The Suspects

Name: Azitain
Class: Wizard, Professor at Raismonts
Description: Bald, tattooed face, stern and humorless. Has a mental link with Pedocles to communicate for him when necessary, which isn’t often.
Interest in the tomb: Leader of the expedition.  An archaeologist and expert on the barbarians’ history, he’s pursuing the mystery of why the nomads built the necropolis.
Oddity: He doesn’t speak (except for when needed for spells) because of some kind of curse.

Name: Pedocles “Duck” Madar
Class: Wizard, student scholar at Raismonts
Description: Pale skinned and prefers dark clothing. Might be a half-elf.  Cautious. Moody and morose; he has a withered un-healable arm that he keeps strapped to his chest.
Interest in the tomb: Curious about the unique burial customs of the Nodkunians.
Oddity: He seems to show an unhealthy interest in necromancy and the undead.

Name: Ereleuva Stanga
Class: Wizard, student scholar at Raismonts
Description: Upbeat and outgoing, makes friends easily. From a wealthy noble family. Working on enchantment as her specialty at Raismonts.
Interest in the tomb: Fascinated with Nomobobo Bloodboat herself, how she was able to command her people with a cult of personality, wants to write a book about the barbarian queen’s heroic exploits.
Oddity: None, really; she’s pretty straightforward.

Name: Naro Viora
Class: Wizard, student scholar at Raismonts
Description: Eccentric, aloof.
Interest in the tomb: Wants to study its unique engineering and traps. Unconcerned with the barbarians’ history or customs.
Oddity: Her raven familiar Niella seems glued to her shoulder and looks like it’s silently judging everyone. You’ve never seen it fly off.

Name: Gylaw Bartels
Class: Cleric of Brega
Description: Flashy, friendly, worldly. Acting as guide for the expedition across the Plains; hired by Azitain, but recommended by Ereleuva.
Interest in the tomb: None, as near as you can tell.
Oddity: His Bregan prayers are a little rote, doesn’t display much enthusiasm for his religion.

Game Recap: Dragons?… & Dungeons?

You enter the Mound from an entrance at its top, and find it to contain a hive of Formians – an invading race from another plane that resembles giant ant-centaurs.  The menial workers inside largely ignore you as you navigate the maze-like earthen interior, stumbling into their fungus farm, food storage rooms, and an armory (with many masterwork weapons which you nab as loot).

At one point, you are attacked by a larger, clearly more authoritative Formian who is mind-controlling a couple of vile stunted slave-creatures, as well as by several of the warriors of the species.

You fight off the defenders, advancing deeper into the center of the Mound. You find the queen dormant in a small locked room and decide against destroying her. You continue on, finding a secret door that leads to an area set apart from Formian dwellings. The rooms appear to be the workspace of a powerful humanoid wizard, one who dabbles in necromancy. The wizard is growing crystals that hatch black skeletons, and you meet one of them, alive (as such things go) and seemingly insane, leaning up against a wall of a dark tunnel. He rambles incoherently on a variety of topics – the predominant themes being tongues, pits, and/or lakes of fire. When he realizes Daisy is not his master, he flees and sets off an avalanche trap to keep you from pursuing. Continuing to explore, you discover a spacious wizard workshop, and pinch some magical goggles and a staff, plus numerous spells and alchemical formulas, which you stuff in your pockets. You find a smithy, where many magical blades are in various states of being fashioned. Daisy takes a full set of halfling plate mail on display that she realizes must be Axlan in origin. Strange doings occur within this area –  ghostly figures briefly appear on the ceiling, and a corpse used presumably for experimentation disappears entirely after exiting the room, its tracks leading you deeper in. There’s a room of cages with silent, listless human prisoners. They don’t seem interested in escaping, so you give up trying to rally them. You also find an empty meeting room, with banners emblazoned with the star symbol of the Seven Sovereigns:

Finally, at the heart of the Mound, you find a room decorated like a comfortable lounge.  Inside is a halfling woman reclining on a settee, sipping tea. Next to her in the center of the room is a circular pit in the floor with its walls lined with books. There are
two dog-sized centipedes, the halfling’s pets you presume; one appears to be delivering a book from the pit to her.  When she sees you, the woman smiles the barest of smiles and offers a greeting. She’s been expecting you…

“Well, thieves, here you are”, she says. “I hope it was a satisfying ‘adventure’ for you.”

She is well aware of your shenanigans within the Mound, listing them with some disdain, though she does not appear too outwardly upset, all-things-considered:    “At least your damage to the colony was minimal. Killed one of my taskmasters though, tsk tsk.  At least you didn’t mess with the queen or the nursery. Though for a second it seemed otherwise and I was going to have to put down my tea and actually stand up from my couch.”

A halfling necromancer?!  …Daisy’s mind reels.

Standing tall and shaking off any revulsion, you explain you are here for Trimphid and the halfling boy he stole. Justice, you argue, has yet to be served!

Instead of seeking retribution for breaking & entering / killing her minions / and stealing her stuff, the wizard is inclined to listen, impressed that you have infiltrated her hide-out and curious about your ties to Trimphid, and so you begin to converse, rather than fight – a fight you would likely quickly and soundly lose, it’s not hard to imagine.

The wizard’s name, you learn, is Imone Furik and she is one of the Seven Sovereigns. She is a powerful transmuter and not a specialist in necromancy, FYI, though she does dabble in it from time-to-time.

You learn the following points:

  • Trimphid and the boy are elsewhere. Tumn is safe though and was not taken against his will. In fact, he is grateful to Trimphid for rescuing him and revealing his true destiny.  Furik is not inclined yet to reveal the boy’s whereabouts just yet, but will do so if you are all willing to use your obvious talents in pursuit of a mutual cause.
  • She claims her organization is not responsible for what happened to Daisy’s village. Those were not their orders and she suspects it was carried out by agents of Sibril – the neighboring island nation to the north, recently usurped by a dragon.
  • She explains there is an Axlan prophecy of the Shepherd Prince. The usurper of Sibril, the dragon Cognail, seeks to expand his domain and secretly plots to conquer your nation of Paradon. The prophecy states that a halfling called the Shepherd Prince, a descendant of the Dardai Derulade (a halfling clan), may one day restore Axlan glory and defeat the dragon.  Agents of Sibril must have been ordered by the dragon to kill all of the halflings in Daisy’s village.
  • The symbol of the thistle is in fact that of the Axlan clan the Dardai Derulade. Cognail is deathly afraid of anyone of that blood as they are mortal enemies of dragonkind.  The Seven Sovereign have been trying to collect weapons with the Derulade mark as they are particularly potent against dragons, but they have yet to unlock the words of activation.
  • Tumn *is* the Shepherd Prince, Furik claims, and with the Seven Sovereigns help, they will prepare the prophesied hero to fulfill his destiny and save Paradon from the dragon’s invasion!

It’s a lot to take in. And Dov and Nim quickly realize elements of her story don’t exactly add up based on what you heard from Rucksack’s eyewitness accounts nor on what Trimphid wrote in his the note you intercepted.  You are understandably hesitant to trust a wizard who practices unethical magical practices, let alone one that leads a vast criminal organization.

Furik claims it was just supreme good fortune/fate that the idiotic Overseers bungled their dragon leader’s mission and spared the Shepherd Prince, but whether Brega had anything to do with it is a whole other matter, you think.

At any rate, Furik holds all the cards at the moment. She knows where Daisy’s brother is, and may have further info to help Dov (pseudonym: Doug) clear his name (though she appears not to recognize the investigator, and he didn’t drop any hints as to who he was).  She also seems earnest in her efforts to stop Cognail and a little desperate to enlist your help.

You agree to a deal, though it makes your blood feel sour in your veins: Help Furik and the Seven Sovereigns with a mission, and in exchange, she’ll teleport you to Tumn.

“We know that Cognail is interested in the tomb of an ancient human barbarian queen known as Nomobobo Bloodboat, but we don’t know why.  A group of scholars from Raismonts’ Academy of the Arcane have mounted an expedition to plumb the tomb’s depths, and we have reason to believe a Sibrillian spy has infiltrated the group. They have hired a man named Caspiran, a talented tomb-robber and dungeoneer, to help them avoid its many traps. They were due to meet him yesterday at the inn in the frontier town of Chelton on the edge of the Plains of Nemir, and begin the trek to the tomb. I intercepted Caspiran recently, suspecting him of being the spy, but after extensive interrogation, I’ve determined that he’s no Sibrillian agent – just an opportunistic crook . He had actually planned to betray the scholars, ambushing them with a few of his friends.  I see an opportunity here: The scholars have never seen Caspiran. Doug, you can pretend to be him, and can claim your friends here are part of your crew. You can infiltrate the group, travel with them, determine the identity of the spy and what Sibril’s interest is in the Bloodboat tomb, then report back to me”

Furik introduces you to the creepy black skeleton you met earlier. His name is Quandary. You stand in front of the mirror in her lounge, she utters some command words, and the mirror’s reflection shifts to show you a bird’s eye view of Chelton. When you’ve completed the task, Furik tells you, return to Chelton and seek Quandary out on the cemetery hill.  He’ll make the arrangements to teleport you back to the Mound.

Furik insists you relinquish the magic goggles and staff you stole.  But she says you can keep the formulas and weapons; though you are warned about the magical blades – these are her “little experiments” and may not have desired results.  The Axlan armor is her gift to Daisy, a token of her deepest sympathies for what happened to her village.

You walk through the mirror and find yourself alone under a wide open noon sky on the cemetery on the hill overlooking the little run-down frontier town. Still not feeling in any way good about how things went down in the Mound, you set forth with heavy hearts – and exhausted bodies (when exactly was the last time you rested anyway?).  The sole inn in Chelton is called the Laughing Pig, and inside you easily spot the group of scholars sitting nursing drinks, and waiting for Caspiran to show up.

You meet the scholars – all wizards from Raismonts, three graduate students and a mute professor. They’ve hired an amicable Bregan cleric to guide them across the Plains. You convince them to wait another day before embarking so you can have a chance to rest up.

