Remnants of Thassilon

Prequel
Characters meet

Kailea meets Dharma
Magnamar city guards Dharma Hildegarde and Jovat (Warrior Priest) patrol the streets in the evening in the vicinity of the Drunken Monkey Tavern.

Inside the tavern, Kailea Brightblade and her brigand friends are celebrating a recent “trade” gone well. Their jovial laughter and loud jokes bother the other patrons of the tavern, and have cleared their vicinity like a nerd making a bad science reference on a wiki post. Several of Kailea’s men valiantly try and fail to stay alert and pass out on the floor. Kailea, her first mate Peg-legged Bill, and Rory are left drinking and being boisterous by themselves.

A group of patrons approach the joyous group and tell Kailea in no uncertain terms that they disapprove of the recent “trades” that her crew has carried out. Declining her request to be left to drink in peace, a fight ensues.

As soon as the fists (and barstools) start flying, a very drunken dwarf on the other side of the dark room bellows “Bar Brawl!” and runs into the common room with his stumpy fists waving in front of him. He takes a swing at the first person he meets and misses hilariously. He takes another swing and completely passes out.

Kailea’s team very adeptly defend themselves against their attackers until the guards enter and demand the festivities to come to an end.
After Dharma jumps on a table and diplomatically convinces the room to calm down, the guards separate the two groups. Though the leader of the mercenaries is unconscious, her fellows claim that they were paid to rough up Kailea’s crew.

Dharma and Jovat agree to take in the leader of each group to lock-up overnight to cool off. Overnight, Dharma hears many tales of Kailea’s travels, causing inception-like thoughts to form in her mind of travel and adventure. As Kailea leaves, she invites Dharma to visit the town of Sandpoint at some point for some fun.

Kailea meets Olga
… Years later…
Kailea’s ship has been sunk and she walks toward Sandpoint. All she has are her clothes, her money, her whip and her falcon. She seeks a rapier for protection. When she arrives in Sandpoint, she goes to the Red Dog Smithy and enters while noticing the lazy but huge Mastiff dogs sitting out front.

Dos, the owner, grumps and complains about how difficult it would be to make a left-handed rapier. However, when his dwarf assistant Olga Söldrif enters with her arms full of scrap metal, she takes on the job happily. Kailea retires to the Rusty Dragon Inn to wait for her blade to be finished. She spends her evenings listening to the amazing songs and tales of the former adventurer, Ameiko Kaijitsu.

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Swallowtail Festival
Awaiting the Festival

The sleepy port town of Sandpoint began to see the influx of visitors a few days before the Swallowtail festival. A celebration of the new cathedral, the release of thousands of Swallowtails would mark a day of festivities.

Dharma Hildegarde was eager to be away from the mundane duties of Paladin life in the nearby city of Magnamar and hoped to find some real evil to vanquish in Sandpoint. She comes into view of Sandpoint in the early afternoon. As she crosses the bridge into town, she meets a dwarf who greets her gruffly while eating a sandwich on the bridge. After a cheerful conversation (on Dharma’s part, at least), she continues in to the extraordinarily welcoming city. She checks in with Garridan, the man running the White Deer Inn (said to be a slightly classier establishment than the Rusty Dragon Inn that she passed on her way in).

Dharma visits the new local Cathedral. It is primarily dedicated to Desna, of whom the festival this coming week will be celebrating. Also in the Cathedral are shrines dedicated to Arastil, Shelan, Sarenrae, Abradar, and Gozra. Dharma gives her prayers to Sarenrae and departs.

The crazy witch Sereca Squall had been making more frequent visits to the town’s harbor in her canoe, trying to trade her odd assortment of animals. She had become curious about the increased traffic in town for the festival and was able to banter with Olga and Dharma as she passed them on the riverside. She then departs from her usual place in her canoe at the docks and makes her way to the Cathedral. She has heard that there is a festival celebrating Desna and that many butterflies will be released during the festival.

She meets several of the priests, including an irate Brother Xavier and an understanding and very patient (which one would have to be to speak to Squall for any length of time) Father Zantus, the head of the order. She expresses her curiosity about the butterflies in no uncertain terms until finally, Brother Eadit informs her that Brother Xavier will be bringing her a Butterfly in a lovely clay pot. During her wait, (which takes place outside in the rear of the cathedral, to the relief of the regular patrons) she meets the gamekeeper, a hunched man limping around the graves of the cemetery grumbling and tidying up.

A couple weeks earlier, the swashbuckling Kaielea Brightblade had arrived in town looking like a wet cat and in search of some new cohorts. She was employing Olga’s smithing skills to fashion her a new sword. She decides that enough time has passed and that her blade must be ready. Excitedly, she returns to the Red Dog Smithy and meets with Olga, who hands over the blade. Kailea approves of the weapon but disapproves of Olga’s attempt to seal the deal with a spit-laden palm. Dos, the owner, tells her she is a fool to turn down Dwarf Spit.

