too bulky and heavy to carry out. They discovered all sorts of metals in vials and a notebook describing Garanzandal’s many attempts to convert metals to gold. He thought that Norgorber had gifted him secrets only to learn the evil God was merely teasing the mad dwarf. There was a magical rod, a spell book and the skeletal remains of a dwarf in his bed here, too. Sophie claimed the rod and then grabbed the spell book. Out of the darkness came a creature of pure shadow. Rillivis identified it as a greater shadow, Garanzandal’s spirit. It attacked Sophie and she screamed. The bard was immediately drained of most of her strength. She fell to the ground under the weight of her equipment and began crawling away begging for help. Rillivis stepped away to blast it with his light magic, warning them that if it drained all your strength you’d rise as a shadow in moments. His current strength of 5 meant he needed to keep his distance. Elmer charged in to save the bard and landed a few solid blows with his magic weapons. Rillivis added more light blasts to the fray. Elmer slumped due his own loss of strength now and fight looked grim. Sophie pointed the rod at it and activated it blindly filling the chamber with hundreds of butterflies, basically blinding herself. Rillivis, out of light blasts, switched to heavenly fire, and Elmer landed two heavy blows destroying the creature in the nick of time. They rested and debated their situation, while loading some of Sophie’s gear onto poor Laramore’s back. They found no other exits and pointedly no dwarf treasure. The notes suggested that the mad dwarf was obsessed with creating gold but ultimately failed. Thank the Gods that spell book was valuable.

They rested for a full day and another half, recouping what they could of their dwindled abilities. It was time to escape. They prepared for the worst, throwing the stone door wide and racing in to attack the chimera. Tirarus did not disappoint, he melted the summoned fire elemental with acid and tore into Elmer. The fighter got lucky as several attacks missed, most importantly that large central lion head. Sophie supplied jokes “waka waka waka!” while Rillivis supplied light blasts. Chop after chop dug holes into the beast and it’s claws and heads did the same to Elmer. Sophie stepped up to take some attacks and suffered a pair of huge claw wounds. 2 more chops and Elmer stood over the body of the dead chimera, both bathed in blood. He beheaded it 3 times. Everyone rejoiced having expected certain death. They healed and Looted the chimera nest uncovering a valuable fire opal and a pair of large black pearls altogether totally around 1,900gp in Rillivis’ estimate. There were large chunks of raw gold ore but that was far too heavy to move.

Triumphant, they crawled from the cave and used magic sounds and lights to call for Musa. The manticore arrived hovering overhead and thanked them as Elmer produced all three severed chimera heads. Musa then launched his tail spikes at them, striking everyone including poor Laramore. They knew it was a possibility and so Elmer was ready. He shot arrows, Rillivis blasted it with light and Sophie started up her comedy act to inspire them. The manticore launched more spikes nailing each of them again with a critical hit that left the dog splayed on the floor.

They fell back inside the cave. They were being slaughtered. Elmer, bringing up the rear, took three more spikes including a critical hit. Sophie did manage to tap Laramore with a cure as she passed and the dog scurried away to hide. Musa entered the cave in pure confidence. They had barely scratched him thus far. Everyone was heavily injured. Rillivis blasted him with more light magic and was filled with tail spikes for the effort. The elf was barely left standing. Sophie was in a similar state at his side, one spike imbedded in each of her large bussoms. Elmer charged from behind the beast and landed a critical hit, cutting a huge gash in the manticore. Suddenly, the tables had turned. It looked as if Musa might flee so Rillivis burned it with his fire and Sophie ran in to stab it with her dagger, amazingly delivering the killing blow. Half dead and bedraggled, the party healed what they could and fled for the beach and their boat. They made it back, paid the overdraft fees for their time away with the boat (9 days) and then returned to Absalom to sort and sell their goods. All in all, they did walk away with a hefty treasure including the 300gp writ from Fillego Mahd despite the fact that there never really was a Blue Moon treasure to begin with.

Elmer was invited to join the guild with Sophie and Rillivis vouching for him, and he even got a cool souvenir in the form of a black dragon chimera head mounted on his shield. Unfortunately for Sophie, the youth also realized he now had too much respect for her to buy her services anymore.

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Treasure of the Blue Moon (part 1)
You’ve got to spend money to make money

A routine day in the Absalom Guild House began with Chad catching the first available member he could find for a mission commissioned by one of their regular clients, Felligo Mahd of Mahd’s Maps. Chad came to Sophie’s door and due to the noise knew she was present. He knocked, she answered half dressed and propositioned him as usual. The youth rolled his eyes and presented her with a writ for services with a brief description: she would gather another member or two and take the role of caravan guards on a short trip to Diobel. She remembered this was how she and her sister’s introduction to The Guild started long ago. She also recognized the name of the client and sighed. Her current John overheard the discussion and was looking for work so he asked to accompany her. She cracked a joke which made Chad groan and walk away then invited the stray man along. He looked capable enough. Sophie was all about making money, not so much the details of how so she leapt at the opportunity. Elmer, the current John, hooked up with Sophie the night before. The youth had just arrived from the distant lands of Andoran and was in need of a job to pay for the expensive city at the center of the world. The farm boy had already invested multiple silvers in the bard prostitute’s time. Together they dressed and headed to the mess hall to gather another body for the mission. Rillivis sat alone enjoying his quiet meal when Sophie approached with a joke followed by a lewd proposition. The prim elf calmed himself before responding and reluctantly accepting the task to help the local merchant. He was less concerned with the mission and more at odds with his company, Sophie the tramp bard and her latest “client”.

