The Once and Future King

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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Warforged follies

Our party, composed of the halfling rogue Kithry, the streetrat-turned-turned-fighter Aedek, and the foreign cleric Yorik, met on a dark and stormy night at the Red Rooster Pub and Inn. The kindness of Yorik when it came to buying rounds left the party in quite a befuddled state when they eventually ran across a murder scene – the university Provost Bonal Geldem had just recently been taken out by a warforged unit named Cutter. After Cutter scored a near-mortal blow in battle against Aedek, Yorik wisely decided to attempt to push the warforged off the high suspended bridge the party found itself upon. Sadly, an especially effective slash from Cutter’s battle axe felled Yorik as well. Kithry spent several skittish minutes dodging the warforged’s attacks before the City Watch appeared, scaring the assassin off.

Sgt. Hortiln Dolom quickly assessed the situation and provided medical aid to the fallen warriors to stabilize them before the entire party was escourted back to the local station. A stroke of good fortune befell the party when healing potions were provided to revive the fallen fighters, whereupon Yorik used his healing skills to restore the party to fully functional status. In return for his assistance, Sgt. Dolom demanded that the party repay the favor by helping a “friend of the watch”, Lady Elyandra d’Vown of the House Cannith. The party met Lady Elyandra the following day at the Broken Anvil Alehouse, where she shared the nature of the mysterious journal that had been found with Bonal Geldem – it documented the location of a piece of a creation schema of great importance to the House Cannith … somewhere deep within the bowels of the city of Sharn, below the sewers. Lady Elyandra was able to provide maps detailing portions of the expedition to the doorway located at double-valve E-213. She promised a reward of 1000 gp, of which she would spot the party 100 gp, should they take up her cause.

The party first made their way into the sewers where they stumbled upon the “Rat’s market” – a “second hand and salvage” operation where a particularly observant Kithry was able to get some reasonable bargains. Market Master Skakan was successfully intimidated into revealing the location of the route to double-valve E-213, but Yorik was able to intuit that the party had made an enemy of Skakan. As the party made their way single file down the dank stairwell to the location of the doorway, they were once again beset upon by yet another warforged attacker. As the party backed its way into the large open space where their next battle was to take place, Yorik detected the sound of 2 more approaching figures, as yet unidentified …

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Are you calling me stupid?!?

Oh, let me tell a tale of woe – the tale of how our brave party of 3 was whittled to a down to a paltry party of one. It began well enough, with the rogue Kithry, the cleric Yorik, and the fighter Aedek facing down a warforged rogue and two growling shadowy sidekicks. The warforged was quickly dispatched, but somehow sent word back to his leader of the party’s location and bearing. The shadowy figures remained cloaked in mystery, as there was not enough light to illuminate them before they disappeared into the stinking darkness. Yorik managed to locate the portal to the ancient foundry, but was fooled by the acid trap attached to it. Good Aedek did little better, burned by acid splashes until he identified the source of the squirting scourges, and attempted to block them by placing the journal over one of the holes. Almost without realizing it, Aedek stumbled upon the method to open the portal to the ancienty foundry – both the sigil on the journal and the emblem on the portal began glowing, and the door swung inward.

Investigation revealed that the dark chasm on the other side of the portal was in actuality scaleable through use of Kithry’s 50 ft rope, and all save Aedek made it down without harm. At the bottom of the chasm-turned-tunnel, our party discovered the the crumbling buildings and ruins of the ancient foundry they’d been sent to search. After much examination of the crumbling masonry, the party made their way to a temple of the old gods – which was strangely serene given the foreboding surroundings. There, the Halfling Kithry and the fighter Aedek found reason to fight when one accused the other of being stupid. Only the intervention of the cleric Yorik kept needless blood from being spilt in the sanctity of the temple. As if willing peace among the fighters, a font of healing was found, restoring the party to fighting form. This was good, because upon leaving the temple, Yorik encountered two horrid rats, their teeth dripping with a distasteful green excretion. The party made short work of the rats, but not before Yorik received an infected bite. Noting that Yorik’s wound “burned”, Kithry saw his opportunity and gathered enough stinging green goo to cover the tips of five crossbow bolts.