Once Squall returns to her boat, she attempts to speak to the beautiful swallowtail butterflies she has been given. She asks them where the rest of their brethren are held. They talk about light and not much else. Their intelligence is a bit lower than she was expecting.

In town, it is noted that the Sandpoint Theater will soon be hosting a big show called The Harpies’ Curse. The lead actor is even from Magnamar!

Dharma roams around town and eventually reaches the dock where she sees an extremely interesting old woman in a boat with many cages of animals. She bespeaks the kind lady and learns her name, Squall and that of her beautiful tame owl, Zephyr.

When Squall kindly throws a rat at Dharma (which survives, strange enough), she is shocked to learn that the local deckhands have a bet going around on how many rats the old crone will throw in a day. Olga shows up briefly to check on the status of her own bet. Satisfied with what she hears, she proclaims, “Never bet against a Dwarf!”

On the day of the Festival, Young Mayor Deverin gives the first speech of the day, which includes some jokes that get a bit of a chuckle from the crowd. Sherriff Hemlock gives his usual speech about safety during the festival. Steward Akdrocus(sp?) who runs the theater enthusiastically tells a story about how the town raised enough funds to rebuild the cathedral after the dreadful fire that destroyed the previous one. He, of course, informs the crowd of the new play, Harpies’ Curse that will be playing soon. He also informs the excited crowd that Avesera, the famous actress from Magnamar will be playing the Harpy Queen! Father Zantus then gives a short prayer and tells everyone to have fun and to be back at the town square at noon for the commemoration!

Noon arrives, and the townsfolk gather around the square. Zantos speaks a beautiful parable about Desna and mentions the Tavern Competition of which there will be free lunch for everyone! Of course, everyone knows that Ameiko Kaijitsu, owner of the Red Dragon Inn has the most awesome food; Curry-spiced Salmon, Early-dropped Mead, yummm! Dharma checks out the local wares, buying a few mini-thunderstones. Olga eats to her heart’s content and stocks up on supplies. Squall approaches the wagon formerly full of butterflies (they had been released during the festival) sneakily. Kailea enjoys the festivities with an always wary eye.

At Sunset, the ceremony is about to start. Father Zantus throws a full-sized thunderstone, sending out a humongous BOOM across the crowd. Everyone’s attention becomes riveted to the stage. A stray dog wakes suddenly from its peaceful slumber beneath the butterfly wagon.

As Father Zantus begins to speak, sudden screams cut through the crowd. A strange tittering, screeching sound begins and a low dark shape runs through the crowd and over to the dog beneath the wagon. Slitting its throat, the creature looks at the crowd for its next victim as an eerie sound of high-pitched voices singing begins to approach the square.

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Goblins Attack Sandpoint!
Fuck Your Musk!

At the festival which has just been interrupted by GOBLINS!

The goblin who just killed the poor local dog slashes at a civilian and then runs to the buffet table and stuffs its face. Sereca Squall tosses a ball of light at the goblin who bats it aside and leaps on it on the ground (at Olga’s Command). Olga tosses acid at the goblin but misses. Dharma runs up to the goblin and completely misses it with her sword, which slams into the buffet table. While trying to yank the sword out of the wood, another goblin critically slashes her arm.

Many goblins are in the square now, attacking civilians. The fallen goblin gets up and chases a dwarf. Many chittering little goblins get slashed by brave swords. Squall throttles a goblin to death after Dharma cuts its arm off. Squall, Olga, Kailea, and Dharma run after a goblin chasing the poor frightened dwarf. Kailea gracefully wiffs past the goblin’s head with her blade, cursing all the while. Squall commands Zephyr to grab the goblin’s little knife as Olga slams her axe into the goblin. The owl grabs the weapon and the goblin cries miserably. Kailea then skewers the goblin on her brand new blade.

In the brief lull between battles, Father Zantus gratefully heals the wounds of the adventurers. Squall offers her virtuous blessings to all.

Suddenly, 5 goblins come around the corner. A hideous, singing goblin with a whip is keening the horrible song that has been spurring all the goblins on. Dharma foolishly rushes into the fray, Smiting the goblin bard and gets surrounded by goblins who attempt to burn her cloak off. Olga rolls her eyes and tosses a vial of Harpy Musk onto the ground. A fog of musk spreads and scares the shit out of all the goblins (they, of course, being frightened of harpies).

The paladin catches fire and, in her first intelligent move of the day, runs away from the crowd of goblins. Kailea patiently heals her and Olga helps to put the fire out. Goblins rush up to the group and set Kailea on fire. Sereca summons a fierce spirit owl that attackes the goblins. She also dazzles a goblin with one of her flares. Dharma finally earns her keep and snaps a neck of one goblin, then cuts the goblin bard’s skull in two with her blade. The last goblin practically shits himself and runs away in fear. Squall sends Zephyr after the goblin, and follows it (with Dharma racing after). After rightfully looting the bodies, the others follow.

