Erkonin (Campaign #1) [Session 46: Making Deals with Devils is Stupid as well as Bad]

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Session 41: Taman Gets His Vengeance

Dramatis Personae:
Orryk - Forest Gnome Monk (Way of the Four Elements, variant)/Wizard
Mo - Goliath Bard (College of Lore)
Fiona - Half-Elf Wizard (Evoker)/Cleric (Knowledge)
Taman - Human (variant) Rogue (Inquisitive)/Ranger (Horizon Walker)
Joybell - Forest Gnome Paladin (Oath of the Ancients)
Thneed - Wood Elf Ranger (Hunter Conclave)

GM - Everyone Else


18 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 108) (immediately after)

We began where we left off -- standing in a corridor inside a mountain looking into a huge room with 10 of the grues, a fomorian, a broken dilyarli female (Allina), and, most importantly, Ildna, the dilyarli who killed Taman’s family. The room had some pillars/joined up stalactites-stalagmites and a large double door at the far end. We could hear things coming up the hallway behind us and caught a glimpse of a couple of the manglers (the gribbly monster from Harl’s library) and a Skinless One (the thing from Tummeleen).

Orryk threw the last bead from the Necklace of Fireballs into the room to announce our presence (and kill three of the grues).

Then Taman stepped up to say something to Ildna.

Taman: At last we meet, for the first time, for the last time. You have slaughtered many, including my family, for unknown reasons. You will explain your motives now. The Knights of Luminosity will exact my revenge, and then we will destroy the Epiphany Machine.

(Taman's player: "The Knights of Luminosity" is a work in progress.
Joybell's player: I like it.)

Ildna: It came to me that by fulfilling their bargains, they were making the Tundra Queen stronger. And that’s not a good thing.

Then he slipped out of the room through the large doors at the far end. Joybell wished he’d stayed, because that’s an interesting concept and she’d have liked to talk with him more about that. She was expecting someone touched by the Outer Chaos to be totally gibbering and mad, but that’s not an inherently insane thought.

Anyway, he left, to Taman’s intense frustration and disappointment. So Taman put his hunter’s mark on Allina and shot her.

Joybell galloped in on Scooby, killing a grue and ending up behind one of the natural pillars in the room where Allina couldn’t see her. Mo moved into the room and viciously mocked a grue.

Mo: Hey, your balls are showing.

Then he inspired Taman.

Thneed moved into a room and took out a grue, then Allina moved up and shot her with her longbow.

The skinless one caught up to Fiona, just reaching her but not able to attack. She immediately misty-stepped away and ran behind one of the pillars. Then she firebolted Allina because she was one of the biggest threats in the room.

Three of the grues swarmed Joybell -- one of them got a critical hit. The fomorian also moved up on Joybell but then rather than attacking her, he gave Taman the evil eye, causing him psychic damage. Taman could feel his body starting to twist and cripple, but he shook off the effect.

The manglers ran into the room but weren’t able to attack anyone. Orryk threw the Bead of Force, trying to catch them both in a hamster ball, but they skipped out of the way. Orryk moved further away from them and sent Omnath around the side of the room out of danger for the moment.

Taman moved (dashing the last five feet) and attacked the fomorian, hitting because of Mo’s inspiration.

Joybell cast misty step on herself and Scooby to get out of the cluster of grues (and the fomorian) then charged Allina, hitting and smiting her twice.

Mo cast a hypnotic pattern on the skinless one and the two manglers, which hypnotized all three of them, at least for the moment neutralizing the threat from behind us. Then he ran toward a group of grues. Thneed shot one of them twice, but it survived her arrows.

Allina attacked Joybell and put her corrupting susurrations, the nasty whispers that aren’t an attack or a spell and just do psychic damage, on Taman and Mo. The whisper, and the ensuing mental pain, cause Mo to lose his concentration on the hypnotic pattern, so the manglers and the skinless one were once again free to attack.

Freed from the pretty lights, the skinless one rushed Thneed but couldn’t get to her. Fiona dropped a fireball on the manglers and the skinless one, then she ran around the pillar she was hiding behind before seeing how much damage she did.

Mo and Taman were attacked by the grues and the fomori turned to attack Taman. Taman’s good luck caused one of the blows to miss and the other just went wide.

One of the manglers ran at blinding speed to Mo and the other to Thneed. Then they extruded lots of bladed pseudopods or tentacles and attacked in a whirlwind. Mo took three hits for 39 points of damage, which he reduced with cutting words. Thneed was hit by five of the six tentacles from her mangler, taking 53 points of damage.

(Note: Deponent tries not to get that much into the details of a combat, but naughty word howdy that’s a lot of damage for one round!) (GM note: Two of those hits were crits, which goes some way to explaining how it was so much damage.)

Orryk moved up next to Thneed, with Omnath, and Omnath cast a fog cloud over Thneed, Mo, and the manglers. Then he used his elemental affinity, Patient Badger Waits, to sense the tremors in the earth from the manglers and attacked one of them -- stunning it with his stunning strike then hitting it again with his unarmed attack.

Orryk made it possible for Mo and Thneed to get away from the manglers safely, because the manglers wouldn’t be able to see to do an opportunity attack when they left.

Mo, after Taman repositioned himself and Joybell hit Allina twice, took advantage of the opportunity Orryk made and ran away, taking an opportunity attack from a couple of grues, but not from the mangler, then he cast a shatter spell back where he was, killing one of the grues and hurting the mangler. Thneed ran out of the fog cloud and killed the other grue Mo had run away from.

Allina attacked Joybell first with her sword, missing, and then with a breath of bitter cold, which also missed.

The skinless one moved toward Fiona and began to dodge and weave. Fiona ran away from it and then cast magic missile on it. The two remaining grues attacked - one came out of the fog cloud and attacked Mo, the other attacked Taman - both missed. The fomorian missed Taman because of another lucky break but then hit him again. Taman was able to dodge much of the damage from that.

The mangler that had been on Mo couldn’t see anyone or anything in the fog, but when it ran out of the fog it spotted Mo again and attacked. Fortunately it wasn’t able to do the whirling bladed pseudopod attack again, but it still hit twice and did a fair amount of damage.

Orryk pulled out the Mace of Smiting (from Turnik Steeltear’s hoard) and attacked the mangler he had stunned with it. He hit it twice with the mace and then punched it to death with his unarmed strike.

Taman disengaged from the fomori and ran away, throwing a dagger at Allina as he went. The surprise attack got through her defenses and did her a lot of damage. Joybell followed up with a hit -- she thought about drawing down power for a divine smite and decided against it. She immediately regretted that decision when Allina stood, staggered and bloodied and near to death at the end.

Mo cast a powerful shatter spell on the grue and the mangler immediately behind him. He inspired Orryk, hoping that Orryk would kill the monsters for him.

Mo: Please kill this thing.

Thneed moved her hunters mark to the skinned one and dropped it after two really terrifyingly solid hits.

Allina attacked Joybell, missing with her rapier twice but critically hitting with her chill breath despite the Cloak of Displacement. Fortunately, Joybell was able to resist much of the damage because of being a paladin.

Fiona shifted around behind her pillar so she could cast scorching ray, hitting the fomorian with it three times.

The fomorian moved to Mo, who was closer and not in cover.

Mo: That’s probably going to be unpleasant.

The fomorian hit Mo twice and even with Mo using his cutting words to reduce the damage, he dropped to the first attack. Orryk did something to lower the damage from the second attack so that Mo didn’t wind out with two failed death saves.

The mangler then moved to Orryk and attacked with the whirling bladed tentacle attack getting three hits but fortunately no crits. Orryk put the mace away and began to attack with his deathtouch gloves, getting some of his hitpoints back from the mangler with two hits, one because of Mo’s inspiration.

Omnath, with a healing potion on a belt at his waist, started flying toward Mo.

Taman attacked the last remaining grue, which had survived fireball and shatter and several attacks, and killed it finally. Joybell finally dropped Allina then rode over to the fomorian and smote it with her second attack.

Thneed put her hunters mark on the fomorian and then shot it.

Fiona cast healing word on Mo.

Fiona: Wake up, Mo!!

Then she firebolted the fomorian, but missed.

The fomorian then turned to Taman and attacked with his great club, hitting twice. Even with his uncanny ability to dodge damage, Taman was dropped.

The mangler attacked Orryk, fortunately just with two bladed pseudopods rather than six.

Mo, awake and still lying on the ground: Hey! Stop it!

His cutting words caused the mangler to miss with both of its attacks. Orryk then turned around and punched it with the deathtouch gloves, getting some strength back and dropping it.

Taman, dropped by the fomorian, lay on the ground and gurgled, a trickle of blood coming out of the corner of his mouth. Fortunately, Mo stood up and cast healing word on Taman before stabbing the fomori in the balls with his rapier.

With the fomorian the only remaining opponent, all of our attacks were focused there. Thneed shot at it. Joybell attacked with her short sword. Fiona cast a guiding bolt (which sadly missed). Orryk hit it twice with the deathtouch gloves, getting more of his strength back.

The fomorian turned to attack Mo, who had stood up too far away from Joybell for her to protect him with her shield, dropping him again. Taman moved right next to Joybell, so she could protect him, then attacked the giant as well.

Thneed and Fiona both hit the giant, Thneed with two arrows, Fiona with a ray from a Scorching Ray spell.

The fomorian attacked Orryk, who went invisible after the first hit. Despite that the fomorian’s second attack hit as well. Orryk immediately punched the fomorian with the deathtouch gloves, getting some of that strength back, then he too moved near Joybell. Omnath, who’d been crossing the battlefield for a few seconds, got to Mo and poured a healing potion into him.

Mobile medic to the rescue!

Taman attacked the giant, hitting well with his sneak attack, then disengaged and ran behind one of the pillars.

Joybell dropped the giant with her attack and actually remembered to do a healing word with the Sword of the Medic, healing Mo some.

We dragged the body of the fomorian in front of the double doors, blocking them shut, then Fiona made a tiny hut and we took a desperately needed short rest. Mo played us a song that helped us heal and rest better.

Looting the bodies, only Allina had anything at all and that was just a longbow, a rapier and 18 arrows, which were given to Theed (I believe).

After we finished our short rest, we dragged the dead fomorian away from the doors and proceeded through. There was a short hall with doors at the far end -- as we proceeded along it, Joybell talked with Taman about the possibility of casting an Aura of Vitality around herself.

Taman kicked open the double doors, which went into a large-ish room with no other exits. Most of the room looked like the same rock we’d been traveling through, but one corner looked pitted and weathered like it had been through a thousand years of freeze-thaw cycles -- with chips flaking off. Ildna stood in that corner.

Mo: Eureka! The Epiphany Machine!
Ildna: Not anymore, dammit.
Joybell: What does that mean?
Taman: It has abandoned you.
Ildna: It was here. Now it’s gone.
Taman: Did you know what deal my parents made with the Tundra Queen before you killed them.
Ildna: They promised <<then his words devolved into polyglot gibberish, each word and at times each syllable in a different language>>

Despite talking with Taman about casting Aura of Vitality as we approached the room, as soon as Ildna started talking in Outer Chaos Crazy Gibberish, Joybell charged him.

Joybell: We talked about it, but he’s there and needs attacking.

Her indecision affected her swings though, and she missed with both attacks. Fortunately, Thneed hit with both of her arrows. Joybell and Thneed both forgot to avert their eyes from Ildna’s gaze and began to feel cold freezing their bodies as they started to turn to ice.

Mo cast a faerie fire on Ildna, making him sparkle green, then he inspired Taman.

Mo: Make sure you kill him.

Ildna created his corrupting susurration, except instead of whispers, his were screaming in Thneed’s ears. Then he attacked Joybell with his rapier. He blew a chill breath on her and she could see that it was considerably stronger than Allina’s -- the water in the air turned immediately to tiny ice crystals which began falling to the ground. Fortunately, all of his attacks missed.

Orryk ran around behind Ildna then attacked with the mace of smiting -- he tried to stun it but it resisted the stunning effect. Omnath, now a magma mephit, cast heat metal on Ildna’s rapier. He immediately dropped the rapier.

Taman: I’ve saved something specially for you.

Then he pulled out a handful of salt from his pocket and threw it at Ildna’s eyes, to blind him and eliminate the ice-gaze but missed.

Fiona cast a high level scorching ray, hitting him with four of the five rays of fire. Ildna screamed when the fire touched him.

Despite the cold creeping over her, Joybell cast a searing smite and hit him, setting him on fire. Thneed hit him twice with her arrows, though her feet were frozen in place.

Mo inspired Thneed.

Mo: Stay toasty! Don’t freeze!

Then he shot Ildna with his crossbow and moved into the room.

Ildna started screaming in gibberish, and it hurt. Orryk, Joybell, Taman and Thneed all took psychic damage from the corrupting screaming gibberish. Thneed was dropped and immediately failed a death save.

Orryk closed his eyes and used his patient badger tremor sense to attack Ildna, hitting him and stunning him. Taman averted his eyes, put his hunters mark on Ildna and made a sneaky attack while Ildna’s attention was on Joybell and Orryk.

Fiona dropped a fireball on the cluster of combatants, shaping it around everyone except Ildna. Because of being stunned by Orryk’s strike, he was unable to do anything but scream as the fire burned into his icy flesh.

Joybell, fearing that she’d turn to ice with the Necklace of Prayer Beads on her, threw the beads to the ground then attacked, calling down a lot of divine energy on him. The furious energy warmed her and she shook off the freezing chill that had been overtaking her.

Mo took a shot with his crossbow from the other side of the room, then he inspired Joybell.

Mo: Please kill this guy for me.

Orryk hit him and tried to stun him again -- it took two tries and Orryk’s last bit of Ki energy, but he was able to stun Ildna a second time. Taman, realizing that while stunned Ildna couldn’t use his gaze attack, attacked without averting his eyes, but alas still missed.

Fortunately, Fiona still had enough magical energy left to cast a big fireball right on him -- he burst into flame. By the time the flames had dissipated, his body was melting away, leaving only a rapier, longbow and arrows.

Joybell picked up the necklace from where she’d dropped it and immediately used it on Thneed, restoring her to flesh and blood. Shen she laid on hands and healed her as well.

Thneed sat against the wall of the room shivering. Omnath, a magma mephit, moved next to her so she could warm up on his heat.

Fiona cast detect magic. None of the things left when Ildna melted away were magical. However, there were shelves in the other corner of the room and looking on those we found Wonderful Things:

There were coins:

8141 sp (some of it in trade bars)
2080 gp
107 pp

There were non-magical art objects (each worth 250gp):

A gold ring with bloodstones
A carved agate statuette
A large gold bracelet
A bronze crown
All were decorated with dwarven motifs and were clearly dwarven work.

There was a non-magical set of Dwarven full plate, obviously sized for a dwarf.

And then there were magical things:
Rope of Entanglement (Taman)
Ring of Channeling (attunement) (Only Joybell and Fiona can use this and neither of them really want to use an attunement slot on it, so it’s probably for sale or trade.)
Wand of the War Mage (attunement)(Fiona)
Book of Physical Prowess (Joybell latched onto this and will not let go)
Warhammer +3 (Joybell)
Amulet of the Planes (attunement)(Orryk)
Necklace of Adaptation (Mo)

As Mo picked up the necklace, it began speaking to him in dwarvish in a shy and halting voice.

Necklace: Are you going to Torm Danhar?

We learned that the necklace’s name was Emnoll and it, the dwarven plate and the warhammer were all the possessions of a dwarf warrior named Altor Ironhand, who fell to Ildna and his chaos thralls. Emnoll said that it, the armor and the hammer are all still the possessions of the Ironhand clan.