A little more wandering brought our party to the forgotten forge. Its adamantine double doors were imposing, but some reconnaissance revealed a hole in the roof which enabled entry. Yorik decided to await his party mates at the forge doors, while they attempted to pick off two iron sentry dogs that had been left to guard the premesis – still working and faithful after centuries of disuse. Try as the dogs might, they could not make the leap to the forge ceiling to attack Aedek and Kithry, and their victory over the dogs (with the help of some crossbows) was assured. Further turmoil erupted between the fighter and rogue as one tried repeatedly to push the other into the hole to investigate below. Aedek finally succeeded. Gathering up the metal rods from the dogs’ heads and using them as keys to a secret safe in the forge walls, Kithry was able to access the cubby with the missing schema with a minimum number of painful electrical shocks. Meanwhile, things had grown tense outside, as Yorik suddenly found himself without light and slowly being approached by the ominous sound of chattering insects. Unable to escape to the roof, the cleric made a blind run for it into the darkness. At first, it seemed he might have succeeded, but soon enough, in addition to being lost, Yorik was covered in biting insects. It was only his sudden remembrance that he had a sunrod, and escape to the tranquility of the temple once more that saved him.

After piling some rubble up under the hole in the ceiling, Aedek was able to make the leap to grab and pull himself up onto the roof again (with the lighter portion of the treasure), leaving Kithry to contemplate his twiddling thumbs below. Smug satisfaction was not Aedek’s to have however, as a flaming crossbow bolt made its way over his shoulder when he exited the building. “Throw down the schema and walk away,” a powerful voice called. “This day does not have to end with your blood on my hands,” the newly appeared warforged fighter cried. Being an honest cleric, Yorik incorporated this message from the safety of the temple with little skepticism. Aedek made a run for the temple with the schema, leaving Kithry alone in the forgotten forge.

Once he’d reached the door, a critical hit from the Warforged’s longsword was all it took to fell Aedek like a tree, and, obeying the Warforged’s orders, Yorik took a kneeling position in the corner while Saber collected his desired booty. The last thing Yorik saw before losing his head was the blood-spattered metal boots of the Warforged Saber … leaving poor Kithry to wonder what had happened to his departed adventuring party as he climbed out of the forgotten forge and into the darkness two hours later. Lady luck, it seems, favored the Halfling on this occasion…

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Prelude to a Fist

It has been a month since tragic events led to the death of Aedek and Yorik in the Dorasharn tower deeps. Kithry has spent his time mourning the loss of his fellow adventurers and getting to know the ins-and-outs of the city of Sharn. Everything had been going well for the Halfling until today, when his decision to seek out some of the rarer poisons and potions of his trade led him to the lower towers to locate a black market of some repute. Little did Kithry suspect that the goblin marketeer Skakan would be slow to forget the insulting manner in which he had been treated at the rat’s market, and that the lower city’s eyes and ears would be kept vigilant for his return. Shortly after leaving the “twisted way”, a rooftop trail that circumvented a constabulary inspection post and was known only to the city’s rogues and streetrats, Kithry was cornered and attacked by a trio of goblin enforcers. Hopelessly outnumbered, Kithry could only hope against hope that the city guard would once again appear and intervene before his defenses were overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, two mercenaries, the dwarf fighter Oscar and the human Cleric Duncan, brought together by the will of the House Orien, were headed home after a day of fruitless searching in the lower city for a contact within Sharn’s Halfling crime syndicate, who they had been told was to serve as their next employer. Each encounter with a Halfling who seemed they might have “connections” with the city’s underworld had ended in a fit of finger-waggling outrage that the mercenaries would even suggest their dealings were any less than honest. It seemed that the Halfling suspicion of “tall ones” was not unique to Kithry, but a trait shared widely among the Halfling inhabitants of Sharn. It was unlikely the mercenaries were going to find their next paycheque until they could convince a little person more familiar with Sharn’s shady business to join their ranks….