After realizing she won’t be able to catch up to the goblin, Squall calls back her bird. The party takes a breather and heals. When they catch their breath, they hear a scream by the Northern Gate. The members of the party look at each other, grimace, and rush toward the sound.

Turning a corner in view of the White Deer Inn, the group spies a goblin riding a goblin dog, which is attacking a valiant hound defending its owner (who hides behind a barrel). 4 other goblins cheer as the dog dies and they run to poke at the body in glee. The paladin, who apparently learned nothing from her previous experience, rushes in and completely wiffs with her longsword over the heads of all the goblins. Squall sends Zephyr to find a dog. Kailea pulls out her whip and trips up one of the goblins. A fight ensues and goblins die!

Dharma eventually destroys the goblin dog and its rider. Meanwhile a very stupid goblin critically injures itself several times trying to get to the man hiding behind the barrel. Soon, Zephyr returns being chased by an excited dog. The last two goblins run in fear and are cornered. One is knocked unconscious and the other is tied up and questioned. The group learns that the goblin on the rat-like goblin dog was of the Mosswood tribe, and that a week or two previously, a large humanoid told the goblins to carry out the raid.

The man hiding behind the barrel turns out to be a nobleman by the name of Aldern Foxglove. He charms Dharma and thanks the party for their help. He offers a reward, to be delivered at the Rusty Dragon Inn, where he is staying.

The party drops the goblins off at the barracks. They meet the guard, who is of the same tribe as Squall (though this does little to earn his favor). He guarantees that the goblins will not be harmed on his watch but sternly recommends that Squall return the dog that she lured away from its owner, the butcher.

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After the Attack
Boar Hunting!

IN PROGRESS

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Detecting Evil in Sandpoint
Up your ass with molten glass

In the morning the heroes attend a meeting in the Mayor’s office. Besides Mayor Deverin and Sheriff Hemlock, the elf ranger Shelaelu is also in attendance. She tells everyone of increased goblin activity throughout the area. Most troubling is the apparent cooperation between goblin tribes, something no one can recall happening in the past. Shelaelu lectures for a while about goblin tribes and the so called goblin “heroes.” [details? anyone?] Then it is decided that the ranger will go back in the field and try to learn more, while sheriff Hemlock and a few of the town gurad will travel to Magnamar to try and recruit more fighters to defend the town. The heroes agree to stay in Sandpoint until his return, to bolster the depleted town defense force. They are made honorary town guards and promised a retainer.

The heroes first action as town defenders is to conduct a through search of the town, looking for more goblin hideouts or secret tunnels. Aided by Dharma’s uncanny ability to sense evil, they quickly give most of the town the all clear, with the exception of a seedy tavern [name? anyone?], the town’s alchemy shop, and the town glassworks. Although the evil in the bar and the shop is of the human variety, and for now beyond the party’s jurisdiction, the evil in the suspiciously closed and shuttered glassworks is different. Squall quietly scales the roof and peers though the skylight. Goblins!

After seeking in vain the glasworks owner the heroes decide to investigate anyway. With the mayor’s blessing, they grab a couple of town guards and set up their breach plan. Squall and a town guard climb the roof and set up at each of the skylights, a bottle of Olga’s harpy musk in hand. The rest line up in pairs by the low windows on back side of the building. The attack begins. Olga and Kailea smash the windows and move aside to let Dharma and the town guard clear the glass shards and climb in. Inside, the goblins are already frantic from the sudden attack, the terrifying musk of harpy, and Squall’s riding dog barking outside. Without proper weapons the goblins are not much of a threat, and they are quickly dispatched. The heroes look over a grim scene. The partly eaten bodies of the glassworks employees are not even the worst of it. In front of the main furnace, in a big wooden chair, sits the owner of the glassworks, Longinko Kaijitsu, completely ensconced in poured glass!

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Below the glassworks
Splinters and Arrows

As the dust and glass shards settle in the main working area, the heroes take stock. The only one wounded is, as usual, Dharma, and she is grateful for a touch of Kaielea’s healing magic. Granny Squall is nervous, fearing more goblins may rush in from the other rooms, but after a few moments it becomes clear the fight is over, for now. Squall jumps through the skylight to join the party, a town guard is sent to report the situation, and the party begins to methodically search the building.

Outside the main working area the damage is minimal. A dormitory is found with blood splatters all over the walls. The glass-workers were apparently killed in their beds. Nothing more of note is found in the main level. The party moves down to the basement.

Most of the rooms are empty, but two doors are locked. Fearing that survivors may be hiding inside, possibly injured, the heroes of Sandpoint decide to break down the doors. The first door takes three blows from Olga’s warhammer before tearing open, and as soon as it does, an arrow comes flying out and embeds itself painfully in Olga’s shoulder. Inside the room, a drunk half-elf stands behind a sturdy desk, already knocking a second arrow in his shortbow.