Joybell: We should take this stuff back to them. I also have some other dwarven things, armor and shield and a war hammer, in my bag. Though I don’t mind using the warhammer for a while before we get there.
Orryk: That is not our highest priority right now, but we definitely want to do that.

Treasure:

Merry loot-mas! Including the art, everyone gets: 17 pp, 513 gp, 1356 sp. Leftovers for party funds: 5 pp, 2 gp, 5 sp.

The magical items have been allocated as above. Fiona is going to un-attune with a Brooch of Shielding, so that will be available if anyone wants it.
 

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prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Session 42: Back to Kalmarn. Off to Erlin.

Dramatis Personae:
Orryk - Forest Gnome Monk (Way of the Four Elements, variant)/Wizard
Mo - Goliath Bard (College of Lore)
Fiona - Half-Elf Wizard (Evoker)/Cleric (Knowledge)
Taman - Human (variant) Rogue (Inquisitive)/Ranger (Horizon Walker)
Joybell - Forest Gnome Paladin (Oath of the Ancients)
Thneed - Wood Elf Ranger (Hunter Conclave)/Cleric (War)

GM - Everyone Else


18 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 108) (immediately after)

Thneed's player, explaining Thneed taking a level in cleric: Thneed had a near death experience and has found religion.

As we sat down and re-grouped after the fight, Mo shared some info he’d figured out about teleportation circles with Fiona. Joybell sat next to Taman and had Scooby sit on the other side, so Taman could pet him and warm himself if he needed to.

After a bit, Joybell waved Orryk over.

Joybell: Those monsters that came up behind us...where did they come from?
Orryk: Probably one of the side tunnels that branched off
Joybell: So we’re not worrying about clearing all the things out?
Orryk: We’d probably just wind out running into something worse.

After a while, Fiona made a tiny hut and we took a long rest.


19 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 109)

The next morning, Mo “helped” Fiona cast a teleportation circle to take us back to Stately Kang Manor.

Mo: You make a circle…I think the runes look like this. Sort of. It’s pretty close anyway.
Fiona: Are you sure it’s not this?
Mo: You’ve got it.

While they worked that out, Orryk pulled out the orrery to see where it was pointing. It pointed toward the same corner where we believe the Epiphany Machine had been standing, but not as sharply or strongly as before.

We speculated a bit about whether there’s a delay before the Machine reappears, and if there were limits on where it could reappear -- like would it be on Urnod, on Erkonin, on some other world, on some other plane? We realized that he had no real information about any of this stuff.

Fiona took over the casting and we stepped into the circle and out into the library at Stately Kang Manor.

It was clear that some interior work had been happening in the 8 days we’d been gone -- some painting.

Chulty was waiting for us (having possibly heard the teleportation circle firing up).

Joybell: Hello, Chulty!! How are things going?
Chulty: Well.
Joybell: No orcs?
Chulty: Based on what you’ve told me, I wouldn’t expect them for another couple of weeks.
Mo: How is hiring people for the tavern construction going?
Chulty: We’re getting together a crew, but construction may not be able to start until after the winter.
Mo: Be on the lookout for a bartender.

Joybell noticed that Chulty and his friends were still living in tents inside.

Joybell: You guys are welcome to find rooms and make yourself at home.

After that we settled down in the library, sadly devoid of books but with some reasonably comfortable furniture, to talk about what we wanted to do next.

Mo: Do you, Taman, want to kill the Tundra Queen?
Orryk: You’ve talked about genocide.
Taman: I wanted that. Now I don’t care.

We started to talk about what we wanted to do next, but got distracted wondering about where Mo’s baboon, Clyde, was.

Joybell: Chulty! Is Clyde the baboon around?
Chulty: He’s around outside.

Joybell sent Scooby to find Clyde and herd him back toward the house.

With that settled, we went back to talking about plans, specifically what we wanted to ask Nicolana, the Keeper of Secrets, in exchange for the papers we brought back from Turnik Steeltear and the Forge of Masks.

The questions we worked out were:
  1. The details of Taman’s parents’ deal with the Tundra Queen.
  2. The details of Auriqua’s deal with the Tundra Queen.
  3. Any weaknesses of the Tundra Queen -- like psychological weaknesses or habits and behaviors that we might be able to make use of.
  4. Lines of succession, or social organization, in the Fey Noble Houses.
When Thneed raised that question, Taman told us some of what he’d learned in researching the Fey Nobles and the Tundra Queen. There are three families of Fey Nobles, the Dantes, the Tizianos and the Vivaldis. The structure is generational -- and family relations are a bit loose. So a fey is likely to know who their parents are but may refer to all other fey of their parents’ generation as “aunt” or “uncle”. They may refer to all other fey of their own generation (other than siblings) as “cousin”. Lines of descent aren’t always clear.

They take titles or epithets for themselves -- when the Tundra Queen began calling herself that it was more aspirational than anything else. The epithets that the Fey nobles take for themselves define the personalities that they become locked into.

For example, the Tundra Queen has defined herself as a person who makes deals and that is a fundamental part of her personality. She has also identified herself with the tundra and the spread of the cold zones.

Succession in a sort of human sense isn’t really a thing -- no other Fey Noble felt strongly about the Tundra as their “thing” so she was able to take over that. But she’s not the leader or actual “queen” of any place in the sense that there are princes or princesses who will eventually take over the domain.

The Tundra Queen is believed to be third generation. The Fey are ageless, but can be killed.

The three families are not “themed” to the realms they wind up with, though there may be personality threads through the family. Certainly Nicolana, like her mother, makes deals, though she doesn’t feel that they’re zero-sum games in which one person is the winner and one the loser.

Taman told us about one he’d read about called The Peaceful Conqueror -- he was killed after the Fiend Wars ended. He was swaying what was left of the mortal cities with guile and rhetoric and was working toward gaining control of all of Urnod. His area of control got to where Ambernock (the city that existed before Embernook in the same location) had been, and he was killed (at least, it is presumed he was killed; the fey don’t talk about him much, either). It is believed he may have been killed by another Fey -- one called the Apostate or, sometimes, the Fratricide. His name was never used in any of the materials that Taman saw, just the epithets. He’s called the Apostate because he doesn’t like Fey.

We all immediately had our minds go to the Administrator and contemplated that for a while.

After a bit we moved on…

Orryk: Fiona, don’t you and your dragonborn friend have something going on?I remember you found something in a library in Pelsoreen.
Fiona: Yeah.

She then pulled out a paper from her bag - written in Celestial, it was a journal entry from an explorer who found an off-shore island, with a table on it. Engraved on the table were the names of the gods -- Moraddin, Wee Jas, Correlon, Tezcatlipoca, Coyote...and other names, not gods widely worshiped on Urnod (or at least not recognized as such by party members): Indra, Odin, the number 10,000. While researching in Pelsoreen, Fiona found a note in a book on the Severance written in the same hand that just said “I’m sorry.”

(Note: This is what I have about Fiona’s research in Pelsoreen, copied from my notes for session 11.

Back at the library, Fiona was looking for information on the Severance and on pre-Severance history. Working together she and Orryk learned the following:
  • The first tidal wave in Pelsoreen was heralded by the sky going black. People heard a banging or a roaring out over the ocean and then the tsunami hit. This was the first notice anyone had of the Severance -- clerics couldn’t get spells to heal people and deal with the disaster by praying to their gods. Just before the sky went black and the tidal wave hit, prayers for spells had been answered as normal.
  • There have been three tsunamis since the Severance which have also been heralded by the sky going black and the banging over the ocean, but there was no additional supernatural effect like the Severance.
  • Inside one of the history books, Fiona finds a small piece of very old vellum that has written on it, in Celestial, “I’m sorry”. This is the same handwriting as a letter (or document) that Fiona found when she was adventuring with a dragonborn friend in a temple in an abandoned village. The document describes a group of people from another plane finding a stone table with names of the gods carved on the table. )
Fiona hasn’t had an opportunity to do more research than that -- though Mo and Joybell are both keenly interested in this and want to help Fiona pursue it.

We then went back to thinking about questions for Nicolana.
  1. Did Alighieri win a deal with the Tundra Queen?
  2. What does Nicolana know about the disappearance of the Umbral Circle? Could that connect with the Shadowpool outbreak and the warlocks of Orcus?
  3. Have the Fey ever gone to war with the Fire Elementals?
That last question had in mind the idea that we need to kill a fire elemental to activate Orryk’s Ring of Fire Elemental Command and perhaps we could use the fire elementals and the fey against each other.

With our questions for Nicolana sorted out and agreed on, we talked about where to meet her. WIthout much discussion we all agreed that we weren’t comfortable inviting a Fey Noble into our home, so we decided to meet her at the docks in town, the only other reasonably nice place in Kalmarn right now.

With that settled, Fiona cast a sending spell to Nicolana.

Fiona: We have the information and some questions. Please meet us at the docks at Kalmarn.
Nicolana: I can be there in 2 days.

So we had two days to occupy ourselves until we could talk to her.

Joybell took her Manual of Gainful Exercise and started practicing with the exercises in it. Squats, lunges, walking lunges, curls...she worked very diligently.

Mo used a couple of the dragon pages to send a letter to his former teacher telling her that there will be a tavern open in Kalmarn in two months that will need entertainment.

Mo: Chulty, what’s the name of the person doing the dragon head? I want to talk to them about what’s on the plaque.
Chulty: Yeah, his name is…
Mo: Did you warn him that it’s really poisonous?
Chulty: Yeah. His name is…

(The name was duly given.)

Thneed spent the time working on a pavilion at the dock for us to meet Nicolana in. And for the comfort of people using the docks. She also fixed up the dock some to make it easier for boats to tie up there.

Taman slipped away and went into the woods. When she noticed he’d gone (some hours later), Joybell sent Scooby out to keep an eye on him, but Scooby didn’t intrude on Taman’s ruminations. (Note: Scooby may not have actually found Taman, that was never settled.)


20 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 110)

Mo, Fiona, and Orryk went to Embernook, teleporting (with permission) to the circle in Tulmor and Barnett’s library. Thneed, still working on developing her carpentry skills, asked Mo to pick up some holy symbols from the various temples in Embernook, to help her decide which order she wanted to join.

Joybell, Thneed, and Taman stayed at Stately Kang Manor continuing their activities of the previous day.

In Embernook, Fiona stayed in Tulmor and Barnett’s to learn Scrying from their library. Mo was going shopping, so Fiona gave him some money to buy her a crystal ball to use for the spell.

Orryk took the Ring of Channeling we got from Ildna’s treasure to the Lightbringers’ Temple and got, in exchange, a Basalt Amulet, an irregular chunk of basalt on a stout copper chain. It gives advantage on stealth checks and allows the wearer to cast Greater Invisibility once a day. While Orryk was making that exchange, Mo went around Soul’s Rest buying some holy symbols for Thneed.

Mo asked around about whether the various orders know the names of the gods -- they know they can’t call on them for power by name, but do they remember the names of the gods. The Lightbringers had more knowledge of the names of the gods than the other orders.

Orryk left Mo to continue his explorations in Soul’s Rest and went to talk to the magic merchant, Trannell, who he’s been paying to watch for elemental items on Orryk’s behalf. That turned out to be money well spent, because Trannell had come across a Censer of Air Elemental Command and had kept it aside, knowing it was just exactly the sort of thing Orryk was looking for.

It cost 12,000 gp and Orryk bought it on the spot.

Orryk: I will go broke to get that.

Orryk also collected the spell scrolls -- 2 Longstrider and 4 Protection from Evil and Good -- that we’d commissioned young wizards to scribe for us.

Mo, after he’d finished up in Soul’s Rest, went to the docks to see about buying a boat to make it easier for Chulty and folks to get to and from Kalmarn. The boat he found even had a small windsail. The seller was asking 10,000gp. Mo put on a large performance of inspecting the boat, commenting on flaws and pointing out issue. It was a good performance and he got the price of the boat down to 8,000.

Having bought the boat, Mo tied the Broom of Flying to the bow and told the broom to fly to Kalmarn, letting it guide the boat upriver and getting by with a great deal of beginner’s luck to figure out the steering. The boat will hold about 10 people, more if they’re small.

By the end of the day, Joybell had done 24 (of 48) hours of work with the Manual of Gainful Exercise.

Orryk and Fiona teleported back from Embernook and said that Mo was making his own way back. Mo arrived in the boat in the middle of the night. We all chipped in to help pay for it the next morning.


21 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 111)

Around mid morning, we all gathered at the docks and waited for Nicolana. Joybell expected her to arrive from the river, either by boat or just sort of manifesting, but she came up from the path to town to join us in the pavilion Thneed made.

We showed her Turnik’s books and records. She was especially impressed with his business records -- who had hired him for what sorts of jobs.

Nicolana: Oh, that IS interesting.
Joybell: I thought you’d like that.

We told her that we’d destroyed the information about the high ritual he’d used to kill young children to take the years of their life for his own.

Nicolana: So he was casting Your Life For Mine.
Joybell: I think that’s what it was called. We destroyed that because no one needs to know how to do that.

Nicolana, after looking through the papers for a while: He was an unpleasant soul.
Mo: We had to kill him. Twice.
Joybell: It is painful to think about the things he did and the harm he caused.
Nicolana: It is.

After she’d looked at the papers for a bit we agreed that we’d start asking her our questions and when she felt we’d reached a fair exchange she’d let us know.

Question 1: Taman’s parents’ deal with the Tundra queen.

Nicolana did not know the specifics of Taman’s parents’ particular deal - however she told us for free that most people who are not from Auriqua who seek out the Tundra Queen go to her when they’re in some sort of trouble. The Tundra Queen can hide people in her realms temporarily. Generally her price for doing this is to fulfill some obligation of hers to someone else.

Taman: Ildna seemed to know, but he was speaking gibberish at us.

We sequed from that to an extra question about the Machine and if there’s a delay before it reappears. Also if there’s any way to predict where it would appear. She said no -- also it can travel backwards and forwards in time. So even if there is a delay there’s no way to know.

Question 2: What is the tiny print of Auriqua’s deal with the Tundra Queen? We know the broad outline of it and that she is obliged not to directly harm them.

Nicolana clarified that she has an obligation not to directly harm the dilyarli. The agreement doesn’t say she can’t harm the children. She had that obligation to Ildna.

Mo: Does the Tundra Queen pose as much danger to Auriqua as protection?
Nicolana: Knowing the Tundra Queen it is plausible she has told her servants how juicy Auriqua is so that when her protection is lifted they are especially interested…
Mo: So it’s still a protection racket.

Question 3: We’d like to know more about the Tundra Queen. Anything that might give us an edge in dealing with her.

Nicolana: Making deals is part of who she is. If presented with an opportunity to do so, she almost certainly will. She likes winning deals.
Mo: What does she consider winning? What does she want?
Nicolana: She is deeply political. What she wants is influence.
Taman: Is this why she’s been trying to horn in on Embernook?
Nicolana: And that hasn’t gone well for her.

Question 4 was skipped because we already had that information.

Question 5:

Orryk: Has she ever made a deal with Alighieri?

That question was followed by 2 seconds of hysterical, shocked laughter, then an inscrutable stone face.

Nicolana: “No.”

Question 6:

Joybell: Do you know anything about what happened to the Umbral circle of planar druids?
Nicolana: The Umbral Circle was a group of druids mostly dedicated to reducing the influence of the Shadowfell on Erkonin. My impression, based on incomplete knowledge, is that someone or something that would or was getting power from the Shadowfell broke the Umbral Circle.
Mo: Was it an organized group or individuals?
Nicolana: I don’t know.
Orryk: Could this tie to the Shadowfell incursions in Embernook a few months ago?
Joybell: Do you know when they might have been broken?
Nicolana: I haven’t heard about them for six months.
Mo: That lines up.
Joybell and Orryk: Yeah.