As you make your way to the location of the tomb, Nim befriends Ereleuva, the chattiest of the wizard students, and from her you learn a bit about the Nodkun, the barbarian tribe that gave up their nomadic lifestyle to build a necropolis in honor of their queen Nomobobo. At one point in the journey, you spot a pack of Blink Dogs in the distance. This magical canine race likes to “blink” –  teleport in an out of this plane – once or twice a minute. Your guide, the cleric Gylaw, explains the dogs actually avoid the site of the Nodkun necropolis. He calls them a superstitious lot, pointing out that they see omens in the stars. This comment can’t help but make Nim bristle.

Dov furtively prepares and drinks two See Alignment elixirs and can determine no one in the party reads as “Lawful Evil” nor “Chaotic Evil”.

You arrive at the tomb entrance to find the scholars’ guards they’d left there mysteriously absent. Before you can investigate, you are ambushed by a bunch of Caspiran’s crew, who jump out of hiding from behind the rocky terrain. You take them out before they can reveal Dov is an imposter.

The cleric Gylaw heals any wounds you incurred and you spend an uneventful night camping outside the entrance, before waking up in the morning, preparing yourself to descend into the necropolis.

To Be Continued..

Game Recap: Caper at Court

As the gargoyle flies on down the street, Daisy turns to Dovienya, hands on hips. “Oh great! What exactly did you DO in there anyway?”

Dovienya had been digging through his pack pulling out alchemical supplies, but he stops for a moment to look at Daisy, a flash of anger in his eyes.  “What did I do?  I was talking to the Wardens.  After being invited into the barracks.  I was about five minutes away from getting them to help us track down Trimphid. What did you do?”  Without waiting for an answer Dovienya turns back to his reagents and begins crafting an elixir of some kind.

“What did….?!” Daisy sputters. “What I did was rush over here because you both went off without so much as a note or a by your leave, and everyone saying ‘boy it sure has been a long time since they left…’ And then that thing,” she jabs her finger at the gargoyle, “goes off on how an army of wardens all ran into the building after you, and…..and….” Here her voice goes croaky, and she cuts herself off.

“Fine,” she rasps under her breath. “Let’s just go….do what we’re here to do.” And with that, she rides off after the Scrafe, not looking back to see if anyone’s following.

Nim makes a pretty undignified noise like a squeak, and then sputters for a moment after Daisy. “And she’s gone…” she says to the empty space where Daisy had occupied until moments ago. She turns to Dovienya and regards him with a sad, defeated look.

“She was worried about us, I think is what she means. And since the Wardens were going to hand you over to the Pure… Not an unfounded worry, then, it seems to me.”

Faced with Nim’s defeated look Dovienya’s self-important confidence deflates slightly.  “You’re right.  She was trying to help us in the best way she knows how.  And who knows, it’s possible I wasn’t going to be able to talk our way out after all.”

The gargoyle swoops back down to Nim and Dov to say:

“Stop talking and MOVE THOSE LIMBS! The Court’s just over here!”

The two of you hasten to catch up to Daisy.

The gargoyle leads you to a white spire in the central of Tupelu. This is the entrance to Tyslas Thysaer, the Elven Court. It’s a giant tree without limbs or foliage, thinning in the middle and then widening again as it reaches a severed flat top, forming something of an hourglass shape. In its bark is carved relief scenes of elven history, and its base has been rendered into a grand staircase leading to a wide opening, with gray curtains concealing what’s behind like a theater stage.

Several solemn servants in Ruthorian house livery gesture you over on the street nearby, silently hand over the rest of your gear, three scrolls sealed with the Ruthorian house sigil (your passes), a hastily scrawled letter from Ruthorian, one of those Tupelan hens, and a special night-black bag tied with silver cord.

The letter reads:

Entering the Court now is the only way I can keep the wardens from you and protect myself. I need you to still perform tomorrow. Until then, you are on your own. Tyslas Thysaer is where the elves go to play as gods, and you will be mere mortals in this realm. Tread with care: I have little power to protect you. Speak only Elvish. Tell anyone who asks that you have been “honored with an invitation to glimpse Osina Sarrazin’s beauty” and let them direct you where to go. The hen is for her, appeal to her vanity. When the time comes tomorrow, servitors will bring you to the performance space I have set up. The wardens will likely try to ambush you afterwards. Wait for more instructions at the soirée – I hope to deliver then the means to our mutual friend. My staff here have your credentials, and in the bag the necessary tributes that you’ll need for entry. Do not look in the bag. Destroy this letter.

Scrafe saddles up to Nim and hands her two twisterstones in a confidential manner :

“You’re the only one with any sense in this heap.” [gestures to Daisy and Dov]  “Hold on to at least one in case you’re caught by the wardens. Tell ‘em you was the one who set the twisters loose in the barracks, yes? Keep my master out of it. The other one’s for you to use at your discretion and ‘scrimination.“

He winks, then flies away for good.

At the gate, a single hooded elf emerges out of the shimmery gray cloth – his cloak is formed out of and still connected to the curtain.  He takes your credentials and reads them, takes the bag, peers inside quickly then snaps the bag shut. He then looks up,  examining you each in turn. He asks about the hen and the dog. Ambrosius gets a special bond to Daisy.  “It is necessary. The animal will be linked to you in Tyslas Thysaer,” the gatekeeper explains.

The curtain is parted and you enter the Court.

You wander this strange place which seems to go on forever. Is it on another plane of existence? There are ballrooms filled with trees, some filled with a mix of marble and luscious forest vegetation. Sometimes the trees look like they’re made of glass;  sometimes the hallways have no walls and there’s only the sight of meadows and flower-filled glades on each side.

At one point, you encounter a group of wandering elf nobility, drinking and carousing.  When they see you, they are immediately fascinated, putting full attention on you for their next diversion. Nim they ignore entirely – a half-elf Khian-Tian commoner.  But Dov they try to buddy up with, telling him they like the cut of his jib, offering him a thousand gold for his clothes.  If not that, then 200 gp for his hat. Daisy and Ambrosius, they find hysterical.  The drunkest and most obnoxious of them gets on all fours and offers his back for her to ride.

Dov perceives the most sober of the lot and asks for directions to Osina Serrazin. The elf nobleman haughtily agrees to divulge but only if Dov relinquishes his hat, for it will amuse his friends to no end and give him bragging rights for 100 years, or so he claims.  Dov reluctantly hands over his hat, and the elf summons a Servitor, an animated crystalline statue, who leads the three of you away from the carousers to Osina Sarrazin’s glade.

After introductions are made to the eccentric vain aristocrat, and a certain Tupelan hen is bequeathed to sweeten the relationship, Osina invites you all (not that you have a lot of choice) to participate in her elaborate tableaus depicting mythological scenes for the entertainment of her banqueting guests.  Everyone’s to take part, that is, except Ambrosius, who is treated like a prince and given a place of honor in the audience.  Osina is particularly excited about Daisy, insisting that she dress as Edwar the Red Dwarf, a famous dwarf villain from folk tales, in each of the tableaus, even when he doesn’t fit the scene.  Eventually, you’re all able to get a break and rest up for the night in her stables (many of the tableaus feature horses.).

While settling down, Daisy discovers a clockwork cricket among her things – maybe fashioned by Pobody?  Did the thing hop on her when she was waiting around in his potion shop?  Nim says it’s magical. It apparently has silence-making powers.

Before you all go to sleep, Daisy tells you of Pobody’s discoveries about her sword.  “It kills dragons,” she says matter-of-factually.  But it requires a special command phrase to start being magical. And Daisy, failing to connect the dots, has no idea what those words should be.

The next morning, one of the crystalline Servitors arrives to accompany you all to Ruthorian’s performance space.  Upon arrival, you are handed a sack, containing:

  • Two costumes: a Green Maggs that looks like it fits Nim, and a Twig-Monster to fit Daisy;
  • A small shovel;
  • A statuette of a tusked creature (one of Ruthorian’s);
  • and a note from Ruthorian, which reads:

I regret that I cannot attend. Though we miss our dear friend, I suggest for good luck you tear his note in three and each take a part; keep the remnant close at hand. After your performance, look for my regards from Jewel Eye, a most ardent fan.


You still have the note from Trimphid, so your rip it in three and distribute it among each other. Then you prepare for your performance.  Nim, disgusted with the idea, is not interested in being Green Maggs, so Dov drinks an elixir that makes him magically resemble the hag, and puts on the costume instead. Daisy wants nothing to do with a Twig-Monster costume and leaves that in the sack.  Nim, meanwhile, acts the part of the Narrator.

The performance goes reasonably well. Nothing spectacular, but Daisy does an adequate job playing her heroic self.  Dov really hams it up as Green Maggs; truth-be-told: not to be his best work.  More a work of melodrama than a documentary. But the audience is forgiving and you receive appreciation and praise at the close.

During the post-performance reception, there is buzz that the wardens are waiting outside. An agent of theirs drills each of you about Dov – wondering where he is, but since he is disguised as Green Maggs, the fugitive manages to escape the attentions of the Law for the time being.

During the hobnobbing, an elven woman with a bejeweled eye-patch approaches and passes each of you the petal of a certain flower. “Eat, sleep, wake, dig,” she says cryptically.  Upon eating the petal, each of you has a fit, collapsing to the floor and making quite the scene. You black out and awaken much later in some kind of a recovery room – Ambrosius is there too (linked as he is to Daisy by the gatekeeper).

Once you’ve gathered your wits and your stuff, you remember Ruthorian’s shovel and Jewel Eye’s instructions and work together to distract the Servitors enough so you can dig a hole in the ground and jump in.  This, you discover, is a way to access the Court’s back stage area, the behind-the-scenes of Tyslas Thysaer, and “hack in” to the system (to use meta modern terminology). The Court is a magical entity of sorts that happens to log the entrances and exits of all its visitors, keeping this data stored somewhere in its programming, so by accessing its back stage, keeping Trimphid’s note remnant close and your desire to find him in your mind, you can trick the Court into taking you where Trimphid exited. Or, at least, this was Ruthorian’s hope.

The only problem is, none of you are full elves.  And Tyslas Thysaer is for elves.

So the Court has its way with you. Each of you has to deal with a fantasy dream sequence and use your willpower to overcome the magical realm’s hold on you…

After climbing down into the tunnel, Daisy suddenly  finds herself mounted on Ambrosius, her mind all a muddle as to what came before. She’s dressed in full plate – a full cavalier under the thistle banner, with a band of fellow halfling cavaliers around her. They are priming for battle. She has her sword and can feel its magic – and she is not afraid to wield it.