Kaielea jumps in the room and gives the drunkard a heavy rap on the noggin’ with the butt of her sword. He staggers but stays on his feet. Dropping his bow, the half-elf turns out to be even deadlier with his fists. He slaps Olga and Kaielea around a couple of times before Dharma’s diplomatic words finally register, and he agrees to stand down and answer some questions.

Unfortunately for the half-elf, he is not a very good liar, at least not while inebriated. He tries to pass himself off first as a glass-worker, then as a smuggler, revealing that there is a secret tunnel leading from the next room to outside of town, but no one is buying it. When Olga asks him if he was using that secret tunnel to smuggle dead priests he protests a little too quickly. He also seems terrified of the idea of being handed over to the town guard, which is nevertheless to be his fate. The poor man is subjected to a confusing mix of Dharma’s sensible diplomacy and Squall’s menacing yells and spells, and finally clams down and the parlee is over.

Leading the tied up prisoner upstairs, the party finds that a contingent of guards, as well as the mayor, have arrived to inspect the scene. The townsfolk immediately recognize the prisoner and realizing this he tries to make a run for it, but doesn’t get very far before Kaielea’s whip trips him. It seems the party has captured Suto Kaijitsu, son of the late glassworks owner, Longinko Kaijitsu. Suto offers no explanation as to the circumstance of his return to town, and its possible connection with the goblin raid. He is taken away to the barracks-turned-jail and the party volunteers to investigate the secret tunnel.

Going back downstairs, the heroes complete their search of the basement level, finding nothing of note, then head into the tunnel. A town guard is posted at the tunnel entrance until further notice.

The tunnel is narrow, and the party walks single file for a while before reaching a dead end! The tunnel appears to have ended, with nothing but a sold wall ahead. But the heroes are not fooled. They suspect there must be a way through, and after searching for a long time Olga finally realizes that the “wall” can be pushed to one side. Beyond the cleverly concealed door on wheels is a cave opening, looking out on the bay.

The cave is empty now although evidence of goblin activity are everywhere. Two tunnels lead on. The party chooses the one leading south, back towards the town. They follow the tunnel, past a brick wall that at one time must have blocked passage but has since been broken through. A little ways past the wall they come to an opening in the tunnel wall, that turns into a small chamber. Peering inside they are startled to see a horrible looking monster. With long sharp nails on its claw like hands, and a two pronged mouth full of razor sharp teeth, the creature is like nothing the heroes have ever seen. Kaielea, however, have read about such creatures, and inform the party this is a sinspawn, a breed of monster known to have inhabited this area in ancient times. The history lesson is cut short though, when the sinspawn shrieks and attacks. Olga tries her mind controlling magic but finds that the creature has no mind worth controlling. The sinspawn engages the party in the narrow tunnel. Its vicious nails give Kaielea a nasty boob gash, and an unexplained feeling of rage that prevents her from putting her sword to the best use. Kaielea decides to retreat and let Dharma take a swing at the monster. But before the paladin gets a chance to do much, a wonderfully fierce owl appears out of nowhere, summoned by Squall’s magic, and attaches its talons to the sinspawn’s shoulder. Struggling to free itself, the sinspawn takes a couple of hammer blows to the back, a few pecks and scratches from Squall’s other owl, Zephyr, and goes down for the count.

The heroes stand over the ugly remnant of Thassilon, three ominous words echo in all of their minds. “Re, Gener, Ation….”

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Alarming discoveries
Is that a horn on your head or are you happy to see me?

The heroes stand quietly above the body of the sinspawn, wondering if it is really dead. In a few seconds they see the monster’s wounds start to heal. Frantically,Kaielea Brightblade unzips the creature’s belly with her sword as Olga Söldrif melts its face an acid dart. They stand and watch anxiously, but the sinspawn seems to be dead for good now.

Finding nothing of interest in the sinspawn’s cave, they move on down the tunnel. More rooms open up to the right. Some are carefully carved out of the stone, with proper doors built in them. Someone has been busy down here. At the end of a short corridor they can see a flight of stairs, going up.

The party continues to investigate. In a small room they come across a stone statue a beautiful, and strangely furious looking female, holding a long pole arm. Kaielea helps herself to the weapon, which Olga informs her is a ranseur, and a nice one too.

Listening at one closed door they can hear low breathing. Dharma Hildegarde Kaielea and Olga want to investigate but Sereca Squall is either afraid or else she doesn’t care what’s on the other side. To humor the others she starts to blindly cast lightning under the door, but when they whisper at her to stop, who knows what is in there, she is fed up and storms away.