(Note: The Shadowfell incursions in Embernook were three and a half months ago.)

Mo: We’ve run into warlocks of Orcus. We’re sure they were connected to making Shadowpools in Embernook. Do you know of followers of Orcus that might be lurking around somewhere?
Nicolana: There are often people who think they can get power by bending fiends to their will. They are often wrong.
Joybell: Is there an organization or cult?
Orryk: If you were to go to a city to look for these people, where would you go?
Nicolana: New Arvai.

Question 5.5:

Mo: Back to the Tundra Queen and Auriqua -- how can we get her to break her deal? We don’t want her turning kids to dilyarli.
Nicolana: I’ve been a dilyarli. It wasn’t fun.
EVERYONE: You were? And you’re not now? It can be undone?
Nicolana: She can undo it.

Question 7:

Thneed: Is there a history of war between Fey and Fire elementals?
Nicolana: There isn’t a source of conflict there. Elemental planes are more interested in the prime material than they are in the Feywild.

Question 5.5 (again):

Joybell: Going back to Mo’s question. What would it take to get her to break a deal? Ildna said that people completing their deals with the Tundra Queen were making her more powerful and that is maybe not a good thing. Do you know what he meant?
Nicolana: That’s the closest to the truth that the Epiphany Machine’s revelations ever get. Whenever she makes a deal her plan is to increase her own power and to anyone NOT HER that is not a good thing.
Joybell: Is it not nice being a dilyarli?
Nicolana: Remembering being one, while not being one now…remembering not being yourself is painful. While you are a dilyarli, it is not painful or traumatic. It becomes so when you are not again and can remember.

With that, Nicolana declared that we were even now.

Orryk: Is there anything we can bring you from New Arvai?
Nicolana: You know me well. If you find something, let me know…

Joybell walked out of the pavilion with her and through the empty town.

Joybell: I had a question for you, but I can’t remember what it was right now.
Nicolana: <<just looked at her in a bemused way>>
Joybell: If I remember, I can send it to you on dragon paper. Will that find you?
Nicolana: Yes.

Then she patted Joybell on the shoulder and walked off through the town.

After she left, we talked about what to do next.

We decided that our next step was to take a boat down the river to Erlin (about a week down the Hochor River) -- Irlua at the Primal Atoll told Orryk that there was some sort of fire incursion or instability there and we’re hoping to find a fire elemental for him to kill.

After that we can see what day it is -- we want to be in Auriqua at the Feast of Stars in two and a half months -- we can either teleport back to Kalmarn and go to Auriqua or proceed on downriver to New Arvai to see what we can learn about the Umbral Circle and whoever’s doing these Shadowfell incursions. Also to break into the library of the School of the World to retrieve Adnorga’s Staff.

We checked in with Chulty -- asking if he needed to go to Embernook (he could teleport along with us, or we could all go down in the boat). He did not. We told him we were leaving Clyde. He said they were already building a pen and kennel for him in the yard.

We named our boat the Weirdness Magnet and left it for Chulty and his friends to use as they need it.

Then we checked with Tulmor and Barnett to make sure it was okay, then teleported to Embernook. We asked them if there was anything we could do for them in Erlin and they said no. Mo asked about crime in New Arvai (since we’ll be going there eventually to break into the School of the World’s library).

Mo also talked to Taman about thieves’ guilds and asked if he’d have any insight.

Mo: When we get there we can leave Joybell behind and find people to help us.
Taman: If they help us, they’ll want to be paid.
Thneed: Or maybe they’ll turn us in for the reward.

When we were still at Tulmor and Barnett’s place Taman sensed for Fey in town. He detected one. In Centerkeep. In the Administrative Offices Building.

Taman: Oh, naughty word!
Mo: Well isn’t that interesting information?
Taman: Much is explained.

Joybell, thinking that maybe the Administrator needed to know that we thought he was Fey, or that someone in the city administration was and we strongly figured it’s him, went to talk to Thalith while the others arranged for our trip to Erlin on a boat. She signed in on the sheet as always and tried to figure out how to say that without saying it -- because folks in the waiting room can sort of hear what’s being said in Thalith’s office sometimes.

Joybell, when Thalith called her into his office: We have solid information that there is a Fey in town.
Thalith: I’m sure the Administrator knows.
Joybell: He knows everything that goes on in town. I just wanted to make sure.

She and Thalith got into a talk about how Chulty and his friends were doing in Kalmarn. He was disconcerted that Chulty’s old adventuring party friends had joined him there -- not that they were untrustworthy people, just that he wanted Chulty leaving that life behind.

After that, Joybell left, unsure that Thalith had received her actual message.

At the docks, she found that we had taken passage on the Glistenspray, a small vessel captained by Zellora, a female water genasi. The Glistenspray is a more cushy ride than the Gellyan -- better food and better cabins. Zellora will take us to Erlin and drop us off -- her ultimate destination is New Arvai.

By the time all this was arranged, it was late afternoon. So we went to our various lodgings in town. Joybell did a bit more work with the book -- exercising in her room and in the yard at Queena’s.

The night passed without incident.


22 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 112)

We met at the docks and head out on the Glistenspray toward Erlin for what we hoped, but didn’t expect, would be an uneventful trip.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Session 43: Traveling By Boat Again

Dramatis Personae:
Orryk - Forest Gnome Monk (Way of the Four Elements, variant)/Wizard
Fiona - Half-Elf Wizard (Evoker)/Cleric (Knowledge)
Taman - Human (variant) Rogue (Inquisitive)/Ranger (Horizon Walker)
Joybell - Forest Gnome Paladin (Oath of the Ancients)
Thneed - Wood Elf Ranger (Hunter Conclave)/Cleric (War)

Note: Mo's player was unable to attend because of bad road conditions.

GM - Everyone Else


22 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 112)

We met at the docks in the morning to board the Glistenspray for our trip to Erlin.

Mo, having gotten into some really good pipe-stuff he obtained somewhere in our travels, tied his broom to the back of the boat, strapped himself into the battle hammock and spent a few days completely blissed out. Once in a while he’d come down to the boat to eat and take care of necessities, but mostly there was a lot of bliss and just letting himself be pulled along.

Joybell found a place on deck where she could read her Manual of Gainful Exercise and do the workouts in it.

Taman found himself a place up in the crow’s nest where he could be out of the way and keep to himself. Thneed found a place on deck where she could examine the holy symbols Mo picked up for her and see which one felt holiest to her.

Orryk went to the captain to ask about whether an air elemental could help make the ship go faster.

Captain Zelora: Well, if the windsails catch too much wind they can tear. So probably not.

Orryk was slightly disappointed, but probably still summoned an air elemental to put it through its paces.

The day started out as a lovely fall day, in the 70s and sunny.

We passed some ancient ruins -- fortifications along the river -- around sundown, but the boat didn’t stop and we didn’t see anything peculiar about them except that they were ancient ruins.

The night passed quietly and without incident.


23 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 113)

Around midday the next day, the Glistenspray passed a river-side village, more or less like Kalmarn and the other villages we passed on the way to Auriqua. Joybell was intent on her workouts and reading, but Taman and Thneed were less focused and paying more attention.

Captain Zelora: That’s weird.
Taman: What?
Captain Zelora: There doesn’t seem to be anyone in Treskill. There were people in the village last time I sailed by.

Taman looked toward shore and saw a person running down the street. A moment later a horse-sized thing sprung out from between two buildings, grabbed the person, and ran off between two more buildings. At about that time, he heard a high-pitched screaming howl. He gave a shout and got the attention of the whole party.

Thneed, who saw all of that, immediately jumped off the boat and began swimming for shore in her Mariner’s Armor. Fiona hurried up on deck from where she was reading below, activated the Wings of Flying and flew up in the air, heading in that direction.

Orryk came up on deck, saw Thneed swimming by herself, and ran down the side of the boatand across the water to shore so she wouldn’t be there by herself.

Joybell: Wow! That’s so cool!

Joybell mounted Scooby and waited at the railing of the ship impatiently, Scooby pacing back and forth and stamping in place, until the boat got close enough to the dock for him to jump over. Taman also waited for the boat to get to shore rather than using his Cape of the Mountebank to get there.

Thneed’s haste to get ashore wasn’t completely headlong -- she stopped outside of town to observe the tactical situation. We all joined her as we got on shore (except Fiona, who stayed up in the air, though near where the rest of the party had gathered).

We saw a couple more people running around with packs of the horse-sized things ripping apart anyone they could catch.

Taman: How can Mo sleep at a time like this?

Thneed recognized these things, she thought. She said that they were Howlers, fiends from Pandemonium (not the Abyss or the Nine Hells, where most fiends are from). They operate in packs. Their howl frightens people and renders them more vulnerable to their attacks. She reminded us that a lot of fiends are resistant to elemental damage and don’t get badly hurt by attacks from normal, non-magical weapons.

We were reassured to see some people still alive and hoped that more were hiding in the buildings.

We initially saw three of the Howlers in the middle of the main street of the village. Thneed moved into a good position and fired off a couple of arrows. Orryk kept pace with her and fired some arrows as well, but his shortbow’s range isn’t nearly as long as her longbow, so he only got one hit to her two.

Fiona flew up and took a position in the air at the end of the main street. She cast a Storm Sphere that caught all three of them -- they were all bludgeoned by the sudden downpour then a lightning bolt shot out and hit one of them.

Joybell ran up at Scooby’s top speed then fired off two charges from the Wand of Magic Missile at the one that had been struck by the lightning. Taman took two shots at a different one, hitting, but we could see that his non-magical arrows didn’t make much of an impact.

All three of them moved quickly out of the difficult terrain of Fiona’s Storm Sphere -- two of them went between buildings (one on each side of the street) and the other went back down the street, then ducked between some buildings further back. It looked like each of them was mostly focused on the shortest route out of the pummeling rain. But it wound out with them separating to the point that they weren’t amenable to area attacks, and we couldn’t see what two of them were doing.

Taman: Are they being controlled? That seemed really intelligent.

Thneed put her Hunter’s Mark on the one that had been most hurt, dropping it with an arrow to the heart.

Thneed: Pax vobiscum, bitch!

Orryk moved to the edge of the town and held his attack until he saw an opponent to fight. Since they’d all left the Storm Sphere, Fiona let that drop and cast a magic missile on the one Taman had shot.

Joybell moved into the town and waited to attack something that came in her range. Taman moved up next to her, staying close because her presence holds off fear for those near her. Then he hid behind a building next to her.

It was good that he did that, because at that moment one of the Howlers came around the side of a building and saw Joybell standing in the road. It howled a terrible screaming yowl that would have terrified most people, but Joybell and Taman were not frightened.

Thneed had to take a few seconds to get into a good position, but Orryk was able to get off a couple of shots with his shortbow, hitting twice. Then he put the bow away and prepared to get into melee. Fiona stayed in the air and cast Magic Missile again, spreading the darts between the two Howlers.

Joybell ran up to the closest one and attacked the closest with the Awesome Dwarven Warhammer (which isn’t really hers, but she can use for a while), hitting with two big swings.

Joybell: Taman! Keep up!

Taman did so and attacked, dropping the one she’d hit twice with a sneak attack, then moving to the other one, just a step or two further up the street and hitting it with his longsword.

Around this time, Omnath saw three more of them coming in from the other side of the main street and relayed that information to Orryk, who relayed it to the rest of us. Fiona, from her vantage point above the buildings could also see them. They were still far enough away that they weren’t going to be able to get to us for a few seconds anyway.

The one we were already dealing with attacked Taman -- getting a hit despite Joybell protecting him with her shield and despite Taman taking a lucky dodge. Taman’s luck kept it from being a critical hit and he was able to do an uncanny dodge to reduce the damage.

Thneed got in two really good shots, moving closer to get a good angle on the one that had just attacked Taman.

Orryk moved into the main street and looked into the alley where Taman and Joybell were facing the last one standing of the first pack.

Orryk: Joybell, three more incoming. Leave that for the others.

Fiona slowed down the new ones coming in with a storm sphere, the pummeling rain and lightning doing damage to two of them and creating a difficult area to pass. In that moment, Joybell rode over to Orryk and waited to attack anything that came in range.

Joybell: Sorry, Taman! You all have got this!
Taman: I know.

Then he attacked and got a good hit with his longsword.

One of the new ones, not caught in Fiona’s storm, came between two buildings on the other side of the main street from Taman and Thneed and made its horrible screeching howl. Taman was far enough away not to be affected, but Thneed and Omnath were frightened. Joybell was standing close enough to Orryk that he was in her protective, emboldening aura.

Another one came up the same alley and stopped behind the one that had just howled. The third one of the new pack came around the building from a different direction and howled. Only Orryk and Joybell were in its range and were unaffected.

Thneed, frightened, ran away from the one that had frightened her, which interfered with her ability to do anything else. Orryk stayed near to Joybell but moved around so he could swing his short sword at one of the newcomers, using his ki to turn that into a stunning strike. The Howler stopped moving and stood stunned. Nice!

Fiona split her efforts -- hitting one of the newcomers with a lightning bolt from the storm and shooting magic missiles at that one and the one on Taman. Joybell attacked the same one Orryk had attacked, calling down divine energy to smite the fiend (and finding that it was extra effective because of the fiendish nature of these Howlers).

The three new Howlers moved to surround Orryk and Joybell. Well, two of them did. One was stunned and did nothing. None of their attacks were effective though -- one missed Joybell and the other missed Orryk because of Joybell’s shield and his own Shield spell.

Thneed shook off her fear and, pissed, moved her Hunter’s Mark to the one that Orryk had stunned, shooting it twice and then using her horde breaker ability to also shoot another of the new ones. Unfortunately this didn’t drop any of them. Orryk got in there with his sword and attacked the one he had stunned and dropped it with his sword and a punch. Then he took another punch at one of the one that wasn’t stunned.

We all sort of focussed on the two that were remaining -- Fiona with her lightning bolts and guiding bolt, Joybell with her warhammer and divine smites, Taman with his longsword.

One got dropped by Taman before it got to attack again. The other one attacked Joybell but missed.

Orryk stunned the one remaining, giving us all an advantage against it, and it finally fell to Joybell’s divinely empowered blows with her warhammer.

We only enjoyed the thought that they were all gone for a second before Taman heard some distant howls. He also heard some whimpering noises from inside one of the buildings.

While the party gathered together, so we’d all either be out of range or in Joybell’s protective aura, Joybell went a shuttered window where Taman had heard the sounds of whimpering and crying.

Joybell: Hi. We’re here to help. Where are these things coming from?
Person inside: Don’t know. They just appeared and started tearing things up.
Joybell: How long ago did they show up?
Person: About an hour maybe…
Joybell: That’s a long time. Stay put.

Then she moved back to the group.

The new pack of Howlers came from the other side of town. Thneed backed down to one side, trying to keep out of howl range, and held an arrow nocked, ready to let it fly at anything she could. Orryk moved forward, toward where they were coming from. Fiona, in the air, was able to see them first, so she fired a Guiding Bolt at one, but missed. Joybell moved up next to Orryk and Taman next to her, so we were blocking the 15’ wide alley they were coming down, all of us with attacks at the ready.

One of them came around the corner into the alley. As soon as it opened its mouth to howl, Thneed put an arrow into its palate. That didn’t stop the horrible screeching scream -- but the only three of us in range were Joybell, Taman, and Orryk, and none of us were going to be affected by the fear. The other two in this pack moved up behind it, but didn’t get close enough to attack us, or let those of us who were waiting with melee weapons ready do anything.