She realizes she is in Axla, the halfling homeland, and it’s just as she imagined from Nana’s stories.  A trumpet blares nearby. Below her, in the field at the base of a hill, she can see a horde of… orcs?  Another trumpet blasts, and all as one, the cavaliers charge. At this moment, Daisy fails to withstand the power of Tyslas Thysaer‘s security protocols. Her eyes gaze back up at the banner as her cavaliers race down the hill. Her thistle banner has changed!  Now it’s upside-down and looks like a dragon raining purple fire and terror on the earth below.

At the bottom, Daisy finds herself amid the carnage of her old village. It’s filled with fire-elemental halfling people parading out of a dragon’s mouth. Are they burning or celebrating?  This time she is able to will herself out of the situation. The scene changes and she finds that she is no longer riding on Ambrosius; all around her is darkness. Her trusted friend, however, is barking at her to follow a distance away. She goes to him and thus is led out of the Elven Court.

Meanwhile, Nim awakens in the Royal Palace of Khian-Ta. She’s dressed as the nobility of her people, and her mother is standing by her, gazing at her and looking proud. She places a shimmering rainbow shawl around her neck.

“Oh Nimaruna, I want to introduce you to everyone”, her mother says.  In the throng of Khian-Tian notables, Nim can see famous warriors and legendary hunter folk heroes in attendance. She feels like she belongs.

Everyone is expecting the arrival of the king, mingling, eating morsels brought on plates by servants. The food b looks delicious, something delicate, winged. Nim reaches to grab for one. Someone tells her what they are: pixies.

Nim, being half-elven, is better suited to withstand the Court’s mind-enchanting affects. She realizes she is in a dream and refuses to eat.  The King of Khian-Ta enters then, the whole crowd as one stops what they were doing, turns to face him, and begins to bow, genuflect.

Her mother, showing deference with the others, looks up at her. “Bow, child” she says sternly, and Nim knows doing so will please her mother.  But Nim is stronger. She doesn’t bow. The king’s face is not visible, but from his head Nim can see sprouting ink-black antlers. Her kin are all kneeling now, deeply prostrated before the king, deeper and deeper they fold into ground.  Nim stands alone, the one member of her people still upright, facing the antlered king in defiance.  At this, the world goes black and everyone around her bursts into stars.  After a moment of stillness, Nim traces the patterns of the fabric around her, until she finds there is a single star lit up more than the others. She floats towards it and thus is led out of the Elven Court.

Dov opens his eyes to his old prison cell in Farglad. Was his escape and adventures all a dream?  But something is odd about the walls:  they’re entirely made of books, stacks and stacks of them, all sizes and shapes. He pulls one out to read its pages, and the text is all about Dov, extolling his virtues and acumen. All the books are about Dov, he realizes. He desperately wants to read more, but his mind stays focused on the un-reality of this place, and he shakes off the urge.

Through a barred window in the cell, he can see it’s the capital city outside, but even the other buildings and roads are made of books – the whole city.  From outside, Dov begins to hear a song – it’s a ballad such as is sung about the Pure, only Dov is the subject.  Floating up to the window,  the severed heads of notable bards perform the ballad in harmony.  His cell door suddenly bursts open, and standing there is the goddess Brega herself.  “It’s time to go.”, she says.  “Come with me.” She reaches out her hand to Dov. He resists the impulse, grabs a nearby book, and hurls it at her.  Brega laughs, not unkindly, shrugs, and says, “Well, the door is open now, traveler”, and disappears.  Dov exits the prison, heads out on foot across the city of books about him, then beyond. As he journeys, the books become more and more blank. Using dream logic, Dov continues until he finds where the books are all about Trimphid, and here he finally exits the Elven Court.

Now fully out of Tyslas Thysaer, everyone wakes up to find themselves outside, on the floor of a jungle, under the stars. Ambrosius is there, too – tied to Daisy by the gatekeeper’s spell.  Near you is a cairn of stones marked with ancient Elvish. Dov examines the script and sees mention of the Elven Court. This must be a kind of obscure, forgotten gateway back into it.  The remnant of Trimphid’s note you kept is warm to your skin, and you surmise you must be at the exit point that Trimphid took, the Elven Court having dumped you here after entering its inner workings, its “back stage”. This jungle must be where he and Tumn entered, but the trail is too cold to track them. The most fresh footprints seem to be heading off in one direction, a crude path of sorts – so you take it.  It leads you to the silhouette of a giant hill against the night sky, rising ominously in the near distance.

Could this be… the Mound?

To Be Continued…

Game Recap: Barracks BreakOut

You all decide to leave the potion shop that very night. With the foppish Vyrin Lortis in the lead, you silently weave through the twisting, turning alleyways of the Old Gnomish Quarter (or the OGQ if you want to be all acronymy) back to the city proper and Faetol Aranfadori (or, if you’re not into the whole Elvishy thing, “Gargoyle Tower” the nickname for Ruthorian’s house).

Once you’re safely inside and stash your bag of Gwebbo’s loot, Vyr flings her bow at a servant and instructs him to get you set up with rooms. In a celebratory mood, she invites you to continue drinking with her, ordering up some of her uncle’s best vintages for the occasion. Aloof as always, she seems little concerned whether you join her or not. Finally in a nice bed, you pass the night dreaming of small angry tattooed people shaking their ink-stained fists at you (well, all of you except Nim.)

The next morning, Daisy and Dov have TERRIBLE hang-overs from the ink fumes that got the best of them the night before. Over a breakfast of… well, some kind of lichen thing (it’s good, whatever it is), Ruthorian asks how Pobody’s mission went. Vyr animatedly tells him all about the ‘grubs’ (i.e. gnomes) she plucked (i.e. punctured with arrows). She brags about how she vandalized the factory floor and Gwebbo’s office, writing “Lord Vorn Lives” on the walls in grub juice (i.e. gnome blood). She is grieving her father and friends, soundly defeated by the gnome gang-lord, so I guess you can’t really hold it against her (Daisy at least can relate). She too couldn’t find that one Inkie that was hiding in the crates, so there’s at least one witness that might get back to Big Blot (aka Gwebbo) and inform him of your likenesses.

Ruthorian tells you he is confident that the talented Pobody will identify the sword today. The wizard is no doubt grateful you’ve helped him re-activate Artivole’s portrait as it will aid him in his efforts to keep tabs on Gwebbo.

Your elf host also updates you with this:

“I’ve been making inquiries, and Trimphid did indeed enter the Court, but no one has any idea where he went, or won’t tell me. I think I’ve found a way to get you in though. It’s well-known that I’ve been studying the raven problem; I’m something of a local expert on it. Occasionally, I sponsor speaking engagements in the Court on topics related to corvid malevolence for the amusement of the nobility. There is some interest in hearing of your firsthand involvement in the defeat of Green Maggs and her raven allies. I have set up a soirée for you to speak on the subject tomorrow, perhaps have you perform a pantomimed reenactment? I can get you each a pass provided to entertainers. As far as how to track Trimphid once you’re inside, I do have an idea that I’m going to pursue, and will update you when I know more of the particulars.”

As a parting comment before retiring to his studio, Ruthorian also tells you that he has heard the chief warden wants to speak with you.” No doubt the city’s wardens are curious where you’ve been disappearing to.

You all load up Ambrosius with the loot and proceed together to Pobody’s. And sure, you get some stares, but no one thinks “stolen loot”, they just think “aww poor dog”.

After it seems pretty clear it’s not going to a be a quick IDing of your sword, Dov, Nim, and Ambrosius head out to sell the loot and talk to the warden, leaving Daisy behind to fend for herself in the potion shop.

The hours pass slowly as she waits for him to finish. She tries not to go near the alchemical magical whats-it-callits filling every available surface. Thoroughly disinterested and disdainful of her waiting room, Daisy becomes bored out of her mind. The clockwork toads are not great at small talk. She’s actually glad Ambrosius didn’t stay with her, and she’s pretty sure the toads would be too, as he would want nothing more than to leap over, wrap his jaws and paws around each of them, and rip their gears and springs out. Not that he would, of course. But it would require a lot of patience and self-restraint and she wouldn’t want to put him through it.

Daisy is just about to give in herself to her primal instincts and gnaw on one of the toads when the wizard emerges from his study, still peering at her sword in his hands. The gnome looks tired, and somewhat defeated.

“Well, that was quite a puzzle!”, Pobody exclaims. “Your sword has a powerful dweomer that I can’t seem to crack. Oh, within an hour, I was able to determine what the sword actually does once its magic is activated. It was tricky, sure, but I was up to the task! But then I spent the rest of the time trying in vain to identify the command words to activate the damnable thing. Even its basic enchantment [i.e. its plus bonus to attack just for being magical] has been suppressed somehow. Unless you know what to say to it, it will just remain an ordinary sword. A stubborn thing! Blech, I want nothing more to do with it!”

And with that, he hands it unceremoniously back to her.

Here’s what it would do (that is, if one speaks the command words):

The katana has been specially designed to inflict harm to dragonkind.

  1.  +4 Dragonbane – Against dragons, the weapon’s enhancement bonus is +2 better than its actual bonus (which is +2). It also deals an extra 2d6 points of damage against dragons.
  2.  Three times per day, when it hits a dragon, the wielder can have that attack ignore the dragon’s Damage Reduction (DR) as a free action.

Pobody doesn’t know any more than that and is happy to see Daisy to the door.

She returns to Ruthorian’s and finds Dov and Nim aren’t back yet, but hey, Ambrosius is there!, resting. Plus her share of the loot.

Vyr is at the house, too, practicing archery with anxious servants in the back parlor. There’s no sign of Ruthorian, but Vyr thinks her uncle is maybe in his studio, sculpting something unsavory.  It’s getting to be late afternoon. Hmm, wonder what’s keeping Nim and Dov…
Daisy barges around the house until she can find someone who’ll tell her when they last saw Nim (and Dov, she reluctantly admits) and where they might have gone.  From her awkward gruff interrogation of the servants, she gets the sense that her two friends had just come back from the market to drop off their earnings and Ambrosius before heading out again to visit the barracks. No big deal.

Although it has been kind of a while since they left…

So Daisy decides to go to the barracks with Ambrosius. She’s about to turn the corner and be in sight of the barracks when she suddenly hear a gravelly voice from up above:

“Wouldn’t go there if I were you.”