The two men were debating the nature of their next meal and examining their dwindling supply of gold when the sound of fighting from a dark alleyway caught the attention of our mercenary pair. They bravely entered the conflict, and two of the three goblins were soon dispatched, with a third escaping on foot, leaving the halfling Kithry seemingly in the strangers’ debt. The rogue found there was a limit to his forthcomingness with strangers however, until enough salty food and beverage were served to lower his guard. Regaling the pair with stories of adventures survived, Kithry revealed his true nature and finally offered, with the promise of gold, to aid the mercenaries in their task. He found a doorman with a likely tattoo who quickly pointed them towards the games market on the other side of the city. Late was the hour when the games market was finally reached, but Kithry succeeded in locating The Fist – their would-be package sender – and besting him in a round of Sovereign’s gambit to retrieve the precious shipment. Satisfied with their progress, the newly formed adventuring party retreated once more to the comforts of the Red Rooster pub and Inn, sleeping the daylight hours away until their House Orien contact, Tamsin Arrowway, arrived with further details of their mission. The team was charged with delivering the package – whose contents were secret – to the hunting estate of Prince Morcant ir’Wynarn in Galethspyre … a journey of hundreds of miles, which would be made shorter by their paid passage on the lightning rail from First Tower to Wroat.

Journeying to the lightning rail station in First Tower in the early morning hours, the party was attacked by a roaming band of Hobgoblins hiding in a copse of trees, but efficiently rid the road of these highwaymen with minimal effort. Things appeared to finally be going the party’s way as they boarded the lightning rail with their House Orien Courier, Tamsin, when they were searched by royal guards and found to have alibis which were less than acceptable. What started as an argument over some questionably obtained pocket change and thieves tools quickly deteriorated into an armed conflict. Duncan was able to smooth over some of the harm done by healing a fallen royal guard and convincing the pair of guards to leave the cabin, but word of their exploits travelled faster than the party, and when they arrived at the capital city of Wroat, a party of five royal guards were waiting. In the fire-fight of magic missiles, arrows, and sword parries, two guards fell, but our party had little time to sigh in relief, as two more appeared in the cabin doorway, while another had almost broken through the barricaded defenses on the far side …

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It's a boat time

With three members of the royal guard left to fight, our party of Kithry, Oscar, Duncan and Tamsin had to keep their wits about them as they tried to maintain the upper hand on the lightning rail car. Though the dwarf Oscar battled bravely, he soon succumbed to his wounds while battling the King’s soldiers, falling to the ground in front of the coach door where one royal guard still fought. Kithry’s arrows took their toll, while stalwart Duncan straddled Oscars unconscious body to do the unthinkable … (minds out of the gutter, please) … fell the last royal armsman. Meanwhile, Tamsin used her magic missiles to some effect and Kithry’s arrows ensured that the last man standing in the name of the king chose to flee rather than fight the bloodied party. Duncan was able to use his healing spells to revive Oscar, and after agreeing to meet at the Split Keel tavern, dockside, Tamsin transformed her appearance and took off at a run to evade any reinforcements that might appear. With the lightning rail station now boarded up and locked tighter than a Kundurak bank vault, the remaining party had no choice but to abandon with well populated city market in front of them in favor of the wooded area behind the lightning rail station. This was a strategy that seemed to work for them, as they rested and recovered a full day from their travails.

At first, the group boldly strolled the dockside, confident in their anonymity, but when a Wanted leaflet was finally found nailed to one of the dockside posts describing a maurading party of a halfling, dwarf, and two humans, our heroes decided that it was best to reassume a low profile and let Duncan, the more anonymous human, do the legwork. After an hour or so of searching, the honest cleric found the Split keel tavern, and was once again accosted by a disguised Tamsin, who told him the gang was to reassemble there at dusk. A tattooed dwarf named Bellamin Soulaxe, who owned the establishment, was quick to lead our party to a storage room out back once they’d arrived, and offer two choices for escaping Wroat as wanted men. Given the option of an escape by water or wagon, the party chose Gyptian caravan as their preferred means of transport, and lady luck agreed, seeing them out the city gate of Wroat undetected. Four days passed on the road with Bresaadi Millstone to the ruins of Glyphstone keep, allowing all in the party to recover from what ailed them before being let off at the old defense post from the last war. The only signs of human activity were the military gravestones bounding the cannibalized keep’s walls.

It should have come as no surprise, therefore, when the party was attacked that night by a gang of ghouls, who did their best to bite and scratch at the party of unsuspecting victims. However, Oscar was particularly attuned in the way of the warrior for this battle, and almost single-handedly destroyed the mauraders before Duncan used his powers as a cleric to detonate the final ghoul in an explosion of fetid flesh and rotting entrails. Kithry kept an unobservant Tamsin on edge with some pebble throws as entertainment while the final early morning hours ticked by, earning the sorceress’ disapproval. When the ferry to cross the Dagger River arrived the next morning, everyone was not quite as well rested as they’d have liked to have been, but still sound in body.