Thneed took her shots, including a horde breaker shot at a second one. Orryk moved up and stunned one. Joybell moved up, away from Taman, and attacked, but saved her divine smiting power for a more opportune time.

Joybell: Come on, Taman! Keep up!

Taman kept up, putting his Hunter’s Mark on one and attacking one for a LOT of damage because the beast was distracted by other combatants around it.

One of them howled, again only getting the group within Joybell’s aura of protection. Another attacked Joybell but missed. The third one, the one Orryk had stunned, did nothing but drool a little.

Thneed missed with a whole round of shots, but fortunately Orryk dropped one with his Shortsword of the Medic.

(Orryk's player: Just because Joybell never did, Orryk uses the sword to cast healing word on Taman.)

Then he attacked and stunned both of the two remaining ones with a flurry of powerful blows. Joybell jumped scooby over Taman to get between the two howlers and attacked. She dropped one with a divinely powered blow.

Joybell: Come on, Taman! Stay close!

The last one, stunned by Orryk’s fists, fell quickly to Thneed’s arrows and Orryk’s sword.

Joybell took a second to sense for fiends in the immediate area and detected none. Taman took a bit longer to listen and then sense for his favored enemies. Thneed, seeing that, sensed for her favored enemies (fiends included) and detected none within five miles.

Thneed and Taman set about doing ranger stuff to see if they could figure out where the Howlers had come from, but aside from a general sense that they’d come from the west (in other words they didn’t cross the river to get to the village) they had no idea. Taman tried to detect portals in the area and found none within a mile.

While that was going on, Joybell talked to the person in the building again.

Joybell: You’re okay now. The Wonderful Knights of Luminosity have taken care of things. There are no more fiends in the area.

Then we went back to the boat, which was waiting for us at the docks.

Orryk, to Captain Zelora: We didn’t find authorities in town, but we should let folks know what happened. The people in town may need help.
Captain Zelora: We can stop at the next town and let them know to send assistance.

We continued on down river.

Taman, to Fiona: Aren’t we supposed to have less fiend activity since the Fiend Wars?

Fiona explained to him that since the wars the baseline level of fiend activity is higher than it was before the Severance, but much much lower than it was during the wars.

The next town, several hours later, had a flag out on the pier indicating that it had urgent business. So we stopped to take on a pallet of cargo from a merchant who wanted it taken a few towns downstream.

While the cargo was being loaded, the party went to talk to the town guards to let them know that Treskill was attacked and people there were in need of assistance. They said they’d send aid.

Between the time she spent in the morning, the time between the two villages, and some time working out after dinner, Joybell finished her work with her book and felt very much stronger!! She put the book into her bag, with the intent of donating it to the Basalt Henge. Every hundred years some young novice who they thought needed the assistance could make use of it.

The Glistenspray spent the night docked at the town and all was quiet.


24 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 114)

The next morning, the Glistenspray cast off bright and early and we continued on our way. It was a grey and rainy day.

Joybell did her morning exercises on deck, then bundled up in her cloak out on the bow to watch with Scooby. Thneed spent the morning entertaining herself by sneaking around the deck startling sailors. Taman stayed up in the crow’s nest watching. Fiona and Orryk read and studied down below.

Fiona took some time to use her new Scrying spell (and the crystal ball Mo had picked up for her) to take a look at Stately Kang Manor. Everything looked to be doing well -- there were some newly painted walls and some activity.

The day passed in quiet sailing. And the night.


25 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 115)

Pretty early the next morning, we were woken by yells from the lookouts on the crew.

Lookout: Slicks on the water! Slicks on the water! Don’t look! DON’T LOOK!

Taman asked one of the crew what that meant.

Crew: Ignore what you see in the water.

As he was speaking, the boat went into Hell -- we could see people screaming, fiends, fire, torture and horrible things. A literal Hellscape.

Then we were out of it and it was a quiet morning on the Hochor River again.

The sailor pointed out to us a patch of oily slick on the river surface. It was standing still relative to the shore, not moving with the current of the river. Thneed shot at one, but it didn’t disperse.

We went through several of them over the next hour or so. Joybell watched for landmarks in the hellish vistas we passed through, to see if the boat was moving through that landscape as well, but it wasn’t always the same landscape. It didn’t even appear to always be the same lower plane.

Taman, to some of the crew: Those are randomly in the river?
Sailor: They’re here sometimes. Not sometimes.
Captain Zelora: They’ve been showing up on the rivers since the Severance. They aren’t portals, but I don’t know what they are. The last time I asked I was just told that the world remembers.

After we got through the cluster of slicks on the water, the rest of the day passed without incident, Which was good, because that had been horrible.

The night was quiet.


26 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 116)

The weather was even worse this day than the day before -- both colder and wetter. Joybell bundled up well in her cloak and let Scooby curl around her as she sat in the bow.

In the mid-morning, we stopped at a river village to drop off the special cargo we’d picked up a few days ago and to let a ferry cross the river in front of us.

And that was the excitement of both the day and the night.


27 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 117)

Just at dawn, Joybell (who was sleeping curled up with Scooby in the bow) and Taman (sleeping somewhere else on deck) heard Captain Zellora shout. Mo might have but he was still deep in the good pipe-stuff and stayed in his battle hammock.

Zellora: What the naughty word is that?!

Followed by a loud thunk and shuddering that shook the whole ship. The others came up out of their cabins at the noise.

We saw that someone had knocked a huge log into the river -- it was broken off just above the roots and braced so that it would not float downstream. It didn’t block the entire river, but if anyone failed to see it (like at night) and didn’t sail around it, it would stop the boat cold and make it difficult to get around.

Joybell and a few of the crew took some ropes and tried to shift the log from on the deck of the Glistenspray, but the angle was bad for shifting the log that way.

Taman looked to the bank, expecting someone to come out at the noise. He was not disappointed -- he saw a 13 year old girl coming down the river bank, followed by a very large (16’ tall) grey, vaguely humanoid figure. It was not human-looking enough to be a giant. The girl was a fey of some sort, Taman told us, so Joybell did her divine sensing (which detects celestials, fiends, and undead) and detected none of those (within 60’, which didn’t include the river bank and mostly covered the boat).

Joybell, to a crewmember: Has this been here before?
Sailor: No. This is new.
Joybell: So you haven’t seen this girl before?
Sailor: Never in my life.

Taman shouted to the girl on the bank: State your intentions.

While he waited for a response, Orryk created a bonfire on the top of the log near the shore to see if we could burn at least some of it and make it easier to shift. The girl got a pouty look at that.

Taman: Again. State your intentions.
Fey Girl: You have things. I may want them.
Taman: Well, then.

Then he drew his bow and took a shot at the girl, hitting her in the shoulder.

Joybell: Oh, no no no, you can’t stop legit boat travel to rob people like that.

Then she mounted Scooby right at the prow of the ship.

Someone recognized the giant grey thing as a Grey Render -- they adopt people (or in this case a fey) as their master and work as sort of a defender and bruiser for them.

Fiona: We don’t have stuff you want.

Then Fiona cast a firebolt and hit the girl with it.

Scooby leapt off the boat onto the log and ran along the log as fast as he could. When they were about 20 feet from the shore, Joybell cast Misty Step and they both appeared on the river bank a short distance in front of the girl, holding her attack for something to come to her.

Joybell: This is not okay. You can’t interfere with travel and rob people like this. Don’t do this. We know you’re fey.

The girl didn’t respond to Joybell in words -- she just made a gesture with her hands and a bolt of sparkling light shot out and exploded in the air over where the party was gathered on the deck of the ship. Thneed and Taman both were entranced by her pretty sparkling lights.

Then she walked to the shore, ignoring Joybell entirely, and dove into the water.

Orryk and Omnath woke up Taman and Thneed from the hypnotic pattern.

Thneed: Where’d she go?
Orryk: Under the water.

The Grey Render attacked Joybell from 10 feet away, thus never letting her get in her own attack. Fortunately it missed with both of its long, clawed arms. After one of Fiona’s firebolts whizzed past without hitting the monster, Joybell rode right up to it and attacked, hitting once normally and once smiting with divine power. After her first hit, it lashed out at her with a retaliatory attack of its own, but missed.

The girl swam out deeper into the river and, while near the top of the water, did some gesturing. Those on the boat recognized what she was doing as something they saw Fiona do almost every day -- casting mage armor on herself. Fiona saw this and remembered that she hadn’t had a chance to do that yet -- so she cast her own mage armor.

Thneed moved a bit away from the party, to break up area effects, and put her hunter’s mark on the Render, then shot it. Taman followed Joybell’s lead and jumped from the prow of the boat down the 15 feet to the log, keeping his footing on the slick wood. He could see her under the water. He put his hunter’s mark on her then used the Rope of Entanglement to try and tie her up, but she managed to slip away from the entangling rope and stay free.

Orryk, to Thneed and Fiona: You help Taman. I’ve got Joybell.

Then he jumped off the boat and ran across the water, using a ki point for some extra speed, then attacked the Render.

The Render, faced by two gnomes and a celestial-wolf attacked Orryk and Joybell with his two claws and his bite. Joybell protected Orryk with her shield, stopping the bite, but then she got hit by a claw for 16 points of damage.

Joybell toyed with the idea of casting Plant Growth out in the water to tangle up and slow down the fey girl, but there was this big monster right there. And if she didn’t attack it she’d be letting Orryk down -- so she attacked twice.

After her first hit, as a retaliation, it swung one of its clawed arms at Orryk, hitting him hard.

Joybell: I’m sorry! Maybe I should have cast Plant Growth.

The girl in the water did something that caused Taman’s mind to flip slightly and suddenly he looked at her with new eyes -- she was his Lady Love and he was going to do everything in his power to protect her. Then she swam further up the river away from the boat and the party.

Thneed summoned the divine power she had newly discovered and fired three arrows at the Grey Render, hitting with only one of them.

Taman, seeing his lady love so close, not even thirty feet away, jumped into the water and swam toward her.

Fiona: What?? Something weird is going on.

Back on shore, Orryk switched to attacking with the Death-touch Gloves, so he could heal up a bit from the Render’s powerful attack, but he missed with his attacks and went from that into some defensive maneuvering. The Grey Render attacked Joybell - it missed with its bite, but hit with one of its claws, getting through the displacement effect from her cloak and her plate armor.

Fiona, armored up, moved into the prow of the boat and cast a cone of cold that shaped itself around Taman but caught the girl squarely. The girl managed to dodge out of the way of the brunt of the effect, but was still affected by it. We hoped that she might, perhaps, lose her concentration on the charm on Taman in the process of avoiding the cone of cold, but she didn’t seem to have to concentrate on that at all. It just was.

Joybell, on shore and only barely paying attention to what was going on in the vicinity of the boat, attacked the Grey Render twice, hitting both times and managing to dodge out of the way of its reflexive claw swipe.

The girl, in the water, cast a fog cloud on the prow of the boat -- Joybell and Orryk, both on shore) and Taman (in the water a few feet ahead of the ship) were all outside the range. Taman was able to see that his lady love swam further away from him after creating the fog cloud.

Thneed, outside the fog cloud, took three shots at the Gray Render (channeling divine power one more time).

Taman, torn between his lady love and his good friend who were clearly fighting one another, swam back toward the log, the fey girl having gone out of his reach in the water.

On shore, Orryk attacked the Render and then went on defense again, since that had worked well for him before. The Render attacked Joybell, missing with its bite, but hitting with both of its huge claws, leaving her at about half her normal strength.

Fiona flew up out of the fog cloud with the Wings of Flying so that she could see the fey girl. She couldn’t, however, see Taman, who had gone into the fog cloud when he swam toward the log.

Fiona: She’s got Taman!!

Joybell hit the render twice with her warhammer, dropping it. Then, having heard Fiona’s yell, rode Scooby over to the river bank nearest where she could see the girl, looking for any sign of Taman.

The fey girl continued swimming away downstream.

Thneed couldn’t see anything through the fog, so she took a leap into the unknown, jumping off the prow of the ship onto the log. Or mostly so. She ended up there, anyway.

Taman climbed out of the water onto the log and then managed to clamber up onto the boat, despite the fog cloud. He couldn’t see anything much but he’d heard Fiona.

Taman: Fiona, don’t shoot her!! She’s the only girl I’ve ever had a chance with!

Then he cast ensnaring strike and attacked the cloud near him. Fortunately he didn’t hit any of the sailors or cut any important ropes on the ship.

Orryk ran past Joybell to a point on the shore even closer to the girl and shot at her a couple of times with his shortbow. Fiona got in the final blow with a magic missile spell that killed her. Immediately, Taman was his normal self again, no longer torn between his “lady love” and his friends. The fog cloud also immediately dissipated.

Somehow we recovered the fey girl’s body, because we determined that she had no treasure on her. Neither did the render.

We managed to break the supports holding the log in place with a combination of strategically placed fire (and firebolts) and brute force (Joybell with the warhammer bashing on things).

The log floated away downstream and the Glistenspray, with all of her passengers back aboard, continued to sail toward Erlin.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Session 44: In Which Orryk Is Happy

Dramatis Personae:
Orryk - Forest Gnome Monk (Way of the Four Elements, variant)/Wizard
Fiona - Half-Elf Wizard (Evoker)/Cleric (Knowledge)
Taman - Human (variant) Rogue (Inquisitive)/Ranger (Horizon Walker)
Joybell - Forest Gnome Paladin (Oath of the Ancients)
Thneed - Wood Elf Ranger (Hunter Conclave)/Cleric (War)
Mo - Goliath Bard (College of Lore)

GM - Everyone Else


27 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 117) (immediately after)

Mo, having finished the good pipe stuff about the time the Glistenspray continued on the way downriver, floated gently down to the deck of the ship in his battle hammock.

Mo: I’ve figured it out! The funniest punchline to any joke is hitting a watermelon with a hammer.
Fiona: That’s what you were working on? We were fighting a fey.
Mo: You could have called me.
Orryk: We tried.
Joybell: I thought you were having a good time, so I wanted to leave you alone.

We rested on the boat and Mo sang a song so that we could rest better. Along toward evening we passed a village with a flag on the docks, but it wasn’t an urgent flag, so the Captain didn’t stop. We continued on our way and the rest of the day and the night passed.


28 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 118)

The next day started quiet, though there was a bit more activity on the ship as the day wore on with the sailors getting ready to make port in Erlin, at least for a bit.

Before we arrived, we asked about Erlin -- is it run by criminals or slavers? Is it okay or awful? We learned that it’s not run by criminals and it’s not full of people keeping slaves.

Orryk: It’s run by the stealthiest of criminals. That’s why no one knows.

It sounded to Joybell like a kind of okay town.

We arrived there around dinner time.

Orryk immediately jumped off the boat and started asking people about where we could go to find fire elementals. He was moving quickly around the docks asking questions, hardly standing still at all.

Orryk, to a random longshoreman on the docks: Have you seen things like this?

He summoned Omnath as a magma mephit.

Longshoreman: Umm, no?

While Orryk was having basically that same conversation with several different stevedores and longshoremen and sailors, Joybell asked someone if there was a druidic circle in town. She was told there was a small one in Sunlit and got directions.

Joybell, to Orryk: There’s a druid circle…
Orryk: Let’s go!

He headed off in the direction he happened to be facing. Joybell grabbed his arm and steered him in the right direction and we all trooped off.

When we got to the druid circle, Orryk immediately jumped in with asking about fire elementals and where we could find one. When Joybell started filling in information about fire portals, he told them about what Irlua at the Primal Atoll had told us about fire becoming too dominant and there being something of an incursion near Erlin.