The trio set about gathering things and meeting the two wagon, 3 passenger caravan at the gates to the city for their journey. The writ promised them each 100gp for escorting the caravan safely to The port town. They set out. Over the next couple of days all went well, better than expected actually. Rillivis kept watch over the procession from his horse, Sophie propositioned all the men from her camel (a camel that she acquired through her special talents – aka a roll in the hay – much to Elmer’s chargrin. The youth had fallen for the pretty bard). Only a lone lion stalked their caravan but Sophie used her magic to create a roaring lion twice as loud as a standard one to scare the cat away. It worked! It also spooked the caravan camels and Rillivis’ horse. That caused Sophie to be dumped to the ground when her new camel fled. Elmer was quick to catch and calm the animal for her. The farm boy followed the procession on foot with his trusty pack dog, Laramore. He couldn’t afford a riding camel or horse.

They arrived in Diobel safe and sound and turned over the caravan to the dock master. The man signed their writ and they decided to hit a tavern before finding rooms for the night and heading back to collect their pay. The nearest place was The Blue Moon Tavern. Sophie knew a few local stories about the place. It was rumored to have a treasure map to the infamous Blue Moon treasure. They arrived to the dump and purchased drinks. Elmer went expensive buying two big drafts of the best beer for him and his dog, while Rillivis purchased a lite moon and stars ale. Sophie, always trying to make a deal, propositioned the bartender first but accepted his request to fix the broken window for a free drink. Her glass of yellow stain ale (the cheapest drink in the house) cost her 10 minutes of mending magic accompanied by rubbing her breasts against the glass from outside as she worked. She had to look sexy. Perhaps it wasn’t the best deal after all she thought as she returned for the drink, sweating profusely.

Conversation turned to the local legend of the Blue Moon treasure. The bartender explained that his grandfather and founder of the tavern was a pirate back in the day and the sign outside was a piece of his original ship and supposed map to the treasure that got away. Blue Moon was the name of his ship. He offered to sell it to them for a few hundred gold but that seemed a little steep so they declined. The trio took time to examine the sign but made little of it besides that it might be concealing something, so both Sophie and Rillivis made copies of the sign. Sophie’s was a nice kid’s sketch but Rillivis was an actual artist. His drawing proved a perfect copy. They debated finding the treasure and Sophie led the bandwagon on making some real money! “Anything for a coin!”

They spent the night and returned. After studying the map more they uncovered a few tidbits hidden in the work. There seemed to be a legitamit map here. Asking more questions about the map led them to an old shiphand of the dead grandfather and last surviving member of the ship. The man wanted them to go away but they persisted. Rillivis waited outside. The pirate’s place was absolutely filthy. Elmer bonded with the old pirate by offering booze (both seemed to be alcoholics). Sophie tried flashing her breasts and making him an offer first but the man was too old to partake. A few drinks led to a tale of the night the Blue Moon sank and the rumored treasure of legend. He spoke of a location which matched the map and of barrels of gold carried by undead in service of a mad dwarf wizard. The tale intrigued the farm boy and harlot. The man offered them a magic amulet he kept and they purchased it for 300gp even though noone seemed to know what it actually did. From there they decided it would be a faster route to rent a boat, 2 days versus 2 weeks on land. Rillivis boasted some skill at sailing, reassuring them it would be simple enough. That ended up costing them 500gp for a week’s rental plus extra coin to stable their mounts. Elmer seemed unsure about a boat trip but having only invested 30gp in their current 800+gp fiasco the other two held more sway. The running response was, “we’re already 800gp in, we need to make this work!” The 300gp writ from Fillego was not enough to cover their expenses at this point.

They set sail on day 1 of their 7 day rental. It was a 2 day journey there and back leaving them with 3 days to explore for the treasure – a solid enough plan. Rillivis began the journey by sailing in the wrong direction so Elmer had to correct the course … maybe it wasn’t such a great plan after all…

The first night out on Elmer’s watch while he dipped into the first of three kegs of alcohol he brought with him the ship was assaulted by a merciless spirit of a dead sailor seeking revenge. The Duppy proved a powerful opponent, each touch draining strength and life. Elmer was touched multiple times and collapsed to the boat deck under the weight of his own gear. Rillivis blasted the spirit repeatedly with his light magic which seemed to work well. The star elf sorcerer boasted about how his celestial bloodline often dealt with the undead as well as evil outsiders. Unfortunately, he too felt the draining touch until he had to drop his spear and lean against the mast for support. Sophie turned herself and Elmer invisible while they regrouped, hoping to gain a surprise advantage. She added her inspiring comedy to the fray. “Waka waka waka!” Rillivis’s magic plus Elmer’s magic weapon dispatched the Duppy. Drained and severely weakened, the party had no choice but to return to Diobel and seek medical treatment from the local priests. They rested a night and magically treated their strength loss, spending another 240gp and mustering most of what they lost. Sophie and Rillivis reasoned that the two day boat trip would be enough time to recoup the rest. Elmer was not so confident. But once again they were now over 1,000 gp in and needed this treasure to cover their loses. Elmer had few drinks and accepted the course. With 2 days lost on their boat rental for returning they now had 1 day to explore the peninsula and find the treasure – still a viable plan.

They set out again and reached the peninsula they sought after fending off a sea gremlin and grindylow. They spotted a shadow in the sea. Guessing it was the wreckage of The Blue Moon, they knew they were in the right spot but avoided the ship due to the old pirate’s mentioning of the terrible tentacle beast that sunk it years ago.