The ferry captain and his crew seemed content to let the party do the nasty work when further danger finally sailed into the picture, in the form of a raiding party of 4 kobolds, but it was our party who benefited most greatly in the end, earning themselves a keeled boat of their own in exchange for some “light work” involving crossbows. They made decent work of pretending to be sailors, with the help of a ferry deckhand, with only Tamsin falling overboard in a particularly turbulent area. Arriving in Galethspyre, the city of Brelish Blue textiles, the party were able to sell their newly acquired boat for 5000 gp, with a 1000 gp closing fee still pending. Duncan was also able to dye his cape from cleric’s white to the sky blue of low nobility. Rich with the proceeds of their boat venture, the party took time to stock up on newer, higher quality equipment, before proceeding to Prince Morcant ir’Wynarn’s hunting estate.

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You can say that again

After 3 or 4 days of shopping individually in Galethspyre for items to aid in their questing, our party of Oscar, Duncan, Tamsin, and Kithry agreed to meet up at an Inn just outside of town called the Gator’s Gullet, so named for the stuffed alligator above the mantle in the great room of this tavern/inn. It seemed like just another night on the road when Oscar and Duncan stepped in from the rainstorm to oversee the inn’s great room. Three figures occupied this room: two gambling brothers named Tanik and Vanik who happened to be twins, and one solitary dwarven prospector called Prak. Duncan made his way to join the twins in their game of chance, while Oscar approached Prak to gather local news. Before long, a pleasant barmaid going by the name of Klarissa arrived to take their orders of food and beverage. Oscar thought little of the flash of blue smoke emanating from a handful of Prak’s powder thrown into the fireplace at first, quickly distracted by a fight that broke out between the twins as to whether or not one had cheated. The innkeeper, Lantish, broke up the kafuffle, just as a scream pierced the night from upstairs. Klarissa went upstairs to investigate, and was followed by our party to discover a young woman in nightclothes declaring she’d seen a rat. Satisfied that it was nothing more than a rodent problem, the team came back downstairs. Before long, Prak had grown tired of the company and declared he would head home, but the Inn’s staff refused, trying to encourage this drunken regular to take a prepared room upstairs. Before long, Klarissa re-emerged from the kitchen with a deep cut in her hand, looking for a clean rag to staunch the flow of blood, which Duncan offered to heal. Klarissa was amazed by his healing touch and offered to skim the inn’s barrel for another mug of cheap homebrew in thanks. The party heard a clatter and smashing glass downstairs, followed shortly thereupon by an exclamation of “Dirty rats!” from Lantish. They scarcely had time to react, however, before sounds of an explosion upstairs caused something most curious to occur …

The party once again found itself reintroducing themselves to the twins and Prak, with a sense of deja-vu so strong they knew something was afoot. Only they seemed to realize it though. Seeking the first most logical explanation, Oscar zeroed in on the dwarf throwing the blue-smoked flash powder, questioning him carefully as to what kind of powder it was. Nothing seemed amiss in Prak’s story, but Oscar bargained half of his chicken dinner for the powder and threw it all in the fireplace, causing a mushroom cloud of blue smoke to fill the room. Duncan next investigated the woman’s quarters upstairs after she screamed and announced the presence of a rat. As expected, this armed and armor-carrying woman currently in a nightshirt did indeed sport a rat of significant size in her room. As it disappeared behind a nightstand close to the wall, the woman, Elthia, was quick to hint that her investigator should make himself scarce, which he did. Duncan passed the drunken Prak, being led by Lantish, on the way down the stairwell and was little surprised to see Klarissa emerge once again with a cut hand from the kitchen. He once again healed her. When they heard glass shatter in the basement below this time, Duncan and Oscar were quick to investigate, finding broken glass and a yellowish liquid that might have been ale in a puddle on the floor of the basement. Several rats scurried about, disturbed by the appearance of the guys. They offered to help with the rat problem, but failed to kill all of the rats before an explosion reset the timeloop again.