Left with no choice the others follow. Squall climbs the stairs to find another door blocking the way. Since there is probably evil behind this door too, she turns back again. Scouting the tunnels some more, the party comes to a larger room, with a strange looking altar on a dais. The altar is full of dirty looking water and, Dharma informs them, strong evil is emanating from it. The only other exit from this room is through another closed door. So Squall is once again turned away. Since it is getting late, they all agree to go back to town and figure out their next step there.

Back in town, the heroes pay a visit to the prisoner. The half-elf isn’t talking. The guard informs them he hasn’t said a word to anyone. He points them to a box of the prisoner’s belongings, which include some coin, assorted loot, and Suto’s journal. The journal is a frightening record of what appears to be a plan to overrun Sandpoint with hundreds of goblins, and much worse! In his journal, Suto alludes to a ritual involving the dug up corpse of father Tobin, and some sort of unholy resurrection of the priest’s daughter [name?] who died in the same temple fire. Quite the artist, Suto includes many drawings of [name], who he refers to as “his love”, in his journal. The later drawings feature not quite human appendages. Somethings, apparently, had not gone according to Suto’s plan.

As troubling as all this is, the most immediate worry is the planned attack on Sandpoint. It is clear that an army of monsters is assembling to attack the town, including goblins, bugbears, demons, and other “freaks.” The journal provides valuable information on the plan of attack (through the tunnels that open up in the glassworks and elsewhere, and by waterway) but is silent on the possible timing of the attack. The prisoner is likewise silent on the subject.

Seeing as there is nothing more they can do today, the heroes retire, praying that the attack not come that night. While eating their dinner at the Rusty Dragon, Ameiko Kaijitsu thanks them for capturing her brother before he was able to harm her. She shows them a note from Suto, slipped under her door that morning, asking her to come by the glassworks, but she has no theories as to his plan, and offers no explanation on the Kaijitsu family fallout beyond what is already common knowledge. Amiko agrees to try to speak to her brother in the morning, but warns the heroes against holding their hopes too high.

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Angry Birds
If a monster falls in the mist and there is no one to hear it, does it make a sound?

Over breakfast Amiko describes her attempt to get some information out of her brother Suto. She had limited success. He spoke of his planned attack on Sandpoint, not giving up a specific time but only the impression that preparations for the attack were not yet finished. He also seems to be expecting to be rescued from the town prison.

Based on this information, the heroes decide that the best course of action would be to continue to explore the caves under Sandpoint, to clear the monster threat from below and perhaps get more clues to the nature of the phantom menace. After readjusting the positioning of the town’s guards, already stretched thin, the heroes go into the caves to resume exploring.

The caves have plenty of tourist attractions. Behind one door the party finds a pair of sinspawn play fighting. Some real fighting then breaks out. A sinspawn is repeatedly tripped by dogs and whips. Zephyr loses a few feathers, but Dharma takes care of it by laying her hand on his mottled head. Kaielea and Dharma perfect a new sinspawn slaying technique – a shield bash to the head knocks it down, a sword to the throat coups it out of its gras.

The room the fighting took place in is, or rather was, a prison. Holding cells line up against the walls but they are empty save for some very old bones. There are more rooms to explore. A staircase leads down to a room with several pits, and a gravely voice that scares granny Squall quickly back up stairs, yelling at her to stay out. The heroes block the door with a heavy table. Another room has three stone doors that open to small cells, containing the remains of monstrous deformities. The doors are inscribed with the mysterious Thassilonian star symbol. Another room apparently used to be an arcane library, as evidenced by the tattered remains of ancient books.

In a small room with a central circular pool there are blood smears on the walls. As the heroes move across the room a green fleshy head with ear-wings flies out from behind a drape and shrieks. Everyone is startled, but unharmed, and a blow from Olga‘s hammer and Kaielea’s shield knocks it down. The poor thing coughs blood, tried to bite someone, and falls dead.

A spiral staircase goes up a short length then is blocked by collapsed walls.

Back in the room with the altar with evil looking water. Olga suspects it’s un-holy water. Large double doors open to a large room with torches on the walls, spiked runes of rage everywhere, doors on either side. A pool in the center with skulls on spikes. Stairs lead up to a pulpit area where a small winged creature wearing mage robes stands next to a small basin of churning water muttering angrily in Thassilonian. As the heroes enter the creature cuts her own wrist and drips some blood into the basin. Suddenly it all makes sense. A cathedral of senseless rage, blood magic and insane ramblings? It’s the church of PMS-ing bitches!

Before the heroes can offer sympathy however, the clawed hands of a sinapwn appear out of the basin. It’s time for a fight.