Druid: There’s a known portal to the south of town. It’s about half a day down the river then a mile or so to the east. It occasionally spits out fire elementals. It’s been there for about six years.
Orryk: Anything else? (He summoned Omnath again.)
Druid: No, not mephits. But bigger than normal elementals. There was one report from a really, really drunk guy about a big burning bird coming out.
Joybell: That sounds beautiful.
Druid: No. Not really.
Mo: Assuming he was both drunk and right, what would that be?
Druid: A phoenix. They are forces of pure destruction and they cannot be killed.
Joybell: So how do you deal with them?
Druid: The only way we know of is to throw the egg through a portal, then close the portal.
Joybell: So it becomes the problem of whoever’s on the other side of the portal?
Druid: :🤷:
Joybell, to Taman and Orryk: How do we close the portal?
Taman: We won’t know until we see the portal.

We got the information we needed about where to turn off the road to find the portal then thanked the druids and left. Since it was already dinner time and well on toward dark, Orryk reluctantly agreed to stay in Erlin overnight.

Mo went off to find us a place to stay. Taman and Joybell went shopping for holy water. Thneed stayed in the temple district going from temple to temple just observing -- she wanted to see what people do in them.

As she walked with Taman, Joybell noticed that the people seemed okay and happy in Erlin. And happy to see the party. Joybell got a few odd looks - Erlin has a reputation as a pretty hick-ish town with a heavily human population. Non-humans are unusual and tend to draw some attention.

Mo arranged rooms for us at an inn. He also arranged to perform for the night.

Mo, to Taman through the sending stones: Found an inn. The Golden Gallant. Playing in the tavern. Be drunk soon.

Taman and Joybell started heading toward The Golden Gallant, which was a pretty spiffy establishment run by a gentleman named Zuli.

While he was making the arrangements for the room, Mo talked to Zuli, who told him that most of the trade in town comes from the ranches up the Tulnod River, which heads into the Dunimar Mountains.

Joybell: I’d go visit the cows in the feedlots, but I think Scooby would just upset them.

Before his performance, Mo went to a fruit and vegetable vendor in the market and bought 6 big melons. Then just before he went on stage he borrowed Joybell’s warhammer.

Joybell: Remember, this isn’t my warhammer. I’m just using it until we can return it to the dwarves. Be careful with it.
Taman: It’s a magical hammer. He can’t hurt it.

Mo’s performance was awesome. After some songs and some jokes and juggling the melons, he took a swing at one with the warhammer and was unable to break it. Fiona and Thneed, seeing what was about to happen, moved to the very back of the room. Joybell, enthralled, stayed up front. Mo, from the stage, called on her.

Mo, to Joybell in the audience: Little housewife, would you like to give it a try?

Joybell, happily playing the role of housewife (in full plate armor), jumped up and with the hammer she smashed the watermelon and the stool it was standing on, leaving a small dent in the planking of the stage.

The audience was delighted.

This gag was repeated for the after-dinner crowd and again for the late-night-drinking crowd. To great delight every time.

After the performances, Joybell gave Zuli a gold for the stool while Mo used prestidigitation to clean up the stage of watermelon debris.

Orryk: Next time you should turn into an ape to crush it.
Mo: Outdoor performance…

After that, we retired to our rooms and the night passed.


29 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 119)

The next morning, we headed out on foot on the road that paralleled the Hochor River. Orryk kept getting way ahead of the party then having to stop and wait, circling around and pacing because he couldn’t stand still, until we caught up.

We found our landmark for turning off the road -- there wasn’t really a track or a path, except maybe something like a game trail, going off toward the mountains. When we got to the landmark, Taman took a minute to check for portals and detected one about a mile away. He was able to get a bearing on it and then led us directly towards it.

We were travelling through a rocky area with some hillocks and rock outcrops and rock piles. After about half a mile of traveling, we saw a large ogre-sized chunk of fire streaking toward us faster than Orryk can move. It was well across the rocky gorge by the time we could even think of reacting to it, though still far away.

Fiona activated the Wings of Flying and took to the air. Orryk moved up and waited for it to come within range so he could use the Dominate Monster spell from the Ring. Mo jumped into the battle hammock and flew into the air, inspiring Joybell as he went.

Joybell rode forward as far as Scooby could go and fired off a couple of shots from the wand of magic missiles. Thneed moved forward and took two shots at it, then found herself a place in a bit of cover by one of the rock faces. Taman moved forward some then dumped a bottle of holy water on himself, casting protection from evil and good.

Joybell: That’s a good idea.

The elemental moved into range of Orryk’s held spell, and saved against his domination, but was too far away to attack.

(Mo's player: He made the save? You can do that?)

Fiona cast a guiding bolt on it -- doing damage and putting a glow on it so that the next attack would be at an advantage. Orryk made use of that, moving into a position where he could use his fists of unbroken air (rather than punching the living fire itself), hitting with both of his regular attacks and getting a crit with his extra punch.

Mo, from a position in the air in the battle hammock, cast a spell we hadn’t seen from him before.

Mo: Glass his ass, sea bass!

Then a giant spectral beer bottle appeared floating behind the elemental and the spiritual weapon swung at its head. When it hit the glass shattered, leaving the neck and part of the bottle behind. Mo then took a shot with his crossbow, but missed.

Joybell then charged the elemental and hit it twice with her wonderful loaner warhammer, dropping it.

Joybell: Sorry, Orryk!

Orryk’s smile told her that his ring of fiery awesomeness (the Ring of Fire Elemental Command) was now fully powered up -- among the many benefits of this is that he is immune to fire damage. He created a bonfire right on his feet and stood there in the flames, just because he COULD.

Mo: How do you feel?
Orryk: Fantastic.
Joybell: Our work here is done. Should we head back….
Taman: I’d like to see the portal.
Orryk: So would I.

We continued on our way to the portal, but hadn’t walked for more than a minute when we saw two more of the ogre-sized fire elementals zooming our way.

Thneed moved into a position with some cover again and took two shots, hitting with both and getting a critical hit with one of them.

Thneed: Yeah!!

Mo moved forward and coughed up some smoke, winked at it, and lightning bolt shot out and hit the same elemental Thneed had shot.

Taman moved forward as far as he could and held his attack for one to get in range.

Orryk: Stay back and shoot at them.

Then he moved up ahead of Taman and waited to attack one that came to him. Both of them did, attacking him and hitting him with great arms of fire that could do him absolutely no damage at all. When the fiery barrage against him was over, he was standing there completely unhurt and un-singed.

Fiona cast a synaptic static spell on both of them -- doing them a lot of psychic damage and leaving them scrambled so that they were less effective in battle. Joybell thought about casting protection from energy (fire) on herself, but instead she rode up to one and attacked twice.

Joybell: I can’t do anything from range.

Joybell dropped one with her first attack, then went to the other one and hit it as well. In the process of attacking them, she was set on fire and took some damage from that.

Mo cast vicious mockery on the one remaining.

Mo: Hey! Your face is on fire!

Taman moved and dashed to get into combat with the elemental -- he dropped it with his rapier, catching fire and taking damage just as Joybell had.

Orryk, looking smug and cocky: You all could just go sit down and have some tea.
Joybell, indignant and irritated: What? I’m just going to sit back and pick daisies while you’re fighting these things?
Taman: I prefer to be up front. It’s vastly more entertaining.

While Joybell and Taman were putting out the fires on themselves, Thneed spotted two even bigger elementals coming up the gorge. It was maybe a minute after the first combat that we saw these two approaching.

Taman: The problem isn’t that more are coming or even that they’re getting bigger. It’s that we’re not getting any closer.

When he said that, though, we looked at the far wall of the gorge and were pretty sure we could see the mountain with the hole in it where the portal was.

Thneed put her hunter’s mark on one of them and used her war cleric ability to take three shots, hitting with all three and getting a critical hit with one. Then she moved to a sheltered place again. Taman ran up to the one Thneed had shot and attacked, hitting twice with his rapier. Because of the fire elemental being fire, he took some damage and he was once again aflame. Fiona shot the same one with magic missiles.

Joybell, having learned from the previous fight with fire elementals, cast protection from energy (fire) on herself and Scooby and moved to stand next to Orryk, despite being irritated with him.

Mo cast another Spiritual Weapon and attacked the same one, hitting it.

Mo: Glass his ass!

One of the fire elementals moved to engulf, or enflame, Orryk and Joybell -- they were both completely inside of the flames. The other attacked Taman, but missed because of his protection from good and evil.

Orryk had Omnath put out the flames on Scooby, which Joybell appreciated very much, then he himself attacked the elemental from within with the Medic’s Blade, hitting it twice with the sword and then once again with his unarmed strike.

Thneed used her war cleric ability to shoot at the one on Taman three times, hitting three times and doing a huge amount of damage to it. Taman, on fire, absorbed the fire damage with Absorb Elements, then used his planar warrior ability to do force damage with his rapier -- he hit twice. Unfortunately he then took some damage from the elemental’s retaliation.

Joybell cast Misty Step to get herself and Scooby out of the middle of the fire elemental then she pulled out the Javelin of Lightning. The elemental on Taman, which had been the focus of most of the party’s efforts, was flickering and looked to be in very bad shape. The one on Orryk had been hit a few times by Orryk but was mostly unhurt. Irritated by Orryk fussing at her and being all cocky about the party sitting this out so he could fight the elementals himself, Joybell very pointedly looked at Orryk, then threw the javelin at Taman’s badly wounded elemental. It died immediately. She then turned with a regular javelin and threw it at the one on Orryk, but missed.

Mo cast a vicious mockery on the one on Orryk.

Mo: Your mother was a match and your father was a fart.

We were all very focused on the combat and the bright flaming things we were fighting. And on intermittently being on fire ourselves.

(Note: Everyone in the party failed a perception check.)

The fire elemental attacked Orryk, its arms of fire pummeling him to absolutely no effect.

Omnath flew out of the range of the elemental, it not being immune to fire the way Orryk was. Orryk attacked and hit twice with the Medic’s Blade and once with this fist. Thneed moved her hunter’s mark and took two shots, hitting with both.

(Note: Thneed failed a perception check.)

Taman moved toward the one on Orryk, which looked to be about halfway dead, and put out the flames on himself.

(Note: Taman also didn’t see the Thing we weren’t seeing.)

Fiona cast acid splash on the elemental.

(Note: Fiona didn’t see the Thing.)

Joybell, really ticked at Orryk for woofing at her, put out the fire on herself.

(Note: Joybell didn’t see the Thing.)

Mo’s floating bottle spiritual weapon shanked into the elemental’s face, then Mo cast vicious mockery.

Mo: I’ve seen bonfires more threatening than you are.

(Note: Mo failed to see the Thing.)

The fire elemental moved around Orryk and attacked Thneed. Fortunately it missed, so she wasn’t hit or put on fire.

Orryk attacked with the Medic’s Blade twice and hit twice, then he also hit with his unarmed strike. Omnath, a dust mephit, moved closer to the elemental and breathed a cone of dust into its face, blinding the elemental. It was apparent to all, even Joybell, that Orryk was actually happier than we’d ever seen him and having a lot of fun.

(Note: Orryk and Omnath both failed to see the Thing.)

Thneed, with a huge elemental right on top of her, used the Basalt Amulet to go invisible, then she froze in place, hoping to go unnoticed. As she did so, she saw something huge, larger than Tallyxtillon, flying overhead, heading north toward Erlin. She gestured wildly, waving her arms and pointing at the sky. Unfortunately for the rest of the party, she was invisible while doing so.

Taman, blissfully unaware of the colossal thing flying overhead, attacked the elemental on Orryk.

(Taman's player: Don’t we have advantage? Why?
Orryk's player: Because it’s blind.
GM: Like the party.)

Taman hit the elemental twice with his rapier -- then he also saw the colossal fiery bird heading away to the north.

Taman: Oh, naughty word! Hey, Orryk!

Joybell pulled out the wand of magic missile, but the phoenix was flying too high and far away for her to shoot it, so she fired off a shot at the elemental. Mo shanked it with the spiritual weapon and that finally dropped the elemental.

We spent a second discussing the possibility of getting a portion of the party to the phoenix with dimension door spells, but by the time we even started contemplating the possibility, it was out of range.

We decided to continue to the portal. Orryk’s research had told him that there can be instructions encoded in how these portals are created that give the creatures that come through it a direction or instructions. The fire elementals were very laser-focused on the party as they came down the ravine. The phoenix seemed very laser focused as it flew north, probably on Erlin.

We charged the final quarter mile to the portal, moving as fast as we could. The part of the rock face that appeared to be where the elementals were emerging was the entrance to a natural cave. Inside that cave, there was a circle on the floor, inscribed with many painted and carved runes and words in Ignan, which Orryk can speak and read. He told us that the circle is made so that when something comes within ½ mile of the portal, without a special item in their possession, the portal sends out fire elementals to attack them. If the intruders persist through the fire elementals, then the phoenix emerges after a time to go attack Erlin.

We figured out that if this portal gets turned off, the phoenix will return to the plane of fire.

Joybell: Why would someone set this up targeting Erlin?
Mo: First we close it.

But we needed to figure out how to do that.

Orryk was examining the portal, gathering what knowledge he could from it about how to teleport to the plane of fire. Taman was also examining the portal, because of his interest in planar travel and so on. Taman and Mo, who was also looking at it, noticed that something seemed kind of weird or off about the portal.

Taman: Something’s weird.
Mo: What’s the weird?
(Taman's player: I speak through the GM.)

Taman: Even given what it’s doing, it seems like there’s some complication we’re missing. Something else is happening.

Thneed put her foot into the circle. Nothing happened.

Taman showed Fiona all the things that seemed off to him.

Thneed went all the way into the circle. Nothing happened.

Joybell and Taman went to search the rest of the cave. Taman found a camouflaged niche that had some vials and gems, some arrows, and some art pieces. We collected all of it and dropped it in a bag of holding to look over later.

Orryk: Joybell, do you want to pummel this circle and see if you can disrupt it?
Joybell: Sure. But maybe there’s a better way. Or can someone guide me so it’s carefully placed smashing.
Fiona: Or I could cast dispel magic.

We decided on that course of action first. Thneed suggested dispelling the Erlin part of the programming first, to maybe see if that would get the phoenix less focused on destroying the city.

Orryk and Mo helped Fiona choose the best approach to dispelling the magic, including Mo inspiring her, and she did an amazing job. As she worked with the dispel magic there was a flicker and then the gate to the Elemental Plane of Fire was gone. Underneath it there was a gate, scribed with words and symbols in Infernal. It was a gate to Stygia, the fifth plane of Hell.

Orryk wrote down all the runes and markings. As he did so he talked with Fiona and Mo and got the impression that if Fiona had been less deft with the dispel magic, she would have opened the gate to Stygia in the process of closing the gate to the Plane of Fire, allowing at least one devil to come through. The fire portal was hiding the gate to Stygia.

Taman and Thneed looked at the cave, and at the entrance, to see if they could get a sense of how long it had been since anyone other than us had been here. (Note: Thneed failed miserably at doing Ranger naughty word. As she does.) Taman told us that it appeared that the cave got used monthly. Ish.

While Fiona sat down and began casting detect magic, Joybell took a look at the art objects we’d found. They were all dark themed -- turquoise figurines of devils, two gold birdcages with little stylized villages inside the cages, a necklace with a claw pendant. There were no documents or items that in any way identified their owners.

When Fiona’s spell went off she told us that there were 7 magical arrows and 3 magical vials.

Joybell: Can you scry on whoever set these portals up?
Fiona: Not today.

After Fiona thought about it for a bit, she realized that she wouldn’t be able to even if she had the spell prepared.

Taman borrowed the Broom of Flying and flew up into the sky, looking toward Erlin to see if the phoenix was attacking. There was no sign of any of that. He took some time flying around and having fun before he returned to the cave.