They pulled their boat ashore and decided to scout the area. They came upon an odd surprise. Two women in big hats and fancy gowns were having a picknic on a blanket spread on the beach. Sophie led the approach while the men stayed wary. The old women stood and moved to greet the pretty girl. As they moved closer one woman threw off her hat to reveal a horrific creature underneath. Sophie immediately identified them as sea hags even as she resisted the horror. The other hag dove into the ocean and began swimming around to flank the group while the first one attacked the bard. Elmer charged to protect Sophie while assigning his dog to guard Rillivis. The elf sorcerer blasted the hags with his light magic and heavenly fire. The hags repeatedly tried using their evil eye curses and horrific appearance against the party. Only Elmer succumbed to the curse and Rillivis lost strength again from the horrible appearance. They all suffered a few nasty gashes from the hag claws. Feeling weakened again, the trio decided to camp on the beach for the night and recover some before proceeding inland. They did acquire two bags of pearls, though, which Rillivis appraised at around 1,800gp value. There was much rejoicing in the fact that they had at least recovered their loses ….

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The Pearl of Penelope (part 1)

It began in the dimly lit back corner of the Grog Pit, a tavern in the dock district of Absalom known for its interesting house grog and its unscrupuled atmosphere. Yaethen Barg, a mature, robust, slightly intoxicated one-eyed man led the rountable discussion of a covert mission funded by a wealthy third party. He gathered a team to undergo the task of locating a ship wreckage to recover a treasure of significant value lost to Absalom’s Flotsom Graveyard decades past. The modest if charming halfling priest to Iomedae Pawter, the dainty and flighty Sylph sorcerer with the elemental bloodline Luft, and the beautiful and exotic aasimar chellish bard Valentyr, plus one of his trusted associates Roy, a sailor of some skill. Together they would use the rowboat he left docked for them under the cover of nightfall to recover the pearl necklace. He did not want the sailor’s guild nor the starwatch claiming any piece of the pie and taxing them. He gifted them a crude map and a “Star compass” which Luft examined eagerly. The broken compass with a star drawn on the front was foreign to any of the newbies and so they carried it with pride.

The new recruits seemed a bit wary of the water and boat idea. None of them held any skill at swimming. Pawter proved a wealth of information about the man behind the mission ‘Lord Frath’ as well as his family history and the lost ship known as ‘Kelp’s Embrace’. The studious little halfling even knew of the stories of the ‘Pearl of Penelope’ a magical necklace taken from the merfolk decades past. All in all the young priest remained unsure of the mission and his involvement, but when in Absalom one must earn their keep! The city at the center of the world was not cheap. The others were less concerned with the details.

Together they left the Grog Pit with plans to claim the necklace and regroup in two days to make the exchange and earn their reward. Strangely enough, no one bothered to ask what that reward might actually be. They hit the market to gather a few supplies for the mission, including: rope, air bladders, and a large cobblestone from the road to use as a weight – compliments of Luft.
As they loaded their nondescript rowboat, Pawter decided to remove his armor. He was not a strong swimmer and didn’t want to chance any extra danger of drowning. While Roy took the map to plot a course and Luft and Valentyr loaded the boat, a pair of dangerous looking individuals crept their way in the shadows. The two ruffians intended to take them by surprise but were so loud everyone heard them coming from a mile away.

Valentyr took the lead and sprang into a soul-wrenching performance of song and dance. Both ruffians were fascinated by her beauty and otherworldly performance, so much so they could do little but pause to watch. Unfortunately, her performance was a little too good. Both Pawter and Luft were likewise entranced. Roy was the only one uninterested in the diva. He woke Luft from his ogling with a smack on the rump and the pair set about unhitching the boat. Valentyr hopped aboard as the would-be attackers watched her, still mesmerized. They sailed away before the cut throats could regain their senses. Roy guided their way while Luft rowed. The delicate sorcerer in his silk robes was a bit perplexed as to why he rowed alone but Pawter explained he was too short, and Valentyr was … well … a diva. Pawter noticed that someone had cut a hole in the boat, likely sabatoge. Luckily Iomedae had seen fit to bless him with the magical power of mending for the day and so he repair it quickly.

They reached the X on the map with some unsteady moments of Luft rowing but they arrived nonetheless. They found a ship cracked in half, one of many among the ship’s graveyard of the Flotsam. Roy deigned to remain with the rowboat while the others boarded the aft portion of the broken ship wreckage. Luft insisted that his ‘Star Compass’ guided him here. The trio leapt aboard the slick deck, Luft and Valentyr both gracefully and poor little Pawter not so. The ship sat at an angle so they were forced to move carefully or risk losing their footing and possibly tumbling into the dark waters. Luft led the way, being the only one gifted with night vision.