Squall springs into action. She rides her dog to the edge of the central pool, picks up a skull from one of the spikes, then rides up the stairs to the basin, jumps off and starts splashing freezing liquid everywhere, stopping for a moment only to cast a big cloud of fog that obscures half the room. The angry bird-bitch meanwhile takes to the air and, hovering like a hummingbird, starts casting spell after spell. An oozy creature is summoned next to Dharma and Kaielea, and a big toad is summoned next to the basin, where Olga and Squall, and Squall’s dog, are fighting the sinspawn. The angry bird peeks out of the fog, sees Dharma, and casts a spell that shatters Dharma’s sword to a thousand pieces. Unfazed, Dharma pimpslaps the goo monster to dazeness. Olga makes toad juice with her hammer and Dog has a taste of toad shank. Seeing that the basin cannot be emptied by a bailing skull, Olga and Squall decide to use good old fashioned sacrifice. When the toad is dropped in, a sinspawn climbs out and is unceremoniously dispatched.

The ooze monster disappears to its home plane. Dharma chucks spears, nowhere near the bird, then catches a fear spell in the face and runs around screaming for a few seconds. Out of spells and out of summoned allies, the angry bird floats out of reach throwing around a boomerang dagger. Squall dismisses the obscuring mist and sends Zephyr to “fetch” the magic dagger. Then sends Dog to attack the evil spellcaster flying away. The dog leaps off the balcony, jaws agape, but can’t quite make it and falls to the lower floot. Zephyr wrestles the dagger out of the evil bird’s hand and brings it to Dhamra.

Olga COMMANDS the angry bird to drop down and give her twenty, and it works! The heroes converge on the tiny prone creature and proceed to pound the floor around her with savage blows, stabs, jabs, and bites. Suddenly something connects! Dharma jabs the creature with its own dagger, hard. The wounded bird scratches Squall and her dog with poison claws and takes to the air again. Hovering above Dharma she loses her lunch on the young Paladin’s face, mutters a few magic words and vanishes! Dharma quickly throws the dagger towards the bird’s last known whereabouts. The dagger flies true and, with a thud, comes to a stop in mid air. The heroes follow the invisible creature’s blood trail out of the room as Zepher tracks it.

REDUX

Kaielea’s long legs are barely long enough to let her keep the flying creatures in sight, and she follows Zephyr, who is hopefully following the angry-bird, down the narrow corridors, back through the prison room. On her faithful riding dog, Squall follows closely, while Dharma and Olga lag behind, the Paladin moaning under her heavy armor, the Dwarf’s comically short legs moving fast but advancing slow.

As Kaielea and Squall enter the prison chamber, both birds are out of sight, but there is only one way out of the room. They rush into the torture chamber to find their makeshift barricade of the door to the lower levels disturbed but still standing. The demon was not strong enough to move it. She must be hiding in the next room, from which there is no escape! Seeing that the demon is cornered, Kaielea waits for the others to catch up. Squall arrives and rides her dog to battle. She opens the door and the angry-bird, visible again, attacks. No more spells, no more rituals, not even a flying dagger, but the demon’s poisoned claws are still plenty dangerous. Squall gets two more scratches and two more doses of poison. By the time Dharma gets to her side, the old druid is slumped on her dog, barley able to lift her head. Olga stands in the doorway, blocking the only escape route, while Dharma and Kaielea engage the angry-bird. The bard uses her whip to trip the flying demon and Dharma dives at the prone creature, dagger first. In the Good paladin’s hands, the blade seems to slip right through the demon’s tough hide, and she is mortally wounded. By now the heroes have learned to expect the ability of foul creatures in this dungeon to heal themselves quickly, so just to be sure, Dharma removes the evil bird’s head.

Turning around in triumph, the fighters find Olga busy treating a sickly looking Squall, a grim expression on her face. Amazingly, though the druid is barely able to move, she is busy taking care of her dog’s poisoned wounds. A few seconds later the Dwarf sighs in relief and informs them that the little druid is not in immediate danger of dying any longer. However, Squall is still very weak. The rest are also tired. The heroes decide to call it a day. This level is essentially clear, it’s time to go back to town.

Before going up though, they stop once more at the un-holy temple to deal with the sinspawn portal. It is almost out of whatever fuels it. Throwing a few foul smelling entrails into the basin, they quickly dispose of the emerging sinspawn, and see that the basin is now empty. One less thing to worry about.

Bruised and dirty, the heroes return to town and go straight to Father Zantus. He agrees to prepare some spells to fix their broken druid, taking in payment only the un-holy symbol looted from the demon priestess, which he says is the symbol of Lamashtu. The party then meets with the mayor to discuss the town’s defenses, and retire for the evening.

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Conjoined goblin myslexia

The next morning, while Squall goes to her cleric’s appointment, Kaielea the pointy eared human goes to sell the previous day’s loot and returns with an armful of gold coins. The human girls then go shopping while Olga hits the bookstore to find some information.

Dharma and Kaielea browse the local smithy. Dharma is measured for a new full-plate armor, and Kaielea, now paranoid about weapon shattering spells, ends up with four swords and four whips dangling from her wide leather belt. She is disappointed that the town’s weapon smith doesn’t carry a greatsword of high enough quality to her taste, and a messenger is dispatched to Magnimar to make sure one is purchased there for her.