On the third loop, Duncan and Oscar split forces. Duncan heading directly upstairs and Oscar rudely demanding that Prak give him the powder before he had opportunity to throw it. The same sequence of events repeated themselves, save that this time, Klarissa’s hand was saved from cutting, and the guys had time alone downstairs in the cellar to more carefully examine its contents. Disappeared for so long, Lantish finally found the adventurers downstairs and demanded to know why his safety chest, containing the Inn’s profits, was damaged. Offering to help with the rat problem once again, the guys evaded Lantish’s questioning, but a glass container of yellow liquid was still knocked to the floor as Lantish escourted them out of the cellar. Frustration mounted as the loop began again.

In the subsequent loops, Oscar and Duncan were able to enlist the help of the visiting cleric Nantiken in trying to determine what was happening. They suspected Nantiken’s Glyph of Warding had something to do with it, but could not pinpoint who or what was setting it off, or how this had anything to do with the loop in time.

It was only by hijacking Nantiken in his room after learning the “password” to Nantiken’s Glyph of Warding that the guys were able to determine that a rat soaked in the liquid from the cellar, crossing and detonating on the Glyph of Warding was the source of all the time-bending going on.

Though they’d never seen “Groundhog’s day”, Duncan and Oscar were similarly able to right all wrongs and leave the Inn with a clean slate by correctly predicting and preventing the series of events as they unfolded. Kithry, late for their meetup, was none the wiser.

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Wench Prince were we planning on attacking?

After the mysterious disappearance of Duncan from the Gator’s Gullet Inn in the early morning, the party decided to continue on their mission to deliver the package to Prince Morcant‘s estate – Mooncrest Lodge – a day and a half’s ride Southwest of Galethspyre. Although the weather started out fair, it was soon miserably cold and raining. The road dwindled to little more than a little-used cart trail outside of Galethspyre and the party began to get the feeling they were being watched. They could not spot the danger, however, until it was directly upon them in the form of 3 hyena-like gnolls. In his new armour, Oskar set upon two of them with little problem, completely beheading one, with Kithry and Tamsin contributing some arrow-shots from behind the cover of the terrain’s scattered boulders. Kithry’s attempt to sneak up on the third, unsuccessfully, and paid with a grevious wound. He had his revenge though, in the form of a well-placed dagger stab to the throat. Fortunately, our heroes prevailed in the end, with a few light wounds to deal with.

The party chose, with the echoing howls of more gnolls in the distance, to continue down the path along the rocky escarpment, where the trail passed a waterfall. With his darkvision, Oskar could see the corpse of a dead stag in the water, and, (with an exceptional spot check), the hulking moss-covered figure of a snoozing ogre. It didn’t stay snoozing for long, however, and was soon charging across the pond at the foot of the waterfall towards our party. The 9 foot tall, 600 lb ogre provided a sizeable challenge, but the party was up to it, especially with Oskar’s new armour providing the protection needed to go toe to toe with an ogre. It was, however, Kithry’s use of alchemist’s fire which provided the killing blow which fell the ogre, and a search for the ogre’s lair revealed a waterfall-hidden cave filled with the bones of unlucky passersby and several treasures of interest – including a (heavy) mace of disruption, a chainmail shirt, and 28 gp. The party set camp that late evening in the cave and slept undisturbed until late morning.

It took another day’s walking to reach the Mooncrest Estate, and the team split up to search for Prince Morcant. Kithry and Oskar headed towards the sound of barking hounds, while Tamsin made her way toward the main estate house. Kithry and Oskar were met by the Prince’s man Morrison in the dark recesses of the kennel building, where several hounds had fallen sick of late, while Tamsin found and conversed with the Prince’s manservant Orwell.

It wasn’t long before the reunited party was granted audience with the prince and toasted on their mission’s success by the prince himself (who, Kithry noted, did not partake of the wine they were served). Prince Morcant paid the party their reward, hinted at further opportunities for employment, and invited the trio to join him on a boar hunt in the morning – an offer which was accepted. Kithry took opportunity in the late evening to scout out to the servant’s quarters, where he overheard talk of a “Second Sun” (or was it Second Son?) between a groomsman (Jacob Eomer) and house attendant (Benjamin Marteens), and talk of someone called Arturo being responsible for the estate’s trouble of late. He stopped by the kennels once more to apply some healing potion to one of the sick hounds, who appeared to get better with this expensive intervention.