The sorcerer guided them to the deck cabin in his dancing light-footed way, ripping the door from its rotted hinges in the process. A ladder led deeper in the ship. Roy warned them of a passing patrol so he hid in the rowboat while the others ducked into the cabin and proceeded below decks. Luft insisted he saw merman footprints inside so they should be cautious. Pawter only shook his head – merman footprints. Tired of the darkness, Valentyr ignited her heavenly halo to light the Chamber. Again Luft led the exploration of three doors by ripping the first from its hinges. The lean Sylph had wiry strength. He drifted inside to examine a built-in desk and deftly leapt clear of a rotted floor that gave way to the dark waters flooding the lower deck. While examining the desk he broke a drawer but revealed a hidden compartment below filled with silver jewelry. He quickly stuffed the trinkets in his silk-robed pockets for later examination. Next they moved to the second door. Luft again ripped it from the wall and found a hallway with more doors. The hallway dipped into the water at its end. Pawter advised they not leave an unchecked door at their backs and so
Luft moved to the next door and once again tore the hinges from the rotted wood. He seemed to enjoy that. This time a tentacle of some kind darted at him but missed. He really wished he could put the door back this time. Inside the chamber was a huge bloated frog easily as big as a large man. It had a nest inside the chamber with a hole leading out of the ship to the water. Valentyr broke into an inspiring performance of “I will survive” but immediately following her song the giant frog clamped it’s huge mouth down on Luft viciously shaking the poor Sylph with a critical attack that dropped him unconscious to the floor. Pawter tried to channel his divine healing to wake their primary warrior but the healing was not enough. The frog then lashed out with its tongue catching the halfling firmly and dragging him closer. Valentyr stepped up and sank her rapier into the amphibian but he still gulped down the halfling priest in one smooth bite. Her inspiring song turned tears as she watched the battle shift to hopeless. In a last ditch effort, the diva cast a cure spell on Luft and his eyes fluttered open. Meanwhile the frog tried to bite her but missed. It’s stomach gurgled as it digested the halfling struggling inside. Pawter had no edged weapons to cut with and no real way out of the creatures belly. He tried futilely to cast spells and kick his way out. When Luft stood he unleashed his elemental magic and electricity courses through the frog. Valentyr followed suit, cutting it with razor shards of sound. The frog backed away, injured and full. It made a break for it, diving into the black waters through the hole in the wall. Luft was not about to let it escape so easily. He dove in after it and released another bolt of electricity nearly ending it. Something golden and serpentine moved by him in the water. He dared not swim away from the ship. But, the frog swam on with poor Pawter trapped in his belly. The halfling only survived due to his healing blessing he managed to access.
As the frog swam away it shuddered and slid below the waves. Luft and Valentyr gasped, having lost their tiny friend to the Flotsam’s depths. Miraculously the halfling shot to the surface and called for help which Roy quickly offered in the form of the rowboat. The little priest had a magical bubble of air around his head. A mermaid had rescued him, a golden mermaid by the name of Seashimmer. They thanked her and learned she was here too seeking the Pearl of Penelope. It was an heirloom from her people stolen by the Frath family many years ago. It’s whereabouts had just recently been discovered. Upon hearing her tale, Pawter knew his original mission was over ….

Pawter, Luft & Valentyr each earned 367xp

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Chimeras Cove: A Secret Revealed
Who brought the stuff?

The rescue put them in the good graces of the villagers. They were very thankful and gave them some of the history of the village and information about Poltur who was one of them and the grandson of Pelastour. The young self styled swashbuckler had betrayed his family’s secret. The older generation had all served under Capt Pelastour as the crew of the Scythe, a privateer that plundered Chelish shipping. Most importantly they learned the secret of the Cove. It trapped the Terraken, an undead dragon turtle created by the Chelish to attack Andoran shipping. And they also learned the secret of accessing the secret underwater port that had hidden the Scythe visually and magically when it wasn’t out plundering.

The spellcasters all spent some time with their books and then all but the heavily injured Cromag left to track down the remaining hobgoblins that were out hunting.

They spent the rest of the day in ambush the goblinoids didn’t return by the same path. Targus warned them that the troops were headed into the village.

Everyone pulled up and hustled back to the village. When the reached the slope above the buildings 500 feet away they could see the 10 mercenaries assaulting the longhouse that the villagers were defending.

Balinda cast haste on the bunch and everyone began running down the slope to rescue the villagers a second time.

Gwaiyu was first and also took an arrow on the way down. Then he threw his magic toothpick of pyrotechnics. That created a big cloud of smoke in front of the longhouse. Jaron and Balinda arrived next. Jaron was set upon by 3 disciplined soldiers. Balinda blinded others with glitterdust.

The oni blooded tiefling went from blind hobgoblin to blind hobgoblin clubbing them without mercy. Jaron did his best against his three opponents. Balinda ran through the fray blinding opponents while being chased by the leader.

When Lemmywinks arrived she began a fusillade of lead projectiles wrecking havoc on her targets.

Gwaiyu could see that Jaron was in trouble and called for Cromag. The dwarf exited the longhouse as the smoke cloud cleared.

The halfling had a couple more arrows stuck in her but she was still giving much worse than she was getting. She was also being attacked by a hobgoblin with a spiked club now.

Cromag charged the remaining attackers around Jaron bringing him some much needed assistance. He felled one easily.

The scattered fight turned into clean up operation. The individual hobgoblins tried to rally but they were all injured and they started dropping. Soon it was just the leader who was trying to escape. Then everyone ganged up on him and the fight was over.

Victory!

XP: 1000

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Chimeras Cove: The Journey
The Boathouse of Incarceration

A week was spent helping Falcon’s Hollow recover from the Carnival of Tears. Gwaiyu introduced the rest of the group to Jaron. The young investigator from Absalom came to the Hollow by way of Piren’s Bluff. He was on the trail of the document thief as well but ended up thrown in the debarker inside the Tent of Modern Wonders. Somehow he survived.

Jaron joined the group and Elmer, Sinya, and Juno departed. The three didn’t feel obligated to investigate the plot and decided to escort a caravan of refugees to safety instead.