While he was out exploring, the rest of us talked about Stygia and its ruler, Levistus, who is trapped in the ice of his plane. Because he is trapped himself, Levistus offers his services to those who are trapped or who feel they are, in exchange for their souls.

Joybell: We’ve dealt with Orcus worshippers. And cultists of the Outer Hunger. This is our first devil worshipper.

We figured that there was every good chance that the devil worshipper who set this up lives in Erlin, though Joybell pointed out that having the phoenix destroy the city argued against that.

Orryk, Mo, and Taman all helped Fiona close the gate -- which she did very successfully, dispelling and breaking it.

Joybell wanted to leave a message saying that we did this. Mo left a message in Dwarven using the Flute of Scribing claiming the territory in the name of the Tundra Queen. Joybell, unable to read that, wrote with the tip of a javelin:

Wonderful
The ^ Knights of Luminosity

Based on how quickly we got the gate closed, and the fact that Taman didn’t see any smoke or damage when he flew up to look at Erlin, we didn’t think that the phoenix had made it all the way to the city. We also figured that the person who built these portals -- the obvious one to the plane of fire and the hidden one to Stygia -- would know that the phoenix had been summoned and that it had either peeled off or disappeared and not attacked the city. Having one appearing over the horizon then not destroying anything would be the kind of news that would spread through the city.

Thneed did a check to sense for her greater favored enemy, fiends, and detected none within five miles. Though honestly we didn’t expect that there would be any.

We headed back to town and arrived there with no problems.

While we were going we took a look at the treasure we’d gotten from the cave. We had found:

9 1000-gp gems

5 250-gp art objects, to wit:
2 gold birdcages with stylized/generic towns inside them
a set of turquoise figurines which had representations of all the different types of devils
a silver necklace with a pendant in the shape of a claw
a gold bracelet sized for a large creature

7 magical arrows (later identified as +2 Arrows) (Taman)
1 bottle of magical oil (later identified as Oil of Etherealness)
2 magical potions (later identified as Superior Healing and Supreme Healing)

As we poked through what we’d found, that potion of Supreme Healing is nice, we realized that whoever had cached that in the cave was going to be looking for us.

We took a short rest just before we got to town, mostly so Thneed could do her ranger thing again and detect for fiends. Her 5 mile radius on that ability covered the entire city. She detected no fiends.

Cool.

Treasure:
The gems break down to a 1000-gp gem for each of us and 500 extra gold when we cash three of them in for money. We also get 208 gp each for the art objects (with 2 left over for the party kitty).

Joybell will keep the turquoise devils as part of her share of the treasure. That seems like it could be a useful learning tool, since it appears we’re going to be dealing with fiends.

Total for each person: 1708 gp worth of gem and gold (once we sell the freely exchangeable items). (Joybell will get a 1000 gp gem, 458 gp, and the 250 gp art object.)
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Session 45: Devils!

Dramatis Personae:
Orryk - Forest Gnome Monk (Way of the Four Elements, variant)/Wizard
Fiona - Half-Elf Wizard (Evoker)/Cleric (Knowledge)
Taman - Human (variant) Rogue (Inquisitive)/Ranger (Horizon Walker)
Joybell - Forest Gnome Paladin (Oath of the Ancients)
Thneed - Wood Elf Ranger (Hunter Conclave)/Cleric (War)
Mo - Goliath Bard (College of Lore)

GM - Everyone Else


29 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 119) (immediately after)

We resumed immediately after Thneed’s ranger sense told us that there were no fiends in town. Almost certainly. Why wouldn’t we trust Thneed’s ranger senses, after all?

It was late in the afternoon, shortly before dinnertime.

We talked a little bit about Levistus as we entered the town (and we had as we’d walked back to town). He’s the ruler of one of the Hells (Stygia) -- trapped in ice. He offers to help people who are restrained, imprisoned, feeling desperate or trapped, etc. (In exchange for their souls.) He also gets hooks into people who are looking for long-term revenge.

We realized as we walked through the town that we hadn’t been subtle about looking for fire elementals or a fire portal, largely due to Orryk asking everything that moved whether they’d seen one. So we probably weren’t going to be entirely subtle asking around about devil worshippers. The question of the day was: How do we become a disciple of a devil in a town where we know that someone is a follower of that devil.

Joybell: We could go talk to the temples -- religious people might know about religious people, even if they’re of a bad religion. Or the guard. The guard might know about people in prison who could be making deals or know about simmering resentments or feuds in town.
Taman: What if one of the priests is the guys?
Joybell: That’s a terrible thought!! How could you think that?

We broke into two groups for pursuing information in town -- Team Guards (or Team Order), Joybell, Orryk, and Fiona, were going to go to the temples and the guards. Team Terraces (or Team Chaos), Mo, Taman, and Thneed, were going to go to the Terraces pretending to be out of town gem traders looking for someone to make a quick deal with.

Before the two teams parted, Mo gave his sending stone to Joybell, so she could send a message to Taman if she needed to.

Team Order went to the Guardhouse (which happened to be right next to the gate through which we entered the city). Joybell put on her Embernook Guard armband and we quickly made our way through a couple of intermediaries before talking to Captain Althorn, Captain of the Erlin Guard. We asked Captain Althorn if he knew anyone in town who might have made a gate to the Plane of Fire, or been able to do so. Joybell, in relaying this, was very careful not to give anything away about there being a gate to Stygia or anything bad about the gate to the Plane of Fire. We just wanted to talk to someone who could make one for reasons never specified. We also asked if he knew of anything or anyone weird -- if there were any simmering resentments around.

Orryk: Can you think of anyone angry in a burn down the city sort of way.
Captain Althorn: I’d be surprised about a resident burning up the city. They live here. Last spring, though, there was an uproar up in Promontory. We had to escort a family out -- they were running a sort of pyramid scheme, or trying to. Their family had been in Promontory for generations.
Orryk: Are they still in town?
Captain: Yeah -- they’re in Sunlit. The T’multin family.
Joybell: A pyramid scheme?
Captain: They were defrauding families, using the money from new investors to pay old ones and keep them investing more and more. The thing is most of those families up there know each other.
Orryk: Not too bright.
Captain: Not as bright as they think they are.
Joybell: Can you think of anyone else?
Captain: No.
Joybell: Are there any libraries in town?
Captain: Yeah -- there are some in Sunlit and Het’s Ell.
Joybell: Thanks so much for that information. We’ll be checking those out.
Captain: Knowing that we have good and interested adventurers in town makes me feel safer.

Joybell detected no sarcasm and told him he could reach us at the Golden Gallant if he wanted to get in touch.

We left and headed toward Sunlit to talk to the people in the temples.

Joybell, to Orryk: Should we use the sending stone to let the others know what we learned?
Orryk: The stones are one use per day. They’re reserved for when they get in trouble.

Meanwhile, Team Chaos (Mo, Taman, Thneed) went to the Terraces to talk to people. Before they entered, Mo used prestidigitation to clean all of them up, so that everyone looked as spiffy as possible, then he looked for a really good bar. Taman kept a watch out for anything going on in the streets.

On their way to the Terraces, and walking around while there, Mo spent 10 minutes walking and drinking and singing songs to himself -- getting a really good buzz going (or to the “charismatic” stage of drunkenness) and ritually casting Comprehend Languages.

Mo found a fancy house (a bar/whorehouse) called Janya’s and they all entered. The place had a proper bar, so Mo talked to the bartender. He ordered excellent whiskey for himself. Thneed ordered a glass of wine. Taman set himself up at the bar so he could listen and observe.

The bartender was a muscular looking human woman who looked highly competent and was not dressed in any way as one of the prostitutes. The place had a half-orc doorman/bouncer -- Mo’s height but much much bigger.

Mo: You look like you know what’s going on. We’re traveling merchants looking to make coin. Do you know anyone who’s come into money recently who might be looking to make a trade?
Bartender: New money on the Terraces? No there’s nothing like that here. There’s a lot of money on Promontory, some of it newer than others.
Mo: Are there any problems in town? We don’t want to stay here if there are. That’s not our line.
Bartender: Erlin’s not that kind of town.
Mo: How does someone get vouched into Promontory?
Bartender: I could try to arrange for you to meet with someone who comes in. But they’re often not here to drink.
Mo: And they might prefer discretion.
Bartender: Yes.
Mo: Thanks. You’ve been a big help. We need to get up into Promontory, I think.

Mo then let the bartender go and started looking around to see if anyone in the bar looked out of place or like they’d be worth talking to.

While Mo was talking, Taman noticed that the bouncer was having a quiet but forceful conversation with a human woman in her forties. Taman listened in -- the woman was getting more and more strident while the half-orc bouncer was staying calm.

Woman: I owned this place! I hired you!
Bouncer: Yes. And the new owners had to pay to cure your clients.

The bouncer denied the woman entrance and she eventually left, though it took a long time to convince her to go.

Mo, having observed this as well (having been clued into it by Taman) went to talk to the bouncer.

Mo: Hey, Mr. T! I’m Mo W. Kang. What was her problem?
Bouncer: She thinks she still owns the place.
Mo: She doesn’t now?
Bouncer: She was foreclosed on. Yorla is her name.
Mo: Foreclosed implies a debt.
Bouncer: She couldn’t pay debts of various sorts...

Mo slipped him a platinum piece.

Mo: What do you mean “of various sorts”?
Bouncer: Generally when one comes here, one expects to lose money in exchange for an experience. Under her time, people were losing money and other possessions in exchange for various unspeakable diseases.
Mo: How long was she the owner?
Bouncer: Her father owned it before she did. Between the two of them, something like 30 years. The caliber of the place slipped over that time. The new owner is Janya. She’s been here two years. My name is Tosk, by the way.

Thneed, to the bartender: Have you had any rougher customers? Anyone dangerous?
Bartender: Not since the T’multin family got kicked out. They were a bunch of sociopaths.
Taman: What did they do that was so sociopathic?
Bartender: Defrauding people -- they were doing a pyramid scheme.

They then left the bar. Outside, they talked about what we should investigate next.

Taman: I think we should check out this T’multin family. But the bad things happening to the previous owners -- she was certainly aggrieved. Maybe the new owner put her out of business.

Meanwhile, Team Order went to the temple of the Lightbringers. Joybell introduced herself first, then realized that she didn’t know what to ask about so she looked to Orryk.

Orryk talked about the portal to Stygia and asked if the priestess knew anyone who would do something like that. At that the priestess took us into a back room. Once there, Fiona told her about the portal to the Plane of Fire hiding a portal to Stygia. She also mentioned the fire portal having some sort of proximity triggered magic that produced elementals when people got close to it.

Priestess: I’m admiring the irony of the Hell that is a plane of Ice being protected by a gate to the plane of fire.
Joybell: Can you think of anyone in town capable of setting something like that up?
Priestess: In town?
Orryk: Well, no one came this far to put it outside of Erlin. It could be someone who came to town five or six years ago. Or someone who had a major life change five or six years ago.
Priestess: There was a guy I ran into in a library about that time. He had just come here from New Arvai. He was interested in books about the planes -- but he seemed new to magic and like he was looking for information outside of his experience.
Orryk: Maybe he had a new friend giving him advice. Was he human?
Priestess: Yeah. He seemed like a decent guy at the time.
Joybell: Did you get a name?
Priestess: No.
Joybell: Which library was this in?
Priestess: Donni’s Library.
Joybell: What do they have in their collection?
Priestess: They’re the best library in town for information about magic and the planes.
Fiona: What did he look like? Maybe we can look for him.
Priestess: He was one of the most non-descript people I’ve ever seen. Almost as though he was cultivating it -- average haircut, average clothing.
Joybell: At what point does that become a fieldmark? Do you know anything about the T’multin family?
Priestess: They are schemesters and sociopaths.
Joybell: When did they start their pyramid scheme?
Priestess: I don’t know when they started. I do know that when the people of Promontory, with the help of the Guard, when to throw them out, they searched their house. They didn’t find nearly as much money as they should have.
Joybell: How many zeroes were missing?
Priestess: Four or five of them. All in gold.
Joybell: One thousand to ninety thousand. I actually would have expected more…
Fiona: Ten thousand to nine-hundred thousand
Joybell: They don’t teach math in paladin school.
Fiona, to the priestess: Both of the portals are now closed.
Priestess: How?
Fiona: Dispel magic.
Priestess: I might have been tempted to use her [pointing to Joybell] hammer.
Joybell: That option was on the table.

We thanked the priestess and left, heading back to the Golden Gallant.

Meanwhile, Team Chaos was talking about what to do. Thneed wanted to talk to some of the families who’d gotten ripped off by the T’multins -- maybe sticking with the out of town gem merchants ruse. They could approach people with the line that they wanted to help them get their money back. They headed toward the gates of Promontory, which were not all that far from Janya’s Fancy House -- they just had to go up the last couple of switchbacks.

The neighborhood of Promontory looked like a very old fort on top of the hill with a large stone and metal portcullis-style gate. The guards appeared to know the people who lived in Promontory -- many people were going in without showing a voucher. Others were stopped. Around the gate, indeed along the switchbacks the whole way up, were various shops and restaurants and bars (Janya’s among them). There were four guards on the ground in front of the gate. The group could also see some number in a crenellated walk above the portcullis.

They headed back to the Golden Gallant where they met up with Team Order and we all got dinner and shared information about the T’multins and the angry former fancy house owner and the sketchy guy in the library.

Taman: I find your priest very sketchy because she complimented the devil worshipper’s method of hiding the portal. Also she ushered you all into a private room.

Mo pointed out that if we could find the T’multin’s house, he could put a clairvoyance in it. With that thought in mind, as soon as we finished dinner we decided to go out for a walk in Sunlit. Mo, in an effort to make the party less conspicuous, cast invisibility on Scooby -- Joybell walked along with the rest of the party.

Mo then wandered a bit away from the party, disheveling himself up and putting some dust on his robes and found someone on the street to talk to.

Mo: Hi! I just got into town and am looking for my business partner, one of the T’multins. I invested everything I have. I need to talk to him about my money.

(GM: Mo just ran into the most helpful idiot in town -- Nat 20 on the local knowledge check, Nat 1 on seeing through Mo’s subterfuge.)

Person: If you invested all of your money, you need a lot of help. I’ll take you there.
Mo: Why?
Person: They’re frauds.
Mo: What do you mean, they’re frauds? I’ve invested thousands…
Person: They’re frauds. I’ll take you there.

Mo used a message spell to tell Taman to follow him. Taman caught his eye and clapped silently. We all followed, quite a bit back so as not to be an obvious wad of strange people tagging along.

Mo was taken to a two story house (at least two stories above the ground). It looked reasonably prosperous, with a coach house and everything. There was a six-foot high stone fence around the property with an iron-barred gate at the front. The fence looked quite climbable and more for privacy than security. The gate was the only place where we could see the house. The yard was unkempt and the house didn’t look particularly well cared for, though it wasn’t in any sort of disrepair either.

We could see some lights in windows on the ground floor.

Mo, to the helpful idiot: Look, friend. I think I need to deal with this on my own. We’ve known each other a long time.
Person: Good luck.

Mo then tried the gate and found it locked.

Mo: The gate is locked. I’ll have to try again in the morning.

He and the helpful idiot then left, in different directions. Mo joined the rest of the party a few moments later and we returned to the Golden Gallant, which was not far from the T’multin house. We hoped that we’d worked quickly enough that we were ahead of news getting around that we were making inquiries. If the T’multins were responsible for the Stygia gate, we had some hope that they didn’t realize it yet.