The hunt the next day was a success, with Kithry and Oskar felling a boar who was tougher than his small stature would suggest – much like the bravery of Kithry, who decided the best approach was to put the boar in a headlock … which he succeeded in doing!

At the celebratory party back at Mooncrest Lodge, the Prince revealed the nature of his next mission for them: to apprehend the halfling known as the Fist, to find out who his employer was in the theft and ransoming of the prince’s package and how the package was stolen, and finally to kill the Fist. In return for their success, the Prince promised a pardon for their sins at the lightning rail station and a rich reward. Not to be denied, the prince revealed that the party would also, as reward, receive antidote to the slow-acting poison they had consumed in their wine the day previous. He assured them they had at least a month to complete their mission, but this was little consolation to Oskar, who flew into a rage and charged the prince (successfully), leading everyone in the room, including the DM, to wonder what would happen next …

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The Artist formerly known as Prince

Our story starts with the unfortunate assassination of the Brelish heir to the throne, Prince Morcant ir’Wynarn by the unphased dwarf Oskar, whose rage at being poisoned matched that of the most reckless barbarian. Certainly, a handful of unprepared guards did their best to intervene, but Oskar‘s superior initiative on this matter could not be argued with. It was all enough to cause at least one of the guards to lose his head in the fight. It was all Kithry could do to watch from his chatting spot near the staircase as a guard’s sword was held to his throat. Meanwhile, Tamsin yelled for Oskar to halt in the name of the king, but when he refused to do so, the shocked sorceress resorted to throwing magic missiles in Oskar’s direction. In combination with the hits of Morrison, it proved enough to finally fell the enraged dwarven assassin.

When next Oskar awoke, he found himself in a dark enclosed space, chained and manacled to a wall, in the company of a female elf bound to a table by hand and foot with rope, whom he’d never met before. There was more to this elf than one might initially suspect, however, as she soon awoke to use her own magic to free herself from the ropes which held her. At this point, Oskar tried to bluff his way into winning her aid with the promise of protecting her until they were safely away, but the elf Esme was wise to his lies. She left him chained where he was and investigated 2 of the 3 possible exits she could see – a trapdoor in the ceiling, locked, and a descent into some sort of tunnel which dug into the earth and led away from the lodge. Something about the lighting in the tunnel dissuaded Esme from using that escape route, and she returned to the room filled with the symbols of necromantic sorcery to try and magically charm Oskar into aiding her. Unsuccessful, Esme finally had to take the dwarf at his word that he would assist her in escaping their prison. Frantically, she searched the shelves and drawers for keys or implements which would help her in her mission to free Oskar, but none of the keys she found fit the lock on his manacles. One did fit the locked trapdoor in the ceiling, but footsteps heard nearby cautioned her against using it. Neither did magically cast acid splashes do anything to weaken the solidly made lock keeping him chained to the wall. Oskar strained in vain against the ring implanted in the wall that was holding him in place, and Esme redirected her acid attacks there, finally aiding the dwarf to succeed in pulling the metal ring from the wall. In a lucky stroke, Oskar was able to smash the lock off his manacles to free himself.

Finally free of their bondage, it was time to consider their escape. First Oskar checked the trapdoor in the ceiling again, and, undeterred by the sound of footsteps, opened it a crack to catch sight of a pair of boots facing in the opposite direction. Oskar did his best to trip and pull the unseen servant into the hidden room with them, but failed, leading this man to raise the alarm. With little time to think, the pair of prisoners grabbed their dagger-like weapons from among the evil set of torturous knives and implements on the wall and bull rushed their way through the doorway in the corner of the room, which brought them into a closet which opened onto the lodge’s kitchen. The very surprised cook inside never had the chance to finish his preparation of the evening’s meal – he was first manhandled by Oskar (as Esme grabbed a frying pan for protection), ransomed against the incoming guards, and finally had his throat slit by the dwarf when he was made to understand the regard with which the cooking staff were held at Mooncrest Lodge. It was then that Oskar and Esme finally made their run for freedom into the woods beyond the manor house. Oskar was somehow able to outrun the guards, but Esme was not so lucky. She was forced to use her Charm Person spell once again to convince the capturing guard to let her go, “for the sake of her child.”