The others loaded their horses and took a narrow dirt road south. Lemmywinks would lead the pack and they would be fueled by Gwaiyu’s bland magic food. Besides one good fight with a werewolf led pack of wolves the nine day trip was uneventful. Finally Chimeras Cove was in view.

Dwarfed by the bluffs behind and to either side, a dozen pathetic wooden buildings huddle along the shore within a small protective curve of the rocky coastline. Three imposing islands face the settlement through the fog. The largest, a nearly cubic block of stone, squats in the water like some stubborn beast. The second island sends columns of foam arcing high into the air with each breaker impacting its far side, focusing the onrushing wave into a vertical channel, and a sizzle echoes across the cove as the spray returns to the sea. The last and smallest island is remarkable only for its silhouette: two pointed boulders near its crest give it the look of a horned animal head.

Approaching from the east was a big burly man wading through the tall grass. Targas was friendly and eager to talk, despite the massive axe he leaned on. He has a young face under a shaggy mop of hair. Targas sizes up the party quickly, and does his best to persuade them to assist him in liberating the village from its oppressors.

A troop of hobgoblins took over the village several months ago. Things have been getting progressively worse for the villagers. A few days ago they were rounded up and imprisoned in the boat house with several guards. Targas claimed to have killed about half of the hobgoblins over the months but that still left around twenty. Maybe half of them marched off into the woods earlier to hunt or look for him.

The group was quick to offer to free the townsfolk and he offered to watch for the returning hobgoblins and keep their horses safe.

This long and narrow building, easily the largest in the modest village, stretches sixty feet long and twenty-five feet wide. Simple wooden planks comprise its walls, unbroken by windows. While its front entrance is at ground level, its far end extends out over a drop off into the choppy waters of the cove, supported by thin wooden pilings. A narrow dock, tethered to the supports with stout lines, bangs back and forth against them in the chop below the overhang, and two of the pilings sport regularly spaced horizontal planks, which likely serve as ladders to allow access to the dock from the building. Apparently much of the floor of the extended section is open to the water below, as the keels of three boats, slowly swinging from side to side, are visible below the bottom of
the building’s walls. It appears that the villagers haul their boats out of the water when they are not in use, rather than trusting them to the waters of the cove.

They decided on a bold plan of attack. Gwaiyu and Jaron altered self into gillmen and the other three waited outside the large doors. The gillmen swam around and entered the boathouse from the cove. Jaron was invisible and climbed out of the water. The boathouse was full. There were ten hobgoblins and 23 village prisoners. All but 3 were bound. Gwaiyu swam among the pilings under the floor. Jaron wound through the crowd and lifted the bar from the door. He threw it open and the fight began.

Balinda and Lemmywinks stepped up and cast spells. Three hobgoblins dropped into a magic spiked pit and another two fell unconscious under a color spray. Jaron, Gwaiyu, and Cromag began attackig conventionally. The hobgoblins fought back hard and were not the easy opponents they expected. The fight dragged on but the hobgoblins were losing.

Cromag stayed near the door and Balinda remained outside. Gwaiyu and Jaron waded deeper into the boathouse and fought hobgoblins among the prisoners. Lemmywinks crossed the building and hopped up on a table. She launched lead projectiles from there. Towards the end two tried to escape out the boat entrance and were pursued by Jaron and Lemmy. The hobgoblins jumped into the water but they were not swimmers. They ended up drowning instead.

On the other side of the building Cromag was in a rage and nearly dead. The initial spells began wearing off. First the unconscious foes that had been color sprayed began to twitch. Then the pit disappeared. Two of the soldier goblins where out but two of the leaders in breastplates were still up.

Cromag fell to the ground and grew pale. He was near death but Gwaiyu stepped up and saved him in the nick of time. The dwarf’s eyes opened. Shortly after the last couple of hobgoblins finally fell.

They determined that the four hobgoblins wearing breastplates were experienced fighters and it took a lot to bring them down. The assault succeeded though and the villagers were freed.

The hobgoblin mercenaries’ gear was passed out to the grateful villagers.

XP: 1700

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Carnival of Tears: Aftermath

Half of the township perishes in the massacre. The early snow and ice melt away quickly, but the torment and slaughter visited upon Falcon’s Hollow is never forgotten. In the days that followed 716 deaths are recorded.

Tessa Kelrand: Although freed from her torment, Tessa is forever changed by her harrowing experience. She becomes a cold woman, stern, and quick to judge others. She grows to despise Namdrin for his weakness of love and falling for the cold rider’s duplicitous plan. She leaves the half-elf shadowdancer, regretting her involvement with him, and now seeks a companion unswayed by heady emotions—far more practical, and even iron-handed in the pursuit of law and control.

Namdrin Quinn: When his love leaves him, Namdrin is crushed perhaps even more than when the cold rider took her from his side. He becomes a dangerous man, as fiery as his mistress has turned cold, prone to violent outbursts and nights of drunken revelry given way to brawls and street battles. He soaks his pain in alcohol and soon befriends Kabran Bloodeye. He still loves Tessa fiercely, although he won’t admit it and pretends to despise her. He sometimes clashes with Thuldrin Kreed. A fight with lumber tycoon could very well tear apart what is left of Falcon’s Hollow.