It’s Scrafe, Ruthorian’s gargoyle, trying to look inconspicuous by staying still as a statue. No one’s apparently provided him the memo that Tupelu most definitely lacks the big stone castle parapets where someone who looks like him might conceivably blend in as part of the scenery. Luckily he’s high enough off the ground that no one else is noticing the entirely out-of-place rock demon-creature.

Daisy stops and grinds her teeth in frustration. “Okay creepy gargoyle thing. Why not?”

“Your friends went in. And right after that, a whole lot of wardens go in too. And then nobody come out. I’m still waiting. They find out about the factory job or something? Your friends better not rat!! Master is already in enough trouble. He doesn’t need to be connected to this gang job you pulled! I knew he shouldn’t have taken in that wayward Lortis girl. A nasty piece of work, her. Low class and she flaunts it! Nothing but trouble! You put him up to this?”

Daisy responds:   “He took her in because she’s FAMILY. Not that I expect a creature like YOU to understand that!” Daisy ground out between her teeth, hands on her hips, unaware that she’s attracting stares. “Anyway, I didn’t ask to be involved in these stupid elf/gnome things either. I just want to find my brother, and my…friends. And get out of here. So why don’t you make yourself useful and go…peer in some windows or something?”

The gargoyle curses Daisy in some language that sounds like rocks scraping all over each other, makes some crude gestures at her with his little stony claws, and flies away.

And it doesn’t look like he’s flying to the barracks.

Not really thinking of another plan, Daisy decides to just barge right on in. When she enters the barracks, she see there’s some commotion going on – something’s happening in one of the inner chambers. The wardens are distracted; none of them at first register her presence.

Daisy charges on through towards where the commotion is, tripping and pushing anyone in her way. Her sudden charge and bull rushing into an already volatile situation causes pandemonium. Those wardens that weren’t knocked over pull out their weapons, expecting additional threats. No one was quite expecting a surprise halfling-on-sheepdog onslaught in their barracks. In the chaos, she hears someone yelling, “It’s Green Maggs, she’s here! She’s here!” Some wardens are running in panic, tripping over each other.

Daisy keeps an eye out for her friends but isn’t able to see them at first. Then she hears the sound of combat and heads towards that. It’s a couple of those exotic ninja fighters that burst into being from thrown stones – “Twisters”, Daisy remembers they’re called. They’re there in the barracks suddenly and engaging deftly with the wardens, and for the moment no one is trying to fight her. She’s in a hallway and can choose between going left or right.  Daisy goes right and the hallway ends with a  closed door.

Seeing as there’s not much time to think about it. Daisy promptly busts the door down.

The door smashes open causing someone behind it to be thrown to the floor with an ‘oof’. In the center of the room, she sees Nim standing behind a small table with an overturned chair behind her. She looks anxious. There is a disoriented elf warden on lying the floor in between – the one Daisy knocked down.

“Daisy!” Nim’s sunken-eyed look of despair brightens considerably. She’s smiling a little with relief which is… a sort of odd and not-appropriate reaction to what’s happening outside. “Please tell me you heard that voice too?”

Daisy and Ambrosius balance atop the door, under which the half-squished elf wriggles. She stills as Daisy presses the tip of her lance against the back of her beck.

“Maiden’s Knees and Ankles, Nim, what have you gotten into without me?!” She pauses a moment before asking, “…..what voice?”

Nim shrinks a little again. “The voice! The… oh. Nevermind then, we’d better go,” she mumbles, looking crestfallen. “The wardens said Green Maggs is here — if we brought her vengeful spirit into town with us, we’re uh… we’re probably in several kinds of trouble.”

Daisy’s eyes go wide with fear. She looks down at herself and cranes back over her shoulder, as though half-expecting to see a hideous hag stuck to her back. Not immediately seeing anything, she relaxes a tad.

“Well okay, if the elves think there’s an evil witch ghost, that’s their problem. At least you’re safe. Come on, let’s go find that idiot Dov. And don’t wander off again, okay??”
“Okay,” Nim agrees, nodding politely. “But they made me go this way, they were questioning me about Dovien– , the Pure are coming for him, they still think he’s a murderer,” she adds, and it’s maybe a good thing that Daisy doesn’t understand her very vivid elven-language swearing.

Daisy wishes for a moment she could swear in another language too. But the only Axlan her Nana taught her was the family motto, and that doesn’t seem appropriate right now, so she’s settles for, “Damn it! We’d better hurry then. Come on!” And with that, she turns Ambrosius and charges back out the door and down the hall, sparing a glance back to reassure herself Nim is following.

It’s another empty interrogation room. Big obvious differences: the door isn’t smashed open and there’s no elf warden rug decorating the floor. (They really should add one here; really ties a room together.)

Nothing seems unusual, so they hustle off towards the sounds of fighting.

Out near the main exit doors of the barracks, several tuista durista (“men of sorrow” in Elvish), aka Twisters aka “murder machines”, the elven assassins who sprout into being from magic flash stones and look like they hail from cruel desert wastelands, are fighting crowds of defending wardens. You spot Dovienya talking to himself near the combat but as of yet not actually engaged in it.

Daisy orders Nim to stay close behind her, and edges towards Dov – making sure to keep herself and Ambrosius between Nim and the fighting.

Dov says, “Things were perfectly well in hand before you came in here and started murdering everyone, now call them off!”

Then turns towards Daisy who was edging up on him. Nim is behind her.

Daisy pulls Ambrosius to a halt. She’s turned beet red – extremely affronted, even by her standards. “….WHAT!? Why you…YOU’RE the one who….I’M HERE TO RESCUE YOUR UNGRATEFUL ASS,” she sputters.

Dovienya returns Daisy’s affronted look with an angry look of his own. “Look, call it what you want, but where I come from rescues don’t involve murdering innocent guards.”

Dovienya turns back to the battle and looks around for someone.

“Innocent is getting harder to suss out, actually,” Nim points out cryptically, looking distressed. She moves to take back one of her re-confiscated weapons, pointing it at the sorrow-men… or the guards, or the… well, shit. “I don’t know which side of this fight I’m on,” she admits, as it takes her several tries to actually grab hold of her sickle-shaped blade as it shifts defiantly out of her grasp.

“I…don’t either.” Not presented with an obvious target, Daisy slumps, looking strangely deflated. “They were already doing…” Daisy waves her hands to encompass this fighting, “this when I got here. At least…weren’t they?” But then she pulls herself up straight. “But I most certainly DID NOT murder anyone. I just…knocked a few of them over.”

She turns to Nim, distraught. “Hey, can’t you do your….color thing? Knock them all out and we’ll work it out later?” Daisy pauses for a moment. “Or I could just knock Dov over head and drag him out. Leave this mess to the rest of them.”

From near Dov, you hear the familiar grating voice of Scrafe, but there’s no visible sign of Ruthorian’s gargoyle.

“Yes, do that last one; I’ll even fetch you the rock! And let’s get out of here, Master’s expecting you.”

“Wait…I saw that gargoyle fly away before I got here.” Daisy glares around suspiciously. “Nim, do you feel anything weird in here? Like…weird magic stuff?”

<begin gargoyle rant:

“[krckghhxx] Yeah well I turned back to see you headed into the barracks when I etching told you not to go, and Master says you are to be protected at all costs so, as I was explaining to bird-shanks here, *this* is the cost! So get going! Don’t let the lichen grow! Master gave me these twisterstones and said watch over you and make sure you don’t come to harm even you are ratting on master and insulting his loyal servant and pushing down wardens and arguing and wanting to etching fight the very twisters that are saving your plinths! {Xyckkruugk] knows what he sees in you he shouldn’t be trusting you, you heap of [ughkkurrk vxkxkkkq]!!”

: end rant>

“‘Deny all kings’…” Nim says aloud, growing stock-still despite the surrounding chaos. “We should go with… Scrafe,” she says, sounding more definite about this than she has about anything since being rescued by the unstoppable force that is Daisy. “I can try to stun the wardens, they won’t come to harm — but Dovienya, you will be in terrible danger here if we don’t run away right now.” For once she looks pretty insistent, giving both of them a sober stare.

Daisy stares at Nim, looking….could it be impressed? Standing in her stirrups, she reaches up and grabs the back of Dovienya’s tunic. “You heard the woman. Let’s blow this joint.”

Dovienya stops advancing and turns to look at Nim. He tilts his head slightly while studying her, glances back at the battle, then sheathes his sword. “Well why didn’t someone just say so? Hey floating voice, maybe next time start with an explanation and then work your way up to desert elf assassins?”

Striding purposefully toward a back room Dovienya says to Nim, “Don’t bother with the spell. The wardens have stabilized their lines and have a healer, stunning them would just put them in more danger. Daisy, the rest of our gear is in this back room, since you seem to have an easier time picking things up can you help grab Nim’s stuff?” Dovienya grabs his own belongings and takes a moment to scribble a quick note of apology to Chief Elriel and Guardswoman Hedril. Then he turns with his friends and heads for the exit.

Daisy glares incredulously at Dov’s retreating back. Turning to Nim she mutters, “We just pulled his ass out of the fire, and he’s going to act like HE’S in charge now?”

Nim shakes her head. “His backside will still be a little warm after this, give it time,” she says. “Let’s get out of here, though, please…? I’m hoping one of you can tell me if Green Maggs’ angry ghost really is here, though, while we’re running.” She sort of slouches back into her normal shape, glancing around nervously, all traces of her solemn, mystic pronouncement from seconds ago now gone.

“Running, yes.” Daisy nudges Ambrosius after Dovienya, pacing Nim’s stride. “That was some warrior queen thing you did back there, by the way. Can you do that on command?”

“Running yes, or… witches and running..?” Nim ventures, still very worried about the whole Maggipen thing, but then shakes her head as if to dispel some cobwebs from it. “Did I do something weird? More than usual? Sorry about that. There’s a lot…” she makes a complicated gesture that provides no further helpful explanation of anything, really, pointing to her own head and then upwards towards the sky in the process.

Daisy shrugs, “Well you went all ‘DENY ALL KINGS!’, which sounded impressive, although I don’t know what it has to do with this mess. As for witches, well that’s more your realm than mine. I mean, I didn’t see any witches in there. Just a bunch of pissed of elves and murderous sand ninjas.”