Meanwhile, “back at the ranch”, Tamsin and Kithry finally saw their chance to escape with the disappearance of their kennel-side guard in the midst of the new kafuffle at the lodge. Kithry was able to break out of the locked kennel with sheer force of strength, aiding Tamsin shortly thereafter from her canine caged captivity. It was at this point that the courier parted ways with the halfling, wishing him luck and putting foot to gravel to sprint from the premesis. While Oskar had found a badger’s den to curl up in and begin to recover from his wounds, Esme had taken to watching the road out of the estate, and followed Tamsin‘s progress to the front “gate”, where she aided the young human female by magically emptying the quiver of the guardsman intent on filling Tamsin’s body with crossbow arrows. Kithry, meanwhile, had not forgotten about the dog he’d aided earlier, and took the animal with him, before similarly making for the safety of the woods.

As night descended upon our divided party, all were left to wonder if they would ever see their friends or enemies alive again…

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The Vampire strikes back

Not satisfied with abandoning their expensive equipment to their villainous opponents at Mooncrest Lodge, both Kithry and Oskar made their separate attempts to locate and recoup their belongings from the hands of Prince Morcant‘s men. Kithry tried first. His attempt was punctuated by explorations of the stables (where he found a dagger and not much else), the servant’s quarters (where he explored the laundry, some servants’ bunks -where he stole Gunnar West‘s identification papers, the occupied kitchen, and the private living space of Orwell d’Obergill – the estate’s butler), and finally, the far side of Mooncrest Lodge itself. Sadly, while peaking in a window to the Lodge’s Great Room, Kithry was spotted by a pair of guards who quickly made their way outside to pursue him. One used his tracking skills to noble effect, following the halfling back to the grand entrance of the lodge, where Kithry used rope to bar the door. Stealing his way up to the second floor, he noticed a man in servant’s clothes pacing the balcony outside, while neglecting to notice a second pair of guards around the corner, guarding a door at the far end of the hallway running parallel the balcony. With little choice, Kithry leaped out onto the balcony with the servant and threatened him at knifepoint to reveal the location of the stolen gear, upon which the tongueless man, Eldon Moore, revealed his inability to speak. Kithry gained his aid in pushing the passenger pigeon hutch up against the doorway he’d entered through, but this accomplished little, as a second doorway at the far end of this outdoor balcony was also available to the guard. Kithry used the intervening seconds to attempt to ascend to the roof with the aid of the mute servant, but without success, and was finally forced to jump from the outdoor balcony to the ground below. A successful tumble ensured he suffered only minor damage before he began on a mad dash past the well and kennels to the stables. It was here that Kithry was finally cornered by the pursuing guards, and knocked unconscious after a failed attempt to impale one of his pursuers with a pitchfork.

After resting the night out in his badger’s den to fullest (leveling) effect, Oskar was unwittingly next to take up the equipment retrieving cause. The dwarf wasted little time, approaching the lodge in the wee morning hours while most of the household was still asleep. He entered the doors to the great room, only to find the assigned guardsman asleep on duty at his post at the bottom of the stairs. After a brief interrogation, Oskar slit the man’s throat, heading in the direction of the kitchens, with hopes of locating the pantry, where it was suggested his weapons might be stored. In the kitchens, Oskar located another cook, who he threatened into assisting him, taking her down into the root cellar to look for his lost equipment, but to no avail. Once again, with little choice in terms of methods to silence her, he killed his hostage, returning to the great room to explore the upper level of the lodge. He noted with some satisfaction that the guard’s body remained undisturbed as he climbed the stairs to the balcony overlooking the great room, where he was able to gather a few weapons for further use and protection. His keen dwarven eyes also noted a dim corner behind the chimney from the great room’s fireplace where the sound of his footsteps rang hollow. It took quite a long time, but eventually, he was able to pry open a secret trap door to reveal the room where he and Esme had been held prisoner just days before.

This time, Oskar chose to follow the ladder to its bottom, in the underground passage below the lodge. Carefully making his way along the revealed tunnel in the dark, he soon came to a deep pool of water, which revealed itself to be the well seen above ground near the lodge. The tunnel’s floor at this point was marked by sets of muddy footprints, indicating that it had been used recently. Oskar forged onward, curious to see where it would lead next. After passing a second ladder that made its way up to the kennels, the twisting passage eventually ended in a wooden doorway, preceeded by an 8 ft gap of strange looking stonework on the floor that Oskar had the good sense not to trust. By placing a single foot on the section, Oskar revealed a pit trap that might have killed him, were it not for his keen dwarven senses. Oskar was able to scale his way along the wall over to the far side of the pit trap and open the wooden door on the far side.