Once in our room, Mo cast Clairvoyance -- he played a song on his pipe that started to sound like 1990’s dialup internet, then made his birdman goggles with his hands. He didn’t see anything. The sensor simply didn’t show up inside the house. He recognized that they were blocking being scryed upon -- Fiona was aware of a spell called Mordenkainen’s Private Sanctum that can make a whole building impossible to scry. The private sanctum can be made permanent -- either with high ritual magic or by casting the spell on the same location every day for a year. So it was possible that the house had the private sanctum on it before the T’multins moved in.

Thneed suggested continuing the gem merchant facade -- offering a business deal and playing ourselves as obvious marks. Mo suggested using polymorph to turn into something.

We decided to go with Mo’s idea, on the grounds that Thneed’s would still be available if it didn’t would. So Mo blew out a cloud of smoke that pooled around his feet then swirled up to his head. As the smoke dissipated a raccoon, Bandit, stepped out. Taman helped Bandit over the fence.

Mo proceeded through the yard to the house and scrambled up to the windowsills - but he couldn’t see anything through the windows. Even with his raccoon intelligence, he realized that the windows had been obscured. He could see light, but only blurry shapes. He couldn’t hear anything.

He went through the breezeway between the house and the carriage house to the back yard. He found a back door to the house.

He scampered across the forty feet or so of yard between the back of the house and the back wall. Once over the wall and in an alley (not where the rest of the party was), he dropped the polymorph and tried to cast a dimension door spell to get inside the back door. The spell simply didn’t work -- he didn’t move at all. Mo started heading toward the rest of the party

Mo, to Taman with a message spell as he approached: I can’t see or hear anything. Meet up. I tried dimension door. It didn’t work.
Taman, to Mo through the spell: I’ll go.

Before the rest of the party knew what was going on (because we weren’t privy to the conversation through the spell), Taman vaulted over the wall. Mo cast invisibility on him as he went.

Taman crossed the yard to the house and found a window that didn’t have light shining through it. That window was locked. He went around to the back door and picked that lock -- successfully opening the lock.

Before he opened the door he ran back to the wall where the party was gathered and popped his head over it.

Taman, invisible: Door’s open. Who’s going in?
Mo, with a message spell in order to be quieter: Don’t go in.
Joybell, whispering: We have a gallon of oil of etherealness. Slather up.

We went back to the Golden Gallant where Taman, still invisible, slathered up with one of the vials of oil of etherealness -- so he was then both ethereal and invisible. He went back to the house on his own, walking through the city streets like a ghost. He was able to get in the house with no problems and walked around inside scouting the place. The layout was a pretty normal layout for a house of that size.

He made his way into a room where he saw a handful of people, five of them. One was a very non-descript male human, who appeared to have deliberately dressed in the most common or average clothing styles that everyone in town seemed to be wearing. One was a woman who appeared to be trying to act like and look like a noble. One was the woman Taman had seen arguing with the half-orc bouncer at the fancy house, Yorla. There were also two other male humans.

They were doing some sort of funky ritual to do with a large circle carved into the wooden floor.

He’d just earlier that day seen one just like it at the cave south of town.

Taman immediately left the house and used the stone of sending to talk to Joybell.

Taman: Holy naughty word! There’s a devil circle inside. Let's go! Am still ethereal, dammit!

Joybell relayed this to the others.

Joybell: I don’t know if he means let's go in or let’s leave.
Mo told her what to say in response. (Note: My notes do not record what Mo told her to say.)

Taman returned to the Golden Gallant about the time that the oil of etherealness wore off.

Taman: Five people. The chick from the bar, Yarla, who was arguing with Mr. T. And a perfectly average guy. They were in the middle of doing something with a circle on the floor.
Thneed: If they’re opening a gate...not just summoning a devil but opening a door…

Thneed detected for fiends and found that there were approximately three. Or maybe four. (DM error/waffling)

Thneed: Approximately three and a half.

They were between the Golden Gallant and the T’multin house.

Orryk summoned an air elemental with the censer. Mo pulled a baboon, Rafiki, from the bag of tricks.

Mo: If he survives, he can be a buddy for Clyde.

Taman poured a bottle of holy water over his head and cast protection from evil and good on himself. Joybell laid hands on Taman, herself, and Scooby. (We were all still somewhat injured from fighting the fire elementals at the gate early in the day.)

Taman: This means they know we’re doing stuff -- whether because we were asking after them or because we destroyed the circle.
Orryk: Joybell spilled the beans.
Joybell: I did not! I did not mention the devil circle at all. I was very careful. You did!

All of these things, and the conversation, happened while we were rushing out of the inn and heading toward the T’multin house. Joybell and Orryk were in the front of the party.

As we proceeded, we made a turn and at the end of the street we saw four devils -- one large one and three smaller ones. There were also a smattering of innocent civilians in the street. The smaller ones were pretty humanoid looking, but with thorns. The larger one had a long stinger like a skeletal scorpion.

Thneed was able to identify these as three barbed devils and one bone devil. She told us that the barbed devils grapple people and throw fireballs. Both kinds are immune to fire, resistant to cold, and resistant to spells they had to make a save for.

Thneed, on seeing the devils, moved into position and started shouting for the civilians to get out of the way. Then she shot an arrow at the closest bone devil.

Mo looked to see if he could use a plant growth spell, but there weren’t any plants for the spell to work on. So instead he moved up 30 feet and cast hypnotic pattern on the bone devil and two of the barbed devils. Unfortunately all of them saved. Then he inspired Thneed.

Orryk sent the air elemental, which moves incredibly fast, right up into the face of the bone devil, but it was unable to attack after flying so fast. Joybell, who saw that she was not going to be able to attack either, rode Scooby until she was next to one of the civilians (so she could protect them if they were attacked) and dodged.

Joybell, as she rode, shouting: Go! Go!! Get out of here!

Taman moved up next to her. Fiona moved up, trying to get into spell range, and dodged.

The bone devil attacked the air elemental that was right in front of its face. The elemental was hit by a claw but missed by the huge stinger.

Three of the civilians, seeing the devil attacking and the air elemental and hearing Thneed and Joybell shouting for them to get clear, froze in place and whimpered piteously. Three of them ran away screaming, including the one that had been next to Joybell.

One of the barbed devils backed away from the air elemental, which was able to take an opportunity attack against it and hit solidly. It attacked the air elemental with a thrown fireball, but that missed. Another barbed devil threw fire at the air elemental and hit solidly.

The third threw its fireball at Orryk, hitting him squarely, but doing no damage at all, because Orryk. Orryk grinned.

Thneed moved up to where she could cast her hunters mark on the barbed devil that attacked Orryk -- then she took a shot at it. Mo moved up and shot the same one with his crossbow, then he inspired Joybell.

Mo: Keep these civilians safe.

Orryk ran forward and took two shots with his bow on the devil that had fireballed him. Then he spent a ki point for Patient Defense. The air elemental did two slams on one of the barbed devils, hitting it.

Joybell rode up next to one of the civilians who was frozen in fear and yelled at him to snap out of it. Then she threw her javelin of lightning at the bone devil, hitting solidly. Taman ran over to the one that had attacked Orryk and attacked, but there was no one else fighting it so he wasn’t able to sneak up on it. Fiona moved up as far as she could and cast magic missile on the barb devil that Taman was fighting with.

The bone devil moved up to attack Joybell, but missed with all of its attacks. One of the barbed devils did as well - or maybe it was attacking the civilian she was standing next to -- it was really impossible to tell.

None of the three civilians were able to snap out of their terror and run away. All just cried and whimpered, staring in horror and terror at the devils.

The barbed devil that was fighting with Taman attacked but missed. And the one that was fighting the air elemental backed away a bit and shot a fireball out it.

Thneed shot the barbed devil Taman was fighting and hit it incredibly solidly (note: she did 43 points of damage, which was not even the maximum she can do). That dropped the barbed devil, which dissolved into a puddle of slime.

Mo told Rafiki the baboon to grab one of the civilians. Rafiki ran off to do that, though it would take him several seconds to get to the civilian.

The air elemental moved to fight the barbed devil that was attacking Joybell, then Orryk shot it in the back with his shortbow.

Joybell attacked the bone devil and just missed and missed. Even Mo’s inspiration couldn’t help her. Taman moved, swiping along the blade of his rapier as he walked to activate his planar warrior ability, then attacked the bone devil for a lot of damage. Fiona fired a guiding bolt at the bone devil, but missed with the shot.

The bone devil turned away from Joybell and attacked Taman -- he got lucky and was missed by a claw. Mo spoke some cutting words and prevented the stinger from hitting.

The civilian near Joybell, and the bone devil, and a barbed devil, finally snapped out of his terror and ran away. The other two were unable to get their muscles working, except to cry and scream feebly.

One of the barbed devils attacked Joybell and hit her. One of them threw fire at Tamana, but missed. However, we noticed that there was a bit of fire on some of the buildings. Rafiki started guiding one of the civilians out of the street and down a side alley. Mo himself, frustrated, unrolled the battle hammock and pushed the final civilian into it, then told the broom to fly around a corner into an alley.

The air elemental made two slam attacks on the barbed devil. Orryk moved to ten feet away from the same barbed devil and hit it with his fists of unbroken air--hitting three times, one of which hit into a critical spot on the devil.

Joybell attacked the bone devil and smote it, strongly, twice. (Note: She did a third level smite and a second level smite -- totalling 70 or so damage.) Taman then attacked and dropped the bone devil. His second attack hit the nearby barbed devil. Fiona cast a guiding bolt on the barbed devil on Joybell and Taman and the air elemental. Doing some nice damage and the next attack against it would be at advantage.

The civilian with Rafiki apparently found that an agitated baboon was just another thing to be terrified by and stayed in place. Thneed moved up a bit closer and moved her hunter’s mark to the barbed devil on Joybell, Taman and the air elemental -- she hit it because of Fiona’s guiding bolt. Her second shot was better -- that dropped it.

The devils attacked, to remarkably little effect.

Rafiki pushed the civilian he was interacting with out of the street and into an alley. Then Mo tried to shoot the last barbed devil in the face with his crossbow, but he missed. The air elemental hit it. Orryk hit it with a critical blow with the medic’s blade, but it didn’t drop. Joybell rode over to it and hit it with two smiting blows, finally dropping it.

Mo: I go to collect my broom and my monkey.

We headed to the house -- which was about a 10 minute walk from where we were. The house looked pretty much the same as we’d seen earlier, except that there was a smoldering crater in the street outside the house. Fiona and Orryk knew that sometimes the portals appear at a location near, but not exactly on, the site of the circle. Apparently, the devils appeared here.

And there we ended -- in the street outside the T’multin house.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Session 46: Making Deals With Devils Is Stupid As Well As Bad

Dramatis Personae:
Orryk - Forest Gnome Monk (Way of the Four Elements, variant)/Wizard
Fiona - Half-Elf Wizard (Evoker)/Cleric (Knowledge)
Taman - Human (variant) Rogue (Inquisitive)/Ranger (Horizon Walker)
Joybell - Forest Gnome Paladin (Oath of the Ancients)
Thneed - Wood Elf Ranger (Hunter Conclave)/Cleric (War)
Mo - Goliath Bard (College of Lore)

GM - Everyone Else


29 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 119) (immediately after)

We began where we left off, right outside the T’multin house, with a still warm crater in the street outside and five people doing some sort of spell or ritual to summon them inside the house.

Orryk: Taman, didn’t you leave the back door open?
Taman: Yes! I did.

We sorted out our plan of attack.

Taman: Kick in the back door. Kill anyone who resists.

We decided that was good.

Mo pulled a giant weasel out of his bag of tricks. He named it Jamie Dimon and had it come with us. Orryk summoned an air elemental with the censer. Thneed cast pass without trace and we went over the wall on the back side of the house, near the carriage gate.

Due to Thneed’s spell, we were all really sneaky, even Joybell didn’t clank or clatter on the way in.

We could see that the windows were lit, but we couldn’t see any details, or even any movement, as we walked toward the back door. Orryk convinced Joybell to leave Scooby outside, which she did.

Taman opened the door, then ran across the mudroom and opened the door straight across from it.

We entered at a double door on the lower right. Taman’s straight across run led him to the door that ultimately went to the ritual room with the pentagram on the floor. Peeking inside, he saw the non-descript man he’d seen before and caught glimpses of some of the people he’d seen in the room earlier. He closed the door quietly, then let us know that the people were in there.

Once we were all ready, Taman kicked open the door and ran directly to the non-descript man and held his sword to his throat.

Taman: Surrender, Knaves!

Orryk entered the room, recommending to all of us that we not kill them. The air elemental hit the nondescript guy just before Orryk got to him. Orryk then hit him and stunned him with a punch. He then turned and used his fists of unbroken air to hit the woman from the fancy house (Yorla). She got blown back into the wall and knocked unconscious, dropped like the noncombatant she was.

In addition to the nondescript man and Yorla, there was a noble looking lady and two guys with shortswords. The guys with swords didn’t look like combatants either -- just like townies walking around with swords on their hips because people wear swords as a matter of course.

Jamie Dimon, the giant weasel, ran past the noble lady and attacked one of the regular dudes, climbing up his leg and clinging to him and scrambling over him.

Mo viciously mocked the noble looking lady.

Mo: Are you the help?

She stood there looking slack-jawed and stunned, like she’d never been so insulted in all her life.

Fiona moved into the doorway of the room and cast a mind-spike on the non-descript man -- so she’d know where he was for the next hour as long as she maintained concentration on it.

Thneed entered the room and aimed an arrow at the chest of the noble-looking lady.

Thneed: I suggest you get on the floor.

The noble lady kneeled.

The dude with Jamie Dimon scrambling over him and biting him flailed at the weasel. The other regular dude held his hands up, looking pretty freaked out.

Mo: Fantastic! This is going swimmingly!

Joybell walked into the room radiating paladinly disapproval and maternal disappointment, in a three-foot-tall package.

Joybell: What is going on in here? Why are you summoning devils?

The noble lady and the guy with his hands up looked over at the stunned non-descript guy, without saying a word.

Joybell: Well, why are you following him? Don’t be horrible people.

Taman used the Rope of Entanglement on the stunned nondescript guy and Orryk put the Dimensional Shackles we’ve had since forever on him.

When the stunned guy shook it off a few seconds later he was tied up and shackled and prevented from teleporting or plane shifting. Mo shoved his Embernook armband into the guy’s mouth.

Then he called off Jamie Dimon.

Mo: Hold off. That guy may have money.

Fiona, looking around the room: Huh. Restrained, shackled, peeing on the floor, unconscious.

The runes in the circle glowed slightly red and Fiona couldn’t tell if the circle was powering up or powering down. So she cast a dispel magic on it and the whole circle powered down -- some of the runes went completely dark.

Thneed opened one of the other doors to the room and started quickly peeking around. She’d entered the room between the ritual room and the door and she saw nothing of particular interest in the room.

Thneed: i’m going to go get the police.
Mo: Don’t split the party.

So instead we perp-walked the whole crew out to the front wall and lined them up against the wall, searching all of them as we did so. (Before taking the noble-looking lady outside, Thneed found some clothing in one of the bedrooms and let her change her urine stained garments.)

We found 18,000 gold and 1600 platinum -- probably the money that the people of Promontory and the Guard hadn’t found when trying to get restitution for the victims of the T’multin’s pyramid scheme. The nondescript man also had a staff and a cloak. There was some Elven Chain in another room.

We also found some papers on the nondescript man -- a letter with his name on it: Orman.

The guard was apparently on the way to the house (the crater forming and devils roaming the city will get their attention). By the time we had everyone lined up against the wall, Thneed saw guards, including Captain Althorn, looking at the smoldering crater in the road and waved them over.

Thneed, pointing to our prisoners: The problem’s over there.

Captain Althorn gestured for a guard to manacle Orman, the nondescript guy, but Orryk left the dimensional shackles on nonetheless.