Meanwhile, Olga looks over all the relevant books in the Curious Goblin, but comes up empty. Disappointed, she walks over the stables to consult the aging ranger who runs them. He doesn’t know much about demons, but suggests that Sybil, who runs the House of Bluestone establishment might know about such matters. Olga goes to meet Sybil, who reluctantly agrees to listen to a description of the demoness and confirms that it is indeed a Quasit. This is good news, one of Suto’s important allies is vanquished.

Olga returns to the Rusty Dragon, where Kaielea and Dharma are already drinking. Surprisingly, Dharma is drinking ale. Ameiko Kaijitsu had delivered a letter to the young paladin earlier, which had obviously put her in a bad mood, although she says nothing of it to her companions.

It is time to get back to work. The party treks easily through the empty tunnels, confident that they can handle anything still left in there. Their confidence is somewhat lowered though, when they come to the torture room and find their barricade removed, and the door to the lower level busted outwards.

Squall is sent to scout ahead. The elf hermit and her owl companion tiptoe down the stairs, and return to report: The room is well lit by torches lining the walls. Several pits on the floor are covered by rickety wooden lids, and sounds of moaning and shuffling come up from under them. And someone is home. Squall spotted a goblin-looking arm behind the doorway. Zephyr the owl saw it too, and claims it is attached to something bigger and scarier than a goblin. The heroes draw their weapons and line up in order of bravery, Kaielea, Dharma, Olga, and Squall, bringing up the rear with her dog and owl in tow. Olga tosses her signature vial of harpy musk into the room to signal the attack.

As the musk of harpy spreads in the room, a large and hideously deformed creature jumps out form behind the doorway, waving a sword in one hand and an axe in the other. And a dagger in the other! The obviously shaken creature opens its mouth, and with a sickening gurgle hurls a jet of nasty vomit at the perfectly lined heroes. The caustic liquid burns their skin, and the stench overwhelms squall, who is forced to stop and gag for a few seconds. Seeing his mistress in distress, Zephyr does what any loyal owl would, and flies in for the kill.

The goblonoid creature blocks the entrance to the room, until Dharma pushes it in just enough for both her and Kaielea to engage it at the same time. From behind them, they hear Olga’s now familiar magical mutterings and know help is on the way. Over their heads the screeching Zephyr darts beak first into the fray. But, with three weapon wielding arms, the goblonoid is able to fend off all three of them for a while. He clangs steel with Dharma and Kaielea, and knocks Zephyr out with a single blow.

The heroes press on the attack. A big dog, conjured by Olga’s magic, appears behind the goblonoid and bites it in the ass. Kaielea moves into the room, making way for Olga’s hammer to join the fight. The poor goblonoid is now facing four determined attackers. Dharma’s sword open up a long gash in its flank. With a crack of her whip, Kaielea trips it to the ground. Praying for her god’s blessing, Olga moves in and lands a crushing hammer blow on the creature’s rib cage. The mangled creature stands up, gurgling in pain. From behind, Squall’s trusty dog joins the fray, as the outraged elf, now recovered from her nausea, shoots colorful flares at the goblonoid, trying to aid her friends by distracting their opponent. Seeing that the fight is going well Olga steps back and uses her magic to stabilize the dying owl.

Dharma maneuvers around the goblonoid. As she steps on one of the wooden lids it gives way, and she crashes loudly into a deep pit. Sounds of moaning and slashing worry her friends for a few seconds, and then the paladin’s high voice rises out from below – “hey guys, there’s zombies in the pits!” She’s fine.

The others still have their hands full with the mutant goblin. The creature keeps throwing up on them. Olga and Kaielea get a dose of nausea but at last, between hammers and swords and flares, the poor creature is put out of its misery.

Looking over the disgusting battlefield, it seems the only badly injured ones are the animals. Olga uses her healing magic and no creature is in immediate danger of death, but poor Zephyr is still unconscious and is gently put inside a saddle bag carried by the still limping dog.

With everyone’s help, Dharma climbs out of the pit. The companions spend a few minutes playing Whack-A-Zombie until they realize there must be a better way. They use the wooden lids and some oil to make post-funeral pyres for all the zombies. After a short time, the moaning and shuffling cease.

One other door leads out of the zombie room. At the end of a short corridor, they come to a curious, round metal door, with a vault handle. The elf’s sensitive ears make out a soft hum from inside. They open the door to find a spherical chamber, with glowing metal walls. Strange runes appear on the walls only to vanish seconds later. Kaielea can make out Thassilonian words for “anger”, “wrath”, “revenge” and the likes. The Evil of this chamber overwhelms the young paladin, who is attuned to such things.