Thuldrin Kreed, Gavel of the Lumber Consortium had been at the peep show and had been rescued by Kabran Bloodeye. The Lumber Consortium is done in this town until something changes and the company store was soon looted. Nobody believes it was fey. Thuldrin Kreed harnesses the rage at the fey’s attack on the town to galvanize his place at the helm of the town by calling upon the townsfolk to hunt down the fey and slaughter them to the last. He is trying to organize the survivors but most are in shock or making plans to leave or looting the places of the recently dead. Thuldrin has big dreams of being elected mayor of Falcon’s Hollow in the settlement’s first organized election, and he uses the people’s hatred of the fey as a rallying point. Although he finds broad agreement, there are no volunteers to join the fight

Boss Payden “Pay Day” Teedum, Overboss of the Lumber Consortium. Was last seen in the strong ale tent.

Kabran Bloodeye. The kingpin of Falcon’s Hollow’s underworld survived. He escaped the peep show at the start of the horror and fled the carnival with Thuldrin in tow. He lost every employee though and is spending his time within the fortifications on the mott with Thuldrin Kreed. The big half orc might be taking over for Payden Teedum.

Magistrate Vamros Harg’s body was found disemboweled. The halfling was tied spread eagle to a small booth. Perhaps he was singled out due to his position in the town or perhaps the sorceror had not fallen under they Eye’s influence and fought back.

Sheriff Deldrin Baleson is missing but a pig wearing his flannel was found.

Lady Cirthana, the cleric of Iomedae survived because she retired from the carnival before the evil fey took over.

Laurel the herbalist survived the night. When the Eye was destroyed she was at the ice carving contest. Her enjoyment turned to horror when she saw things as they truly were. She has rarely left her shop since. Lemmy says she is packing.

Syntira, the Nymph Queen and her fey are blamed for the cold rider’s assault on Falcon’s Hollow. Lately, Syntira’s control over the fey of Darkmoon Vale has begun to slip. Anger grips the heart of her once jovial subjects—anger at the logging; anger at their inability to stop the humans; and even anger occasionally at Syntira, who had a change of heart to try to work with the humans to strike some sort of balance in the region. The icy-hearted Witch Queen’s servants and agitators continue to rile the fey of Darkmoon Wood.

Ambrosia. Syntira’s younger sister and a newfound thorn in the queen’s side, Ambrosia recently put aside her love of beauty and kindness in favor of malice and cruelty. Now a sadistic and cold-hearted fey, Ambrosia takes whatever opportunity she can to harm lumberjacks and other humans she comes across. She may be allied with the Witch Queen.

The group spends a few days to recover from the horror that was the Carnival of Tears. Lemmywinks helps out at Roots and Remedies. Gwaiyu begins the next day by curing Balinda’s blindness and removing curses from Cromag. Then he and the cleric Cirthana are very busy with taking care of the surviving townsfolk and performing burial rites. During this time they are introduced to someone called Largus.

Largus is a war priest of Torag that arrived from the north. He guided a small contingent from Lastwall to the area. He was with another group of adventurers that early this year had saved the town and later discovered some really evil stuff beneath the ground not far from the ruined monastery. He had parted ways from his group to warn the Knights of Ozem. He was also named a Viscount of something called The Guild. After learning about the Carnival of Tears, he suggested they seem perfect for The Guild and wrote them a letter of introduction.

The woods become a source of terror to most of the hollow’s residents and the entire settlement begins to falter. No amount of intimidation can force the lumberjacks back into the shaded glens, and soon Thuldrin Kreed’s empire begins to collapse. Survivors abandon Falcon’s Hollow in droves, until the ramshackle settlement is little more than a ghost town, prowled by the tormented spirits who lost their lives at the Carnival of Tears (as it henceforth called). Slowly, the land heals and reclaims the stretch of ground cleared by greed and axes, but the vines and trees of Darkmoon are forever infected with evil. The fey wage a war among their own kind, and a cold spreads down from the north, even shrouding summer months in frost and wind.

The Heroes of the Hollow don’t forget the Sheriff’s last directive. He had wished there were some heroes that could look into the mysterious note that seems to indicate a Chelish plot against Andoran. They pack their belongings and saddle their animals for the long trip south. It’s good to be leaving Falcon’s Hollow. Winter is coming.

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Carnival of Tears: The Hunt

Namdrin looks looks at each of them and back at his wagon. “Will someone stay behind to watch my sweet Tessa?” he asks. Sinya and Juno volunteer and step into the wagon locking the door behind them. He looks at the rest and tells them to keep the wand of cures for now because they will probably need it more. He asks what they have done and seen so far and listens thoughtfully. “We must find or draw out the Cold Rider, I do not know which. Continue on as you have stopping these evil fey. I will look for the master. If he is here I will draw us together, if he is not I will rejoin you and cut down these evil creatures until he shows himself.” He sniffs the air. “Those pies don’t smell right. Check that out first.”

Namdrin ran off into the night and the spellcasters among them looked around and pulled out their spellbooks or started praying. Each had become a little more capable in the magical arts and each memorized some new spells. With one of his Gwaiyu removed his glass bones curse. Only then did they follow their noses.

The putrid scent of offal mixed with delicious fresh-baked pastry wafts by, drifting from a tent near the river. Waving high in the air above it, a blue silk banner beckons “Biggy-Piggy Pie-Eating Contest!” in bright gold letters. Beneath the banner sits a twenty-foot-long table covered with a red-checkered tablecloth. Seated at a bench before the table, twelve local contestants eagerly stare at the tremendous steaming pies placed before them. With napkins tucked into their shirts and their hands tied behind their backs, they await the signal to begin. Near the table, a wooden sign staked into the ground reads, “Entrance Fee: 2 Coppers, Winner Gets Fat Prize!” To the left of the table, the event’s sponsor,a corpulent anthropomorphic hog, emerges from behind a wheeled cart bearing the weight of a coal-burning oven. With a bellowing voice that compliments his immense rotundness, the pie chef yells, “Begin!” Within seconds, contestants’ faces greedily plunge into the fresh-baked pies as they slobber and gnash their way to victory.