“Oh, well, yes, that…” Nim says, looking unabashedly pleased that someone was impressed with her confusing declarations for once. “I mean, I thought I heard her voice is all…” she explains, looking slightly less worried now but still a little twitchy. “I’m not really any more in the loop about what’s happening than you are, but I have a pretty clear missive from the universe that we should not blindly trust the law to do the right thing, right now. They’re susceptible. So, if I have to pick… then… gargoyle,” she says, summing up her still-confusing take on the last few minutes.

Once outside of the barracks, you all hear Scrafe’s disembodied voice again, urging you down the street and occasionally cursing at you in his harsh rock-language. You turn a corner out of the view of the barracks and he pops into visibility, hovering in the air, peering around for somebody, his stony bat-like wings flapping furiously.

The gargoyle then spots a young elf dressed in Ruthorian house colors waiting nervously on the street nearby. He flies over, rips a folded up piece of parchment from the poor thing’s hands. The servant, caught unaware, shrieks in surprise, but when it dawns on him that he’s now empty-handed with his mission complete, he scurries gratefully away.

Scrafe ignores the fleeing servant and reads the note, shoves it unceremoniously in his stone-carved maw, then turns back to you.

“Right, well, now you done it. You been pushed off the parapet! Master saw my scry of your barracks bungle and has made ‘rangements. Says he packed up the rest of your gear and sent it on with the house staff, along with your passes. Says there’s no time now, you must escape the wardens. Says you’re to go straight to the Courts. [hkgh! hkgh! hkgh!] Good luck, he says but I say good riddance! Hope the fall’s long and you smash into powder! You better not have ratted out Master, you [kxhhgk tchkrkk]. Oh, he says to wait for word from him inside as to how to track the wizard. [hkgh! hkgh! hkgh!] Well don’t just gape, get off your plinths and follow me to Court! [hkgh! hkgh! hkgh!]”

Scrafe then flies upward to perch on top of the nearest building protrusion. He starts leaping from structure to structure, keeping himself in your sights as he does so. You can’t help but hear him [hkgh]-ing to himself with derisive amusement at your unfortunate predicament.

To Be Continued…

Game Recap: Ink Factory Raid

Review of What You Know:

There is a vast criminal organization in Paradon called the Seven Sovereigns. They seem to be in control of the Underworld Overseers, but evidently don’t have a tight leash on them.  The wizard Trimphid is associated with the SevSovs but he’s low on the chain of command since he seems eager to increase his standing in the organization.

The SevSovs are interested in Daisy’s flower symbol and her brother Tumn for reasons unknown.  According to Trimphid’s letter to a higher ranking SevSov member, Tumn might know “the right words”, has the “false flower name”, and is “blood”.  None of this makes any sense to you.

The symbol seems to be associated with magic weapons and items from the distant halfling homeland (Axla). Daisy’s grandmother brought an Axlan katana with the symbol on it to Paradon when she emigrated and kept it in a chest where its magic aura could be hidden. If she knew the details regarding its true properties, she never shared them to Daisy or the rest of her family.

In capital city Farglad, a shrouded stranger, possessing a dagger with the same symbol, framed Dov for a paladin’s murder. Who was this mysterious person, are they associated with the SevSovs, and why did they have the paladin killed? Dov’s now a wanted man in the whole kingdom; how can he clear his name?

And Nim of course has her own mysteries. She’s a swimmin’ in ’em.


Recap of recent adventures:

On the trail of Trimphid and Tumn, you have arrived in Tupelu.  You are all currently a dinner guest of Ruthorian, a Tupelan elf nobleman.  He is part of a secret order (name unknown, hence “secret”) led by Primwizard Artivole, the most famous wizard of the age (and in the running for world’s goofiest name). Ruthorian was tasked by his order to learn more about the SevSovs, but has been caught spying by Trimphid, so he’s probably in big trouble. Poor Ruthorian: a vast criminal organization of a  neighboring kingdom knows, or will soon know, he’s a big ol’ traitor.  I wouldn’t want to be him right now.

Trimphid and Tumn have entered the Elven Court in order to travel to a place called the Mound, but that could be almost anywhere – there are gateways in the Court leading out to places all over the world.  Ruthorian has a position at Court and has agreed to look into whether anyone there knows where Trimphid and Tumn exited and how you three non-elf nobility can even enter the Court to pursue them.

While staying with Ruthorian, you meet his ward – Vyrin Lortis, an arrogant elf dandy and Ruthorian’s niece.  Her father was Lord Vorn, the boss of a gang of nativist elves called the Princelings.  They lost a turf war with the gnome gang called the Inkies led by Gwebbo the Big Blot, and Lord Vorn was killed and most Princelings died and the elf gang was disbanded. So tragic.


While you wait for Ruthorian to do his elven court thing, it’s time for a side mission!

Ruthorian has a buddy in the city, a fellow member of his secret order, a gnome wizard named Pobody who runs a potion shop.  He can identify the magical properties of Daisy’s sword, and he will likely only do it if you do something else for him because that’s just how these things work, always and forever.

You head into the Old Gnomish Quarter and seek out the shop.  Alarms go off upon entering, set off from Daisy’s magic sword. Croaking clockwork toad minions come to defend and Pobody jumps out to cancel them.


The gnome wizard introduces himself in one wordy mouthful as:

“Pobody Nobudge Alsuissious Hastershapp Gatwell Pebblibone Snerfect the Third (of Twelve Children)”

And promptly tries to sell you his potions and other alchemical creations, some of which you purchase. You explain that you are actually here on the recommendation of Ruthorian and are willing to pay the gnome for his services in identifying a magical item, or if the price is too beyond your means, perform a needed task in exchange instead.

Well, you do lack the funds, so Pobody gives you a mission:

“Perhaps you’ve heard of the recent gang wars in the Old Gnomish Quarter, the Princelings trying to take out the Stained (i.e. Inkies). Well, the Princelings lost, and Gwebbo seized Lord Vorn’s stuff.”

There’s a particular thing that Gwebbo got from Lord Vorn, Pobody explains, a stolen item, that doesn’t belong to either of them; it’s a portrait painting.  And Pobody can’t seem to find any elf willing to help since the Princelings were so profoundly trounced. Here’s where you can come in.

Pobody thinks the painting is in Gwebbo’s ink factory (“ink” being both a fluid for writing here in Tupelu, but also a drug that a lot of young impressionable elves are starting to take;  it supposedly increases one’s wit or creativity or something.)  He wants you to confirm the whereabouts of the painting and look for candles depicted in the picture. Using real flame, he wants you light the candles in two different sequences.  Once you’ve done that, Pobody explains that you can use the painting to escape – and you’ll know what that means when you get there. He suggests that, before you exit via portrait, you grab any of Gwebbo’s loot for yourself.

Pobody directs you back to Ruthorian and his gargoyle Scrafe in order to do some reconnaissance.  Scrafe scries for Ruthorian showing the street around the factory by day, and you get the lay of the land.  Your realize it’s best to go at night – that way, you won’t involve the citizenry or the wardens.

Ruthorian’s niece Vyr wants to assist you in the raid. She is an accomplished archer, and can take out the “grubs”, her racist term for gnomes, quite effectively.

So the four of you head over to the ink factory under cover of inky blackness and successfully make the raid.  You kill all of the gnomes save one, who gets away.  The portrait painting depicts Primwizard Artivole, and when you light the first sequence of candles in the painting, his eyes refocus on you. When you light the second sequence, his hand rises up in the painting as if reaching out to take your hand.  When each of you lifts your own hand up to the painting, you see a brief flash of the venerable wizard grabbing it and helping to heft you up into the painting, and then you are magically teleported to another place: a torch-lit chamber with the same painting on the wall, but in reverse.  You begin exploring this strange nether-place and soon run into Pobody, who was expecting you. He takes you to another reverse painting, leaps through, you follow suit, and you arrive back at Pobody’s study in his shop, having exited an almost exact duplicate of the Primwizard’s portrait on the gnome’s own wall.

You all decide to leave the potion shop that very night instead of demanding the gnome immediately identify the sword.  With the foppish Vyrin Lortis in the lead, you silently weave through the twisting, turning alleyways of the Old Gnomish Quarter (or the OGQ if you want to be all acronymy) back to the city proper and Faetol Aranfadori  (or if you’re not into the whole Elvishy thing, “Gargoyle Tower”, the nickname for Ruthorian’s house).

Once you’re safely inside, Vyr flings her bow at a servant and instructs him to get you set up with rooms. In a celebratory mood, she invites you to continue drinking with her, ordering up some of her uncle’s best vintages for the occasion. You can feel free to take part, or politely decline (aloof as always, she seems little concerned whether you join her or not).  Finally in a nice bed, you pass the night dreaming of small angry tattooed people shaking their ink-stained fists at you (well, all of you except Nim – she seems more disturbed than normal upon waking the next day).

The next morning, Daisy and Dov have TERRIBLE hang-overs from the ink fumes that got the best of them the night before.  Over a breakfast of… well, some kind of lichen thing (it’s good, whatever it is), Ruthorian asks how Pobody’s mission went.  Vyr animatedly tells him all about the grubs she plucked (i.e. punctured with arrows). She brags about how she vandalized the factory floor and Gwebbo’s office, writing “Lord Vorn Lives” on the walls in grub juice (i.e. gnome blood).  She is grieving her father and friends, soundly defeated by the gnome gang-lord, so I guess you can’t really hold it against her (Daisy at least can relate).  She too couldn’t find that one Inkie that was hiding in the crates, so there’s at least one witness that might get back to Big Blot (aka Gwebbo) and inform him of your likenesses.

Ruthorian tells you he is confident that the talented Pobody will identify the sword today. The wizard is no doubt grateful you’ve helped him re-activate Artivole’s portrait as it will aid him in his efforts to keep tabs on Gwebbo.

Your elf host also updates you with this:

“I’ve been making inquiries, and Trimphid did indeed enter the Court, but no one has any idea where he went, or won’t tell me. I think I’ve found a way to get you in though.  It’s well-known that I’ve been studying the raven problem; I’m something of a local expert on it. Occasionally, I sponsor speaking engagements in the Court on topics related to corvid malevolence for the amusement of the nobility.  There is some interest in hearing of your firsthand involvement in the defeat of Green Maggs and her raven allies. I have set up a soirée for you to speak on the subject tomorrow, perhaps have you perform a pantomimed reenactment?  I can get you each a pass provided to entertainers.  As far as how to track Trimphid once you’re inside, I do have an idea that I’m going to pursue, and will update you when I know more of the particulars.”