In the center of the room several objects are floating quietly in mid air. Using her whip Kaielea manages to fish them out. A magic scroll. A book containing images of demonic creatures, a wand, and a bottle of wine. Oh and a dead maggot ridden bird. The bird is non-magical.

Squall summons a flaming sphere that rolls around inside the chamber. Seeing that nothing happens, the elf maiden walks inside and floats around for a while. When she had her fun the companions close the door and stand to consider their options.

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A Game of Thorns

Back in the Rusty Dragon, Olga, Dharma, and Kaielea wait for Ameiko to prepare the bath. The smell of mutant goblin sick keeps most other patrons at bay, but one stranger approaches and introduces herself. Helia, a wandering sorceress in need of funds, wished to join the adventure for a share of the loot. The women discuss this in the bath and decide to let her tag along.

They all go together to pay a visit to Chask in The Curious Goblin. He helps them identify some of their loot. He doesn’t read Abyssal, but agrees to ask Sybil, who is a regular customer, to take a look at it the next time she visits. The heroes leave the book with him and go to the temple, in search of the two caravan guards Amiko said were looking for them.

They find the two men by the cliff near the temple. They explain that their caravan was attacked by goblin, who made off with a valuable black horse called Shadowmist. They promise the heroes a handsome sum if they can return the animal.

Meanwhile, Squall is scouting the road through Nettlewood. In the north part of the woods, on the coast overlooking a mysterious island with a skull-shaped mountain, she discovers a goblin fort made of thick brambles.

The following day Squall leads the others through Nettlewood to the goblin fort. It’s a long and troublesome trek through the forest. Thick vegetation slows their progress, and patches of Stinging Nettles are a constant hazard. Helia steps in one and gets a dose of the poisonous sap.

Finally, the group arrives at the goblin fort. They follow Squall in, through the narrow passages. They can hear goblins chattering about some fearsome creature they call Bunyip who lives in the Howling Hole and apparently feeds on goblin. The goblins really should be worried more about the group of heavily armed adventurers closing in on them.

The party approaches the goblin room, still unnoticed. Squall is in the lead. As they crawl stealthily towards the entrance, Olga hears a goblin say something about suspicious noises, and starts the attack.

Squall is in a perfect position to cover the entire chamber with magically animated brambles. Many of the goblins are entangled by nasty thorny vines. Those lucky enough to escape the vines charge out of the room to meet Dharma’s sword. Two of them lose their heads. Another goblin takes Kaielea’s Magic Missile to the chest and starts coughing blood. Suddenly, a Harpy’s shriek resonates through the tunnels. Helia smiles in satisfaction as a goblin screams and runs back in the vine filled room.

The swordswomen continue to engage goblin after goblin. Olga Commands a goblin to flee, and the confused creature starts climbing down the cliff in a mad attempt to escape. Squall peeks out and sees the goblin hanging on for dear life. Then, looking up, she notices a little thrush flying fast towards the island, apparently carrying something that looks like a necklace. As the thrush flies overhead, Squall’s charms convince it to abort its mission.

Olga commands a goblin to lie down at Dharma’s feet and get beheaded. The fleeing goblin comes to its senses and climbs back onto the cliff edge, only to be ripped apart by a wriggling thorny vine.

Only one goblin left alive. The terrified thing tries to hide in the brambles but Kaielea’s Magic Missile finds it. The fight is over.

Squall learns from the thrush that a druid goblin sent it with a message to a Big Goblin on a Big Chair. The pathetic warning message evokes some pity in Olga’s heart, but the goblins started the war and it is too late to stop now.

The heroes go in search of the druid goblin, Squall on top of the bramble canopy and the rest squeezing though its narrow tunnels. They discover a clearing with a nest of red-black hair, and another with tied up goblin dogs. In another larger opening they find a hole in the floor that opens to a sea cave. They keep following the tunnel until it forks: one way leading to a bridge to the island and the other leading to the clearing that Squall discovered scouting the area earlier. They hear noise inside. It must be the goblin druid.

They charge in. The goblin druid is waiting, with his firepelt leopard companion. The goblin druid mutters magical words and the floor and walls spout thorny vines that seek to entangle everyone. Dharma and Kaielea engage the big cat. Squall climbs down from the canopy and attacks the goblin druid from behind, who retreats into the thick of brambles. Olga conjures a magical floating hammer that proceeds to make swooshing sounds near the cat’s ears.

Squall follows the goblin into the brambles, relying on her intuition and asks the thrush for assistance. The bird chirps and hops its way through the brambles as Squall follows, reaching out and shooting electric bolts each time she gets close to the goblin. Meanwhile, Helia concentrates her mind in on the goblin’s magic presence and finally is able to pinpoint a location, firing Magic Missiles blindly into the brambles. Dharma and Kailea finish off the poor kitty and wait anxiously for Squall to report back. At last, the elf returns covered in blood and brambles with the dead goblin’s gear.

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