The chef happily fills new pie crusts with a strange device that looks like a giant butter churn attached to a pinning wheel with a big foot pedal. In the front of the churning chamber, a metal spigot attaches to a 10-foot hose. When the pie chef stomps the pedal, steam shoots out the top of the churn as gouts of pie filling erupt from the hose.

The Master of Ceremonies happily feeds contestants slop-filled pies packed with diseased and rotten entrails. Behind his tent graze a dozen or so pigs, all of whom are wearing some human clothing. You realize that these must be previous pie-eating-contest winners, horribly transformed by the chef as a reward for being the biggest pigs. The Swinomancer appears as an obscenely obese humanoid with bright pink flesh, porcine features and a tremendous smile. He wears a double-breasted white chef ’s jacket with checkered cuffs and golden epaulets, black and white checked pants, and a floppy white chef ’s hat. There was currently a little sprite hovering in front of him.

The winged fairy took off at their approach. It and the chef eyed them. Balinda taunted it and the chef responded by shooting her with a scorching ray. She was blasted in the chest. Gwaiyu ran past the tables and onto the raised competitor platform. Elmer ran halfway and launched an arrow that missed. The swinomancer stepped back and spewed a magical grease on the ground but Gwaiyu did not fall. Lemmywinks jumped on a table and send a sling bullet that also missed. And Balinda ran to the platform.

Gwaiyu hopped over to the countertop and then the kitchen stairs to get out of the grease. He also bashed the pig man who reeled. Elmer ran up from the other side and cut the chef deep. Elmer resisted the reduce person cast at him. Lemmywinks hit him with a couple projectiles while Balinda began knocking pies off the table and yelling that there was a winner. The swinomancer’s next spell fizzled and he collapsed under a barrage of blows. Balinda continued knocking pies onto the ground and the crowd began so disperse.

That was interesting.

They quickly marched off toward the Menagerie of Freaks looking for more fey to disrupt. In the deserted area by the grig’s stage they saw a swarm of flying fey creatures vectoring in on them. There were four glowing sprites with bows, two half elf half rabbits called pookas running through the air, and four very small strange fairies. The last were identified as tooth fairies and they were coming to do some dental work. The party stopped and prepared themselves.

Gwaiyu cast prayer when they got within range and hampered them while benefiting his allies. Then Balinda through the Bead of Force taken from dead Prig. The wonderous item exploded in the fairy flock and obliterated all but the tiny elf rabbits. They continued until one was just above Elmer and the other above Balinda. They each blew a palmful of dust on their opponent. The dust didn’t have any effect.

The group ganged up on one of the pookas wore it down. The pooka’s hearts weren’t really in the fight any more and they took off. Before the injured one could escape it was shot out of the air. That fight was easy.

They looked around. This bandstand area was empty except for a few more bodies than last time. The Menagerie of Freaks still seemed abandoned. They could see the Titan’s Wheel was derelict. What was that south of the wheel though?

A buxom barmaid was pulling a small wagon holding a barrel. Atop the barrel was a jolly pixie yelling “Free Ale!”. There was a small crowd that didn’t notice the transformation of one of their members into a tree right next to them. And there was a line of new trees going back all the way to the Strong Ale tent. They had to stop that!

They approached the beer wagon like they wanted some. Elmer the country boy who really had been drinking stepped up and instead of taking the mug he snatched up Arran the pixie. The pixie was quite angry and struggled hard, buzzing like a hornet. He almost wiggled free. There was some debate on what to do next. Some folks took swings but they really needed weapons of cold iron to damage the creature. Gwaiyu had some silk rope. Maybe they could tie him up? But if it can slip away or change shape? Lemmywinks suggested drowning it in the beer. Everybody liked that idea so Gwaiyu smashed open the top of the mini-keg and Elmer plunged his hands into the magic-tree-ale.

There was a little bit of a struggle and Elmer lost his grip. He thrashed around in the ale trying to recapture the pixie. Arran unsuccessfully struggled to swim and accidentally gulped down some of the liquid. He started to transform into a little tree when Elmer grabbed him again. At last one little pixie hand broke the frothy surface reaching up into the air before it turned brown and sprouted a single leaf. The deed was done.

Now where to go? The Peep Show!

Signs sloppily painted in smears of brownish-red blood read “Free Peep Show!” Their arrows point to a pair of nondescript tents erected in the shadow of the wood, just beyond the ale tents. In front of the tents, fairgoers of all types line up before the entrance, bristling with excited anticipation to see what causes the bright flashes of light and horrified screams from within. Mangled in the branches of the nearby trees hang the bodies of several half-orcs, dancers, and a pair of foreign musicians, their mouths and eye sockets all stuffed with fresh daisies.

That did not look good so they sent Lemmywinks to line jump. She got inside but was spotted right away. Two dark ice brownies jumped her. Their claws scraped along her rose armor and she screamed. The halfling ran out of the tent followed closely by the brownies. Elmer and then Cromag (who was in line) smashed the pint sized evil when they appeared.