As a parting comment before retiring to his studio, Ruthorian also tells you that he has heard the chief warden wants to speak with you.  No doubt the city’s wardens are curious where you’ve been disappearing to.

So, you have a bag of loot to fence, and some of the items are magically delicious, a gnome wizard is waiting in his potion shop to look at Daisy’s sword – maybe finally tell you what it does, the chief warden is looking for you, plus tomorrow you’re putting on a show for a bunch of elf-lords.

It’s going to be an interesting day.

To Be Continued…

Game Recap: Elf Zoos Are Boring

The only way to visit the hidden forest kingdom city of Tupelu is to be guided on foot by the city’s scouts through its enchanted woods. Even the birds don’t see it from above without an invitation.

Of course, if the scouts have been turned into ravens and are getting beaten up by other ravens and an ancient evil hag of legend has been freed from her stone prison (by a meddling wizard seeking undetected passage through the forest) and is plotting to seize her pond back to restore herself to her former glory, resulting in the tragic death of a druid, her poor gentle husband, and several forest animal allies, plus a whole generation of pixies and one or two giant spiders, then you are going to have some additional difficulty getting there.

But you made it! And stopped Green Maggs from reclaiming her hold over the forest. There’s no time to rest on your laurels, however (the forest doesn’t have laurel trees anyway), and so you must continue your urgent pursuit of Trimphid and his abductee, Daisy’s brother Tumn. From an intercepted letter to one of the wizard’s associates, you know your quarry came to Tupelu and “traveled by Court to the Mound”, whatever that means, and had to avoid a local named Ruthorian – who might be a possible ally?

The city’s full name, you soon learn, is Tupeluon’Uird’Oklu which means “Gray Morning Mist” in elvish. Tupelians like to shorten it to Tupelu and call it “Eternal Tupelu” in common, but truth be told, there’s not a lot of common being spoken in the city if it can be helped. They’re an isolated lot, the Tupelans, and prefer to stay hidden in their forest, away from outsiders. Tourism really isn’t a valued industry here, which is a shame, as there are some nice sights to see.


Right off the bat you notice the fashion, which is quite ostentatious in texture, form, and style, but not in color – so as not to compete with the warm lovely greens and yellows of the city itself. A saying in elvish goes, “as gray as a Tupelian”.

You follow the ravens as they weave through the streets, trying not to stop and gawk at the exotic sights and sounds that surround you. Although you stand out as outsiders, the ravens prove to be even more of a distraction to the locals. You notice the battered black birds are eyed with disdain; many an elven curse word is uttered at their sight. Some children try to throw rocks at them; one even goes to fetch an archer. Eventually the ravens’ flight ends at the barracks of the city’s wardens, where they settle down to perch in a nearby tree, trying to nurse their wounds.

You stop a passing warden, dressed in intimidating darkwood armor that looks like rough black bark, and point out the ravens to her. She thanks you and promptly whips out her bow to dispose of the foul creatures forthwith. You stop her from unleashing her arrows, and proceed to tell your outlandish story of how these ravens are actually magically-transformed scouts you followed after killing Green Maggs, she of the old children’s stories, and how you got an Ettercap to help you fight little twig-people, and may have participated, albeit regrettably, in the near-genocide of the forest’s piskie population. This is clearly above her pay grade so the warden takes you to her superior, Chief Warden Elriel, who after hearing the story again, promises to confirm the details herself before dismissing them outright. She provides you a place to stay in the barracks, probably so she can keep a closer eye on possible nut-jobs wreaking further havoc on the citizenry.


In a morbid moment of clarity, Dov realizes he should really start decapitating his victims and start carrying their heads around so as to be able to offer more immediate proof of their deaths.  Possible other uses as well.

You learn that all ravens are outlawed and put to instant death if caught. The birds became enemies of the city ever since they mysteriously went bad centuries ago, called themselves “The Unkindness”, and began working together to antagonize the elves. But if what you tell them is true, and the ravens you followed are actually polymorphed scouts, then perhaps an exception in their case can be made. You watch as they are collected and caged, and several wardens are sent to find a powerful enough magic-user to reverse the spell cast upon them.

While you wait for your story to check out, you have a chance to spend some time in Tupelu. You sample the delicious local root cuisine Sarser and visit the zoological gardens, an attraction that only Nim can appreciate on any level, for the zoo’s rather too abstruse and well, elven, for Daisy and Dov’s tastes. You also go to the market and sell your loot to collect some decent earnings. On a lark, you venture into the rough part of town, the Old Gnomish Quarter, just to see what it’s like, but nearly get beaten up by tough-looking gnome youths with splotchy face-paint and blackened tongues, who act like they own the place. For all you know, they do.

Dov does what Dov does. Which is to say, he gathers lots of information. Besides discovering that furniture is big right now, as are flutes, there’s also a HUGE fad of hen breeding (called fiki) right now. The elves like to strut about the city’s parks cradling their prized hens in their arms and showing them off.


Eager for more pertinent info relevant to your quest, Dov has the Chief Warden put him in touch with a city scholar named Vordrit, and over long rambling discussions, the investigator learns the following:

  • Ruthorian is well-known. He’s a famous sculptor from a well-established aristocratic family, with a reputation for work that’s rather macabre (The Harpies Descending on Their Prey you saw in Trimphid’s underground gallery was one of his). He has a nice house downtown (which you learn later is called Faetol Aranfadori (“Gargoyle Tower”)), and a position at court.
  • The Elven Court is actually a magical realm-space (?) that the elf nobility visits in order to feel like gods. All the noble elves around the world share the place and have access to it, even Nim’s mother’s family in Razulanta. You gather Trimphid, with his Chrygora family connections (his ancestor Dezelda Chrygora was named Vana’Tylar, highest honor for non-elves, thus giving her and her descendants a position at Court for all time) has used the Court to travel to wherever “the Mound” is. It’s considered very crass to use the Court to travel from one place to another; one is expected to exit back through the gateway one entered. But Trimphid was never one for propriety and is clearly “hacking” the Court for speedy travel across long distances.
  • Though the elven scholar is unacquainted with the flying gargoyle at the pond battle, Vordrit recognizes the strange stones it threw that summoned mysterious allies for you. These are the Tuista Durista (“Sowers of Sorrow”), nicknamed Twisters. Not much is known about them, except that they are an unsavory society of elven assassins that one can somehow “subscribe” to. The practice is considered the worst sort of dark magic, and is unfortunate for both the throwers of the stones, who must pay dearly for the service, and the tragic beings that get birthed into being to do battle at their bidding.
  • Trimphid’s note mentioned that Ruthorian was a member of “Artivole’s club”.  Vordrit recognizes that name, as does Dov once his memory is jogged. For Primwizard Artivole is the most famous wizard of the age. Human wizard, anyway. His current whereabouts are unknown, and no news of his recent adventures has reached Tupelu.  As far as Vordrit knows, Artivole has no club.

The next day, the Chief Warden is able to confirm the details of your story and has a healer restore Dov’s strength from the hag’s claw wound. She tells you a wizard was successful in restoring the scouts back to their original form. One of them is recovered enough to recall the circumstances of his transformation. He believes it was the golden fox that polymorphed him and his fellows, perhaps to save their lives. Green Maggs, intent on killing the elves out of revenge, would have been prevented to do so as she was oath-sworn never to kill one of her raven allies.

Eventually you decide it’s time to pay a visit to Ruthorian. You arrive at his gothic-looking mansion in the evening to find the door already opening for you. Elegant and stark, dressed in fine black clothes, with pale skin and long straight white hair, the sculptor stands just inside to greet you. He proves to be a good host, inviting you to join him for a lavish dinner. Turns out he has been informed of your role in the forest by his gargoyle Scrafe, who aided you during the pond battle. Scrafe had been keeping tabs on the ravens in the forest, and seeing the Blazzerbuzzle turning south, decided to do his part to stop Maggs’ attack.

At the dinner, you meet Ruthorian’s snobbish niece, a dandy named Vyrin Lortis. Her father, Ruthorian’s brother-in-law, was Lord Vorn, a leader of a nativist society (i.e. gang) called the Princelings. He was recently killed by his rival Gwebbo (aka Big Blot), leader of the Inkies, the gnome gang that currently rules the Old Gnomish Quarter.

Eventually talk turns to why you are in Tupelu.  Ruthorian hears your story and reveals his own association with Trimphid. The wizard is a member of a vast criminal organization in Paradon called the Seven Sovereigns. Their symbol is the same seven-pointed star you saw tattooed on Overseer Brunus’ arm.


Ruthorian admits he has been acting as a spy, albeit a poor one, using Trimphid’s art patronage to further infiltrate the Seven Sovereigns. He is working for another order, one that he is not prepared to speak about.  He promises to aid you in your efforts, however.  He will look into how to get you all into the Court and track Trimphid there. He hopes that when you eventually intercept him, that you will find out what the Gridean has on him and prevent him from sharing what he knows with the Seven Sovereigns if possible.

The sculptor also senses Daisy’s crazy powerful sword and suggests you speak to a fellow member of his order located in the Old Gnomish Quarter as he’ll be able to determine its properties.

To Be Continued…

Game Recap: The Battle of the Pond

Nim is chosen as the worthiest among you to summon the golden fox. She performs the ceremony as described by the dryad, and the mysterious animal steps out from behind a tree. It says nothing but nods when asked whether it knows what happened to the scouts. When the missing spiders are mentioned, it takes off into the woods. You follow, and it leads you to a part of the forest where you find a forlorn Ettercap making an effort to hide himself.


When discovered, he tries to run away, but Daisy keeps looping around on her sheepdog to cut him off and make him talk. In fractured Common, he admits he knows nothing of the recent events of the forest, except that his beloved spiders were spooked and ran off around the same time as things starting turning bad (i.e. a certain Gridean wizard arrived in the forest).

You give him an offer: You’ll find his spiders, if he’ll help you. He agrees, and heads back to his lair, but not before shoving a claw-like appendage down his throat to collect a kind of secretion to anoint each of your heads with. Um, there’s a lot of covering things in pastes and fluids in this place, huh?

Sorry about that.