Joybell: HI, Captain!! I mentioned the fire portal earlier. I didn’t mention there was also a portal to one of the Hells, Stygia. To summon devils. So we tracked them down to here. They summoned devils earlier [pointing to the crater]. We killed those.

With the guard present, we talked to the townsmen, one of whom was Lord T’multin (the one Jamie Dimon had attacked) and the noble-looking lady, Lady T’multin, about why they were summoning devils. They felt that they had been wronged when they were kicked out of Promontory. Orman had convinced them that he could help.

We knew Yorla, the former fancy house owner, felt wronged because she’d lost her business. We didn’t know what the townsman who’d surrendered before we attacked him was upset about.

Mo, to that townsman: You! What’s your story?

The townsman told us that he’d been an innkeeper in Sunlit. He’d lost his inn and now had a dumpier place in the Feedlots. He ranted about conspiracies against him and the government favoring the people who’d displaced him and general unfairness.

Joybell: If you were truly wronged, I’m sure there are better ways to deal with it than summoning devils.

Joybell showed Captain Althorn the circle in the ritual room. She also showed him the gold we’d found on Orman.

Joybell: We think this is the money y’all didn’t find that belongs to the people they defrauded.
Captain: We’ll take the money to return it to the families. But you can keep any interesting items or stuff you found.

He said that while looking at the pile with the staff, the cloak, a book written in infernal, and the elven chain. We also found a pair of boots, a scroll and a thing that looked like a gigantic brass eyeball in the house.

Joybell: How the hell did they get elven chain?
Orryk: Same way Mo did.
Joybell: Well, fair enough.

Orryk pulled out the Orrery - it just spun without picking a direction.

Joybell, to Lady T’multin: Was the circle there when you bought the house?
Lady T’multin: It was part of the revenge.
Joybell, incensed: Revenge for what??! You don’t get to take revenge on your victims! You defrauded them! What is wrong with you?!

Before we left for the guardhouse, we helped the Captain interrogate Orman. We learned that he was with a gang (To Be Named Later) in New Arvai. He attempted to sell information that someone high up in New Arvai’s power structure wanted kept quiet. The person had very specific tastes, considered depraved and nasty, even by the standards of a city that is well known for consorting with demons and devils. He found himself imprisoned and looking at an inevitable, unpleasant death. He reached out for help, and Levistus answered. He woke up here in Erlin, without having any memory of traveling the distance between the cities.

Mo: What did you hope to accomplish?
Orman: Eventually, I wanted revenge on the people who imprisoned me.
Orryk: How did you create the portals?
Orman: I have a book that I got from Levistus.

We figured from all we’d learned that Orman was a warlock of Levistus - but he also apparently had some skills and training as a thief.

As we helped the guard take the prisoners to the guard house, we warned Captain Althorn about Orman’s connection with Levistus, and about his magical abilities. We wanted to make sure they were able to handle magical prisoners.

On the way Joybell, who was furious at all of these devil worshippers, fussed at Orman. All the way to the guardhouse and into his cell.

Then she warned Captain Althorn that he had a prisoner who’d made a deal with a devil who specializes in getting people out of prisons and other confinement.

Joybell: Good luck holding him.

We left the guard with their prisoners, with the blessing of Captain Althorn, and returned to the Golden Gallant with the things we found.

We went to one of our rooms, finally resting, and Fiona identified the items we’d found.
  • Spell Scroll of Glibness - (Note: Mo chortled when this was identified). This is an 8th level bard spell. (Mo)
  • Cloak of Protection +1 to AC, +1 to all saves.
  • Staff of Swarming Insects (Mo) - produces insect swarms and giant insects. (Another contributor to Mo’s Magnificent Magical Menagerie)
  • Boots of the Path - does something like find the path
  • Eye of the Beholder - it does an anti-magic field
  • The Warlock’s Pact of the Tome book
After identifying the items, we went to bed after a very long day. The night passed without incident.


30 Harfastin 748 (Campaign day 120)

The next morning we were woken by a very very loud and insistent knock on one of the hotel room doors. It turned out to be Captain Althorn, looking frazzled. We asked if his prisoner had gone missing. He told us his whole prison was missing, at least the small building in the Feedlots they were using to house Orman separate from the rest of the prison population. All there was in its place was a crater with Orman’s body at the bottom of it.

Althorn was a little wound up.

The separate building that they’d put Orman in, under guard, was now a crater. One of the guards who’d been watching him reported that there was a crater that spread out under the building and the building collapsed into it. The guard saw an icy hand come out of the burning crater. It reached out and took a small clay-like worm out of the body of the warlock and dragged it away, down into the portal at the bottom of the crater.

Joybell: You need to have that guard make drawings of this and post it all over town. This is why you don’t make deals with devils, people!
Orryk: None of the people who did are here. Are you just lecturing?
Joybell: Apparently! Yes!

Captain Althorn had two requests for us -- the first was to break the summoning circle that ate the prison. The second was to deal with the devils that were roaming the city, after having emerged from the summoning circle.

We decided to go deal with the circle first -- turning off the tap, so to speak. Thneed did her check for fiends while we were on the way, so we’d know if we were approaching a fiend fortress. . She detected three groups -- one in Promontory, one between Sunlit and Het’s Ell, and one in the Harbor.

Joybell: Someone’s gonna have to vouch us into Promontory.

Fiona, as we walked there: If this circle was created by Levistus himself, it might be beyond me.

The prison, a single room, single cell affair for special prisoners, was near the Feedlots and Gate Bridge. We went to the crater, much bigger than the one outside the T’multin house. It looked a little like a sinkhole, but with rubble down in the bottom. It looked like an underground nuclear test site.

But the ground was blackened and there were large runes in infernal around the circle.

Taman: This is the lesson we learned; Don’t take prisoners.
Thneed: There might have been a spell cast so that whenever he died this would happen. He might have found a way to kill himself. If we’d killed him, we might have been there when this happened.
Mo: You never know until you try.
Thneed: Technically, yes….but…

Fiona activated the wings of flying, preparing to fly to the edge of the dispel magic spell’s range over the circle. The rest of us backed away, but before we did so Mo inspired her.

Mo: You’ve got this! We have faith in you.

From 115 feet in the air, Fiona cast the most powerful dispel magic spell she could manage. Joybell stood by, closer than the others, with the warhammer at the ready, in case something happened.

Fortunately, what happened, was that some (but not all) of the runes went dark and the circle became inert. When Fiona landed and the others gathered up, Joybell asked if it could be recreated or if it was really permanently dead. Fiona thought that it could be recreated, but only by someone who could make five foot high letters with lava.

Well, alrighty then.

Captain Althorn gave us each a voucher to get into Promontory, though we went first to Het’s Ell (toward Sunlit) because it was closer. As we went we discussed the order we wanted to tackle the groups of devils in -- over Mo’s objections, we decided to take them in the order we could get to them most efficiently, which unfortunately left the working folks in the Harbor for last, after the rich people in Promontory.

When we started getting close to the area Thneed thought they were in, we listened for screaming and watched for people running away. Orryk had Omnath flying up above the houses looking for them. We didn’t have to go too far into Sunlit before Omnath spotted some barbed devils and a bone devil. He guided Orryk in the right direction.

We came around a corner and found one bone devil and three barbed devils.

Joybell gave one of the civilians on the street, one who hadn’t yet seen the devils, a silver piece and asked him to run off and find Captain Althorn and ask him to tell people to stay inside and not be in danger. She gave the person her name and told him she’d last seen Captain Althorn down in the Feedlots.

Thneed put her hunter’s mark on the bone devil and shot him twice, getting a critical hit with one of them. Orryk moved closer and shot it with his short bow.

At that point, the bone devil flew up over the building and into an alley. From her position, Thneed could see it pick up a civilian and hold it up like a shield.

Fiona cast magic missile on the bone devil, taking advantage of the fact that the missiles wouldn’t hit the civilian. Taman took a shot at it with one of his magic arrows - he didn’t hit the devil, but he didn’t hit the civilian either.

The barbed devils moved toward us, passing some civilians in the street. And conveniently bunching up so that Mo could try and cast hypnotic pattern on them. That worked beautifully -- despite them having a special, innate resistance to magic, all three of them were hypnotized by the pretty lights. Then he sent Jamie Dimon to attack the bone devil.

Joybell rode hard on Scooby toward the bone devil, yelling for the civilians to run away as she passed, then scooted around the devil to attack it from the back, drawing down the energy of a divine smite when she hit it.

Most of the civilians listened to Joybell and ran away.

Thneed cast a new spell, setting some arrows down on the ground in a circle so that if any of the barbed devils woke up and stepped into the circle, they’d get shot by one of the arrows.

Orryk attacked the bone devil with the sword of the medic and then with a punch. The punch was the blow that got through and let him stun the devil.

Fiona cast a guiding bolt -- doing a lot of damage, which was worthwhile even though we already had advantage on our attacks against it. Taman ran up to the devil and attacked with his rapier, dropping it.

The civilian the devil had been holding as a shield or hostage fell to the ground mostly uninjured. He limped away down the alley.

With the bone devil dead, and the civilian no longer in danger, we focused fire on the barbed devils one at a time and took them out without much trouble.

We started heading toward the Switchback Terraces on the way to Promontory -- we figured out that between Fiona with her wings and the broom of flying ferrying people (and Orryk running straight up, cutting across the switchbacks) we were able to get up there pretty quickly. The guards at the gate to Promontory appeared to be studiously ignoring anything crazy that might be going on beyond their gates. They gave a quick glance to the chits that Captain Althorn had given us and let us in, pointing us in the direction of the screaming they were doing nothing about.

(Taman's player: These guards deserve names.
Joybell's player: Helmut and Kurt.)

We made our way into the old and spiffy part of the city.

Before long we saw three flying devils with big pitchforks, big muscles, and leathery wings. Thneed did ranger naughty word to try and pull up whatever knowledge she had about them.

Thneed: They’re big devils. I don’t like them.

Orryk told us that they were horn devils and that they often act as enforcers for various high ranking devils in the hierarchy of the hells. All of them were flying over the roofs of the buildings holding civilians as hostages -- the civilians were held casually, by the ankles or the wrists, about 40 feet off the ground.

Thneed took a couple of shots at the nearest one, after she put her hunter’s mark on it. She took extra care to aim to miss the hostage. Fiona cast a guiding bolt on one of them and got a critical crit on it and did a frightening lot of damage. And left the devil glowing.

Orryk ran up on top of the building with the devil Thneed and Fiona had been shooting hovering over it and dodged. Taman put his hunter’s mark on the same one and shot with the magic arrows, hitting twice and doing a lot of damage.

One of the other horn devils dropped its civilian, from 40 feet up, so it probably died, and landed behind a building. Another one dropped its civilian, who we could see landed very very badly and died instantly, and attacked Taman -- it missed with two attacks with its pitchfork. It would have hit with a whip of it’s sharp tail, but Taman’s luck and Mo’s cutting words kept it from hitting.

The one we’d been damaging flew down and landed near Taman, hitting him with its pitchfork.

Joybell cheered silently that they’d come down to where she could fight them. She dropped the one that we’d been focusing fire on with her first blow then rode over to the one on the other side of Taman, but missed with that attack.

None of us could see what was up with the one that had landed behind the building, so Mo cast shatter on the one on Joybell and Taman. Then he sent Jamie Dimon in to attack it.

Mo: Get him, Jamie! He might have some money!

The weasel ran up to the feet of the devil, but was unable to attack immediately.

Some of the remaining civilians broke out of their terrified paralysis and ran away, but some stayed stunned with horror.

Thneed moved her hunters mark to the one on Joybell and Taman and shot it twice. Fiona, still with the wings of flying, flew up over the tops of the buildings and saw the one lurking behind the building. She tried to cast mind spike on it, but it saved, so while she did some damage she did not get a lock on it to know where it was.

Orryk ran back down the building he’d just run up and threw two daggers at the one Joybell and Taman were fighting then punched at it with his fists of unbroken air. Taman moved his hunters mark to it and stabbed with the rapier, doing an awful lot of damage.

The devil on Taman and Joybell attacked Taman twice with his pitchfork. Taman avoided a critical hit from the pitchfork with a lucky dodge. Unfortunately ,the tail hit, doing some sort of damage that left him with a bleeding wound.

The one behind the building flew up into the air and attacked Fiona. Mo used his cutting words to cause one blow with the pitchfork into a miss, but the second hit her. They were about 40 feet up in the air fighting with one another.

Joybell missed twice with the warhammer, having gotten off step by dropping the one with her first blow a moment earlier. She moved slightly to be close enough to Taman to protect him with her shield.

Mo: I need a bottle of the hard stuff.

A giant, glowing whiskey bottle appeared over the head of the one flying with Fiona, but missed. Then Mo shot the devil with his crossbow, hitting but only barely. Jamie Dimon did more damage with its attack on the one on the ground with Taman and Joybell.

Thneed moved across the road, shooting the one on Joybell and Taman on the way and hitting twice. She used her war cleric ability to take another shot, but unfortunately that one missed.

Orryk moved up on the one on the ground -- he missed with the medic’s blade, unfortunately, but again he got a hit with his punch.

Taman’s bleeding wound practically gushed blood -- we wondered if the devil’s sharp tail had perhaps hit an artery. Then he attacked the devil and hit it well before he used his rogue training to disengage from the enemy and run away to where Thneed was.

The devil that was now on Orryk and Joybell attacked Joybell. Fortunately, it wasn’t able to hit her. The one that was in the air on Fiona sensed weakness in Taman, perhaps smelling all the blood, so it landed and attacked him. Taman’s luck prevented a critical hit. Then a pitchfork hit him --Taman’s own innate luck kept it from hitting him in a critical spot. Mo was able to use his cutting words to reduce the damage.

Joybell took two swings with the warhammer, missing with both of her blows. Again. Then she moved away, leaving Orryk with that one and going to protect Taman. Immediately after that, Mo used healing words on him.

Mo: Hey, buddy. You’ve got a lot of blood there.

The spell sealed up the bleeding wound and restored some of Taman’s strength. Then Mo crossbowed the one on Orryk for a few points and Jamie Dimon gnawed on it for a few more.

Thneed, who suddenly found herself with a devil right in front of her, ran away (risking an opportunity attack, which fortunately missed), then she took a shot at the one on Orryk, since her hunter’s mark was already on that one. She hit it once, then used her war cleric ability to shoot it again.

Fiona hit the one that had attacked her, which was now right up with Joybell and Taman, with a shadowbolt. It saved from the damage, but still took a lot of damage.

Orryk had Omnath breathe a cone of dust on the one on Joybell and Taman, but it saved. Then he attacked the one he was fighting with his medic’s blade, dropping it. He used the blade’s ability to heal Taman, then he ran over and attacked the one on Joybell and Taman but missed it.

Taman attacked the one that was on him, the last one, after moving his hunter’s mark over, and did a terrifying amount of damage with his sneak attack, but the devil was still standing.

It attacked Taman. Joybell held her shield ready to protect him from the tail, ignoring the two attacks with the pitchfork, which both missed. Between her shield and Mo’s cutting words, the tail missed as well.

Joybell then got her attack. She missed with her first one then finally got a hit with her second one. Full with the pleasure and satisfaction of having finally hit something, Joybell summoned down the biggest divine smite she could manage and with that she was able to just barely drop the devil.

We ran to check out the three civilians that the devils had dropped. Two of them were dead, as we suspected, but the third was barely alive and bleeding out. Joybell gave him a little bit of healing by laying on hands -- just enough to stabilize him and keep him safe until he could get more assistance than we had time to provide.

We ended there, before heading off to the Harbor to fight the last group.
 

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