Inside, Oskar noted several items of interest. A set of shelves containing many precious items of note, including a letter, a series of alchemist’s invoices, a ruby ring, the package that the party had been charged with delivering to Mooncrest Lodge (which revealed itself to contain a fist-sized dragonshard), as well as his personal identification papers, along with those of Kithry. Beyond the shelves and behind a coffin, was the stack of knapsacks containing the missing gear of interest, minus a few items of no particular note. After gathering the belongings, Oskar inspected the coffin, which contained nothing more than dirt, before breaking into the final locked set of cabinet doors in the room, which turned out to contain Kithry’s bound and gagged body. After ungagging and untying his friend, Oskar spent time meticulously combing over the underground chamber, trying to reveal more of its secrets, before the sound of footsteps finally halted the search. Extinguishing the light of the sunrod that had been lit by tucking it into his clothing, Kithry waited with Oskar at the partially opened doorway to the tunnel until a whiff of smoke bypassed them to enter the room -materializing as none other than Morrison, who had now revealed himself to be a vampire.

Much fighting ensued, but to little effect, save dazing Kithry into making nothing by the most minor of actions in each round of fighting. However, it was, in the end, Kithry’s decision to use the wooden crossbow bolts as improvised “stakes” to drive through Morrison’s heart that saved the duo from certain defeat. A single, action-point assisted and directed attack was all it took to fell the foul creature, and Kithry and Oskar were able to escape via the kennel escape route in the tunnel to the badger hole once again – equipment in tow this time. Few could argue that the two half-pint heroes had had lady luck on their side on this particular occasion as they schemed in the afternoon light what their next move would be…

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Steal my dice, pay the price

Kithry and Oskar decided the most efficient way to escape Mooncrest Lodge after 3 days of recovery in the badger’s den was to steal some horses and take off down the road leading back to Galethspyre. For the most part, they were correct, save the fact that the party tracking them had hunting scent hounds, and that firing crossbow bolts from an elevated position beside the road would give away their position. Oskar drew the brunt of the unwanted attention of the 4 pursuing guards, while Kithry’s light crossbow bolts skittered by mostly unnoticed. Vastly outnumbered, a few well placed sword blows by Prince Morcant’s guardsmen felled the dwarf, who looked poised to spill the last of his life’s blood across the grassy hilltop where he was overcome.

Kithry did his best to prove that brains could match brawn, using his thundersticks to scare off two of the guardsmen’s horses, left on the road, and his smokesticks to create a cloud of thick black fog which would not dissipate in the breezeless day. Leading the stolen horses across a stream and into the woods beyond, Kithry was able to circle back to the spot where Oskar had miraculously stabilized and perform an act of might so incredible the DM could scarcely believe it, lifting the armored unconscious body back onto a horse before taking off to the conveniently located waterfall hideaway where the party had previously battled an ogre. Once again, the small ones had time (but not food) to recover from their war wounds, until they were finally ready to take to the road leading back to Galethspyre.

Their first clue that things were not going to be as easy as hoped was the illustrated wanted poster (offering a paltry award of a mere 100 gp) hanging on the community bulletin board at the outskirts of town. At the city gates, the lazy looking watchmen were enough to convince Oskar that the pair should consider other avenues of travel. Reluctantly, Kithry agreed – after all, he was pretty sure he was not feeling any effects from the prince’s supposed “poisoning”. Oskar was intent on continuing back to Sharn, however, by country roads if needs be, to track down the Alchemist Jezel Aberforth, whose name appeared on the invoices listing various chemicals and poisons that might be the substances administered to them.

An almost unnoteworthy encounter with a bugbear reminded the half-pint heroes how quickly the tone of a traveller’s day could change, but it was the only thing that punctuated the trip back to Sharn along the shores of the dagger river. Pushing their horses to their limits, the party was able to reach the city with a week left until the effects of their ingested poison were supposed to make themselves known…

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