Anyway, acting on a hunch, you head over to the hole at Talon Rock, and descend into its dank, lightless depths. Inside you find a whole gaggle of giant spiders that are eager to follow you home like stray puppy dogs. The Ettercap’s effusions apparently make you fast friends. You lead them back to a grateful Ettercap.

After camping out for the night, you are about to head back to see Lady Eren the next morning when you unexpectedly receive invitations from both Pook Fee and Gliggerginn piskie clans to attend a “Blazzerbuzzle” to occur at noon that day. According to the miniscule script of the wren-delivered invites, a Blazzerbuzzle is “an engagement party” and “a joining of two Neighbors”. Hmm, it sounds like Weel and Luca are finally allowed to get married. Huzzah!

You travel to the piskie pond and wait for noon to arrive. Your pal, the elf druid Malraali arrives, but without her disabled husband Bofomar. She’s come bearing a wagon full of something covered with cloth. Wedding gifts for the lovely piskie couple perhaps? When the sun reaches the midpoint, the two clans, Gliggerginn and Pook Fee, come down from their trees and launch out onto the water on fleets of tiny leaf boats, the sails matching the color of their respective arboreal home-base foliage (naturally). When the two armadas make impact in the pond’s center, they proceed to attack one other. You are surprised to discover a “Blazzerbuzzle” is no wedding at all, but rather an elaborate ceremonial naval battle! While everyone’s distracted by the pond combat, Malraali pulls the blanket off the wagon, revealing the unconcious body of Bofumar. She brings him gently over to the shore of the pond and lays him down. With one ugly green claw, she cuts his neck over the pond and his blood begins to darken the water. Realization hits: it is Maggs in disguise! The ritual death of the kind-hearted, human herbalist is helping the hag-queen reclaim the pond as her own.

As the newly-revealed villain begins to wade in deeper, teeming multitudes of her allies descend from all corners. Strange little beings made of stick bundles wound with thorny vines rush out from the woods beyond, trampling the mushroom circle and spraying you with blasts of jagged splinters. Angry vengeful swarms of ravens blacken the sky, targeting the piskies especially. You find yourself caught in a maelstrom of evil. Thoroughly outnumbered by foes, your fate appears dire.


But all is not lost! The Ettercap and his spiders join the fray to lend support, guided there by the golden fox. As do Malraali’s animal allies from the forest?  Most strange of all, you spot what looks like a flying, animate gargoyle in the sky.  It is dropping stones to the ground, and when each lands, there is a flash, and a mysterious assassin appears ready for combat. Fortunately for you, these newcomers are confederates and help you defeat Maggs’ minions in short order. They promptly disappear in another flash when your mutual enemies are dispatched.


Green Maggs herself proves difficult to kill. But Dov bravely launches himself into the pond after her, his True Strike permitting him to trip her, providing you all a sizable edge in the fight. With two claws, she rakes him and the strikes sap Dov to such an extent that he feels his strength depleting. And not temporarily. We’re talking like legit, non-temporary attribute drain, y’all.


As you fend off the raven swarms and attacking stick bundle-men, you all do what you can to bring down the horrible hag.  Daisy charges her on Ambrosius with her lance. Nim casts her Color Spray, and it once again proves effective on several hundred of the vile black birds, who drop from the sky into the pond, stunned into immobility.  Maggs herself is also momentarily made to pause by Nim’s Efficacious Rainbow of Bedazzlement.  Unfortunately, the spell can’t help but affect a number of the piskies caught in its blast, many of whom were airborne engaged in the fray. They too fall into the water, incapacitated –  their fates put in mortal peril, now subject to potential drowning and rendered defenseless against their raven foes.

Eventually, you are able to fish Maggs out from the pond (Daisy at one point literally hooks her with a fishing-rod lance from under the water), with Dov providing the killing blow with a single rapier thrust.

When the battle is over, you do what you can to help those that survived.  Dov heals a half-dozen piskies.  As well as Ambrosius, who was blinded by a raven swarm.  But some wounds can’t be healed.  The piskies are in a state of shock, despondent, mourning the loss of so many of their kin.  None offer you thanks.  You see Luca weeping over a deceased Weel.

When there is finally nothing more that any of you can do to help, you depart the pond and set out into the forest once more.  Not long after, the ravens meet you in the woods, cough up three of their kind, then fly away. The outcasts are a bit raven-pecked themselves and worse for wear, but they begin to lead you through the forest on a secret route, one that only they know.  The golden fox does not appear again to you.  After a few hours, the trees open up and you are greeted to the view of a wondrous elven city.


You have finally made it to Tupelu!

To Be Continued…

Game Recap: Pesky Piskie Pranks

In the forest on the way back to Bofomar’s, you hear the sounds of a woman crying for help somewhere off nearby.  You start to move toward the cries and the golden fox suddenly appears, stepping out from a tree. It just shakes its head, ‘no’.

You ignore the fox and investigate the source, which leads you to a clearing.   A carpet of fungi and mushrooms on the ground turns out to be a large ambulatory slime mold hiding in ambush (!) It attacks, even absorbs Daisy and Ambrosius into its fetid form, but Nim uses her wand of Scorching Ray and blasts the thing to oblivion.  Immediately a flock of ravens, who were watching silently in the trees nearby, swarm together to counterattack, but Nim casts Color Spray (TM), and hundreds and hundreds of the nasty black birds just fall suddenly to the ground, stunned.  You make a quick get-away before they recover.

Back at Bofumar’s, you provide the spidersilk you got from the Ettercap’s lair and he finishes making the untrickie paste.  He also recognizes the signs that Daisy and Ambrosius have contracted a nasty disease from the slime. With Malraali’s help, the halfling and her dog are cured of the rotting fungal ailment before it sets in.

Bofomar thinks the attack sounded like something Green Maggs would do.  The forest was Fey-owned for a while, before the elves took up stewardship. It was known as the Cronewood for an evil hag named Maggipen that seized power. The pixies still talk about her, tell cautionary tales to children, call her “Green Maggs”, but she’s never been seen since the elves defeated her and placed the scouts in the forest.

You travel to the piskie pond, perform the untrickie ritual, and find it a less festive place; the Gliggergin lost their trickie, and neither clan now can claim you as their personal playthings.   Now that the Pook Fee clan can speak to you, you seek out Weel to learn what he knows about the scouts. He says he saw the scouts acting funny with the dryad.  He wonders if the dryad seduced them as it’s said she has power over men’s hearts.


You also learn from the (not-necessarily-reliable) piskie punk:

  • Green Maggs is real and she’s friends with the Ettercap. She turns travelers into spiders for the Ettercap. Green Maggs has been turned into a tree. Don’t go too close, she’ll snatch you, and pull you in with her branches.
  • The Ettercap lost his “sheep”. The piskies think scouts might have murdered his pet spiders. And the Ettercap seeks revenge.  Maybe he trapped the scouts in his web house?
  • Lady Eren, the dryad, is a quiet lady, keeps to herself.  The dryad, you learn, can’t be trickied.  And she can’t leave her oak. She’ll speak to you if you pour piskie pond water on her tree.

Somehow or another, you agree to let Weel join your party. You’re not sure how it happened.  I mean, the untrickie paste is supposed to be working, right?

A plan to use Trimphid’s love potion as a way to bring the two piskie clans together is briefly considered, but discarded.  Later, you discover Weel has snuck some sips while you slept one night and is uncharacteristically quiet the next morning, more red-hued in the face than usual, and refusing to look at Nim.

You decide to collect some piskie pond water and go pay Lady Eren a visit.

On the way there, you pass Talon Rock, a landmark stone outcropping shaped like a taloned finger. Only it’s gone, much to your shock. Just clean not there.  There’s a hole in the ground in its place,  but you decide not to investigate.

You arrive at the grove of the dryad but aren’t sure which is her oak.  In full view of all the trees, you decide to perform a mock argument with Weel, which turns out to not even require a Bluff check because it’s just so easy to fake annoyance with the little guy.  The ruse works and the dryad emerges from her oak, angry at being disturbed and bringing a piskie into her home. Turns out it’s a good thing you didn’t pour the pond water on her oak as it was just Weel messing with you.


You ask Lady Eren about the elven scouts.  She claims they came to attack her, and out of self-defense, she had to make them fall into a deep slumber. The next thing she knew they disappeared. But she did see a brief glimpse of the golden fox.  When asked about Green Maggs, she reveals that the evil hag-creature was turned to stone by the elves and is now known as ‘Talon Rock’.

Um, not so much anymore, you realize.

The dryad tells you one can wash a gold coin in the piskie pond water, plant it in the sunlight, and the golden fox will be summoned if you’re worthy enough.

Well, it just so happens that you have some piskie pond water that some pesky piskie convinced you to obtain.

To Be Continued…

Game Recap: Into the Woods

At one point during the slog to Yonbrook, Ambrosius barks, alerting you all that riders are approaching from the road up ahead. Everyone hides, and Dov gets a good look at the travelers as they go by. At the lead is a Paladin of the Pure, looking the part – grim-faced, intent on the road ahead, armored in gleaming plate with multiple medals emblazoned on his chest, trotting confidently on an equally impressive steed. His two other companions are harder to make out, hooded in browns and grays, and much dirtier from travel.  One of them is scanning the sides of the road, but doesn’t see any of you. After a while, it seems safe to come out and continue on your trudging way.