Lemmy told them it was a slaughterhouse inside there and she didn’t see any other fey but there was a beautiful dancing girl on the stage. Balinda went inside and recognized he dancer as a nymph, a nymph that reminded her of Syntira. Though there were living men inside the tent was an abattoir. Then the nymph danced closer and as he approached, men suddenly asked who turned out the lights. They it was Balinda’s turn. The nymph’s otherworldly beauty blinded her and she staggered outside the tent. The others began running around the outside hacking at the supporting guylines.

The nymph started casting. As they brought the tent down, the casting stopped and it was replaced with a primal roar. Then there were terrible noises. Inside a dire ape was rampaging among the men tearing them limb from limb. Under the influence of the Eye of Rapture the men thought it was all some erotic act in the darkness. The tent was down and began to smolder in he rear. The nymph never reappeared and eventually the dire ape popped out of existance. The rest of the men in line were disappointed that the show was over and they were packing up the tent. They wandered away.

Balinda was blind and it was decided to drop her off back with unconscious Tessa whom Sinya was guarding. They decided to make the most of the walk though and stop off at one more attraction on the way. There were only two options. The giant Tent of Modern Wonders and the ice carving contest. The tent was closer so they headed there first. They were intercepted.

A towering creature stalks the perimeter of the Tent of Modern Wonders. It looks like a hairless elf, slender and graceful, with long arms that end in sharp claws. Its skin is brown and woody and resembles tree bark. It wears clothes made of leaves and vines. It randomly plucking carnival attendees and violently thrusting them beneath the tent’s greasy canvas folds, where their hellish screams are mostly drowned out by the deafening grinding of the machinery within. Nothing walks from the tent’s exit. Instead, a dark fey brownie rakes piles of shredded flesh and ground bone into a shallow trench of bloody pulp that trickles down the hill and into the river.

The banaan pulled it’s battle axe as it approached and attacked Elmer. The fight was short and sweet as it was cut down by Elmer and Cromag with a little help from Lemmywinks. As that fight finished up Lemmywinks pointed to a huge flashing arrow in the sky over the frozen pond.

That was the sign from Namdrim that they were waiting for so all of them, even Balinda, ran around the large tent to the pond. Cromag made it out onto the ice first. Namdrin awaited them and was answering the challenge of the cold rider.

Striding out of the forest comes a horrifying creature of ice and bone mounted atop a rotting dead stag and clutching a tremendous icy glaive in one mighty gauntlet. Impressive antlers of jagged ice perch atop the rider’s helm, putting his stag’s to shame. At the center of the dread thing’s frost-laden breastplate sits a crystal of pure sapphire, glittering in the dancing light cast by the souls above. The cold rider stands on the frozen ice of the river and yells his challenge: “Heroes, those who would stand against the power of ice and the might of the north, come and face me, and face death!

It rode by Cromag drawing first blood with the icy glaive. Cromag moved and swung and returned the wound. Namdrim became invisible. Elmer and Gwaiyu joined them on the narrow patch of land midstream. It was connected to two wooden bridges to opposite banks and was the only place with out slippery footing. Elmer struck the undead stag and Gwaiyu swung and missed. The cold rider didn’t like the odds and galloped away. They could see him and his mount healing.

“You’re wasting my time.” the cold rider shouted before conjuring an ice storm to pummel them. Besides delivering hail and cold it made the terrain difficult to cross. And poor Lemmywinks had finally arrived just in time to be within range of the attack. And although nobody could see him, Namdrin also suffered.

When the worst of it cleared Namdrim cast haste and told them to make the most of it. Cromag crossed to the other shore and ran along it toward the cold rider. Gwaiyu channelled, healing the others. Blind Balinda remained behind asking her familiar what was going on.

The cold rider remained on the frozen pond healing and watching his adversaries. When Cromag reached the shore close to him, he blew the dwarf a good night kiss. Cromag fell over asleep. Gwaiyu was also on that side of the river and ran to wake him up. On the other side was Elmer and Lemmywinks behind him. Namdrim became visible and started an inspiring dance to raise their spirits.

The cold rider galloped passed Gwaiyu but missed the tiefling. Gwaiyu reached Cromag about the same time Luko the thrush did. He picked up the cold iron wand of shatter and tried to shatter the scintillating Eye of Rapture on the rider’s breast plate. It failed. Elmer changed direction and Lemmywinks pelted the fey with a couple more shots. Luke began waking up Cromag.

The group closed the distance on the cold rider again. Gwaiyu was the first to attack and he hit but the return blow from the glaive gutted him like a fish. The cleric toppled over backward unmoving. The the others arrived and then he had his mount cut out from under him. He landed gravefully and responded with chill metal of the four of them. All the time his giant antlers were trying and failing to grapple people. Namdrim caste cure light wounds on Gwaiyu and he twitched.

The battle continued on foot Cromag, Elmer, and Gwaiyu were all approaching unconsciousness when led pellets launched from across the pond struck the rider and dropped him. His eyes opened the next instant but then he was surrounded and pummeled and cut until it was clear he was destroyed. The Eye of Rapture melts away into nothingness. Countless pairs of eyes watch them. They screams of horror rise up from the townsfolk no longer enchanted. The see what is really going on around them. No fey is brave enough to approach them but they take no chances and expend most of the cure wand’s magic healing themselves. It takes about 3 minutes.

The fey withdraw into the forest. They have been defeated, for now, but the town might never recover.

XP
Cromag: 2020
Everyone Else: 3227

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