You make camp, and the night passes without incident.  Feeling a bit more rested, you keep going and approach the halfling village late that afternoon, but are stopped a good mile from it by members of their militia. They’re on high alert. Thanks to Daisy, word of the fall of Willowdale has spread to this community, and since the Stoutoaks and Wellspringers had family lost there, the village is also in mourning. All bows, spears, and shortswords are lowered at the sight of Daisy, however, and she is ushered warmly into a family friends’ home and given all the creature comforts one would expect.  Though side-eyed with some suspicion, her two big friends are also provided hospitality.  You quickly learn that there is another Big Person in town: a grizzled human carriage driver well known to the halflings named Codger. He came the day before and admits to Dov he was hired to drive another human to Yonbrook, but the mysterious customer disappeared into the night upon arrival, didn’t even stay the night at the inn. Codger is planning to depart Yonbrook the next day and is willing to take you all the way to the border of the Forest of Arsel for 18 gold pieces. This will significantly speed up your travel time.
Feeling that you are friends now and can trust each other, you speak candidly with one another about your pasts.  Dov admits he’s seen Daisy’s flower symbol on someone before.  Back in Farglad (the capitol) he made a bit of a name for himself finding missing people. He was asked to follow the Pure around to spy on them, but declined. One day someone came to him asking him to kidnap a particular paladin.  He turned them down and kicked them out.  But he noticed something: this mysterious shrouded person (human-sized) had a dagger at their belt.  And on the handle of the dagger was the same flower symbol as the one on Daisy’s sword. Later, the paladin turned up dead, and Dov ended up wrongly accused and thrown in prison. He escaped, made his way to Willowdale. Now that symbol is the only clue he has to track the shrouded stranger down and clear his name.
Pulling the flower seal out on its chain, Daisy says, “These belonged to my Nana. This and the sword. Though I didn’t know about the sword until…until after that night. She used to tell me stories about…where she came from. Axla.”
This name is unfamiliar to Nim and Dov, but Nim admits she’s seen the flower symbol in her visions and it is cosmically significant. Identifying the nature of the sword is beyond Nim’s ken, but the seal is simple enough:  It’s a Concealing Seal; any magic item that touches it shows no magic aura when a detect magic spell is cast.  This explains how the Overseers didn’t find it nor the sword when they ransacked Willowdale.
After spending a comfortable night in Yonbrook, you pay Codger to take you in his carriage to the eastern edge of the Forest of Arsel.  Codger explains that all you have to do is walk into the forest, and very soon, elven scouts will make an appearance to escort you all to the hidden elven city of Tupelu.  He pronounces it “TOOpuhLOO”, but since Dov and Nim know Elfish, they know it’s actually pronounced “TuPAYloo”.

You enter the forest.  Time passes, you walk ever deeper into the woods, and no scouts appear. The trees gets thicker and thicker, darker and darker, until you can’t see the sky any more.  Hours go by.  There’s no sign of scouts. You have the feeling of being watched. Strange lights seem to appear in the forest around you. Some are almost figure shaped. They dart away before you can get a good look at them. You make an effort to follow them, but they disappear.  Something is obviously wrong. You are hopeless lost. You decide to make camp and sleep on it.

The next morning, Dov is found drugged, forced asleep during his watch by tiny darts at the back of his neck.  Most peculiarly (hilariously?), his hair is all in tiny tangles and strange black and blue markings have been drawn all over his skin. They don’t rub off.  Since Nim knows north, you start heading west in the hope you’ll find a sign of the city. It’s not long before a mysterious golden furred fox appears (Nim thinks: “Celestial?”) and the strange creature leads you to another wanderer of the woods, then disappears. It’s an elf woman – a bedraggled eccentric druid named Malraali, and she admits she too was led by the fox to your location.


She takes you back to her husband Bofomar’s hut. He’s a human herbalist.  Seeing Dov’s condition, Bofomar confirms Malraali’s suspicion: “Ye’ve been marked by the pixies/ piskies/Good Neighbors. Aye.” Bofomar suggests you talk to the Good Neighbor named Weel. He saw the missing scouts two days ago and said they were acting funny. He draws up a map for you of notable landmarks in the forest.


Later, Malraali confides in Nim that she has seen her before in her dreams. The druid saw her hunting an other-worldly, skeletal black stag – one accompanied by a retinue of four ghostly figures.  It was a terrifying visage, a nightmare, and she feared for Nim’s life.   Malraali reveals with genuine dread in her voice that, in one dream, the Black Stag was hunting Nim.

The next morning you thank the druid and her husband for their hospitality, and using the map,  journey to where the Good Neighbors live. It’s two trees, one with red leaves, one with blue, on each side of a beautiful pond, all encircled by a ring of tiny mushrooms. The jubilant and rowdy piskies in the blue tree yell, “Wrong tree, Trickie!” when you try to talk to the ones in the red, who won’t even make an appearance.  You discover the blue piskies are the Gliggergin, and they are celebrating and flouting their recent success.  “You are our trickie!,” they tell you. Apparently, since they successfully pranked Dov the night before, it means they now have exclusive rights to leading you all astray and making mischief on you. Their rivals, the Pook Fee, lost out on the trickie. Turns out the piskie you seek, Weel, is a Pook Fee, and thus forbidden to speak to you..
You head back to Bofomar’s hut but encounter another Gliggergin lass on the way. She sneaked out of her tree to find you. Her name is Luca, and she says:  “I’m sad about Weel. We were once betrothed, but loooong ago (2 days), our clans developed a terrible enmity.  I will help you talk to Weel. First, you must be untrickied so that Pook Fee clan will speak to you. Tell Weel I still love him. Please tell NO ONE I betrayed my clan.”

Bofomar says he can find a recipe for an untrickie paste. It does require spidersilk, so you head up to the Ettercap’s lair.  You get caught in his web traps but don’t encounter him or his spiders.  You grab some spidersilk and get out as quick as you can, then camp for the night as far away as you can.

To Be Continued…

Game Recap: The Wizard’s Wicked Workshop

Daisy quickly attaches a rope to the table and lowers it down into the arena. Dov makes a run for it from his opened cell, leaps onto the rope, and scrambles up the center tower – just in the nick of time (thank you, Brega) for the sabre-toothed zombie tiger is right behind him, slamming the bottom of the rope in a vain effort to rip him down.

With Dov still in one piece (and not multiple sabre-toothed pieces, thankyouBrega), you all continue your search of the basement of Trimphid’s mansion.

You discover the wizard’s workshop hidden behind a secret door which is opened by inserting a blade into a slit in the neck of a small stone bust of a wizard (a famous one that Dov can’t remember the name of) in the master bedroom. Inside is everything you might expect to see in the laboratory of an arcane transmuter: the usual vials, beakers, measuring devices, and components – plus eyeballs and tentacles in jars, stuffed unnatural creatures hanging from the ceiling, oozes in cauldrons, a throbbing gooey egg,  and papers and magical texts all over the place.  There’s an angry, abused-looking dweomercat cub in a cage and strange wall-eyed fish-men in tanks.  You take what you can that’s magical and valuable.  One item looks like a tiny king suspended in a canister of goop. That one you leave where it lies, backing slowly away, and trying hard to forget you ever saw it. *Shudder*

Elsewhere in the basement, you find two doors in the gallery of morbid art: one leading to a wine cellar, where Dov takes a few bottles and smashes the rest.  A secret panel in the wall reveals a compartment with an organized stack of large grubs.  How eerie, you think.  Who or what are the grubs for?  And why are they hidden?

The second door from the gallery is a secret one – and leads to a large room that has been magically filled to the ceiling with a jungle environment.  A giant preying mantis hidden in the dense foliage (the likely eater of aforementioned grubs) strikes from out of nowhere when you try to trudge your way across.


You dispatch it (not necessarily with ease) and find another secret door on the far wall leading to Trimphid’s other secret laboratory. This one isn’t for show, oh no. It’s his necromancy workshop, and though more sparse than his other one, it contains all sorts of nasty, creepy things that give you the willies.  Upon entering, you notice a rat nibbling on something below the table, but it scampers off before Ambrosius can catch it. The thing it was nibbling on turns out to be some kind of weird, lifeless homunculus made of a white fatty substance, its previously sewn-shut belly ripped open and emptied.

You all stay in the necromancy workshop for a while, trying to find any clues to where Trimphid went. You examine the wizard’s various accoutrements and paraphernalia, digging into the details of his most private investigations, and what you find is all very distasteful so I won’t go into it here and it’s best if you don’t dwell on it in future. Everyone’s getting pretty frustrated as the time ticks on, with evidently no indication of Trimphid’s destination or details on Daisy’s brother.  Eventually Daisy notices that the door in the lab everyone entered through is now closed. And that it’s been blocked from the other side.  She breaks it down and finds an imp –


– trying to eavesdrop on you. It flees through the rest of the basement level, trying to make a beeline for the griffon to rouse him into defending the master’s estate, but Daisy (mounted on Ambrosius) charges and soundly cuts him off.

You interrogate the loathsome, pitiful little devil creature. He tells you his name is Grimgew and he’s Trimphid’s familiar. Or was, anyway.  It’s hard to tell what to believe since pretty everything he says is a lie.  He makes a vain attempt to wheedle for his freedom, showing you the sign of the inn door with Daisy’s flower symbol that the Overseers pillaged.   He admits he was the rat you saw when you first entered the workshop and eventually coughs up the handwritten message he tore out from the little homunculus’ body:


I’m coming to see you and I’m bringing a present. These grunts they’ve set me up with to make use of while I’m at Hawkperch are imbeciles. Utter idiots. They’ve made a mess of things and I’ll have to do a bit of clean up when I return. I’ll tell you the tiresome details when I see you but one good thing came of their blunderings. By sheer dumb luck, they found a halfling who might know the right words. He has the false flower name. So blood, yes?  He’s a complete idiot of course, country bumpkin, knows nothing, but I’m sure you can get what we want out of him. You can thank me when I get there. I’m going by way of Tupelu, my halfling “ward” in tow, and I’ll take the Court to the grove near the Mound.  So stand down your bugs for my arrival. In Tupelu, I’ll need to avoid Ruthorian. Can’t let him know I’m there. I’ll bring evidence to show you  that he’s a traitor – working with Artivole’s little club. We’ll want him killed. But maybe not ’til he finishes his latest masterpiece.I’m using one of Abs’ Lumpen-men for the message though I can’t see why. Utterly disgusting. And this is preferred over a spell? Anything for the good of the cause, I suppose. At any rate, I expect my new gift I’m bringing will improve my standing considerably.

Lord Arrowhawk

Figuring not much more info can be intimidated out of him, Daisy kills Grimgew.  But you aren’t all merciless : Nim frees the dweomercat cub (who thanks you all in Common before teleporting away) as well as the caged bats (who don’t thank you – how rude!) found among other immobile “Lumpen-men” in the storage closet of the necro lab.

It’s decided that the group won’t head back to Smidge, and despite having stayed awake all night, will forego any rest for the time being. Instead, you begin walking (betrudgingly, as you are fatigued) in the direction of Tupelu, getting as far from the village and the mansion as you can, with a plan to stop off in the halfling village of Yonbrook on the way.  You have a lot of interesting loot that you don’t know the significance of.

To Be Continued…