Traveler's Guide to Ispentine

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

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

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

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

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

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

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Session 1A: Entertaining Errands Endanger Everyone
Played June 22, 2013

In the port town of Holt on the southern coast of Ispentine, our heroes are running errands. The market square in the poorer area of town is bustling with the activity of foreign merchants and townsfolk.

The kobold Ly’miirik, disguised as a pink-haired halfling with the alias “Ketta Longwinter”, has set up a tent displaying her wares, particularly weapons and armor. She has hired the fourteen-foot-tall Grunt as a bodyguard, a giant orc who is not the brightest knife in the deck. Adjacent to them is “Doctor” Jackal Strangelove who sells a variety of alchemical supplies, and no poisons, thank you very much, and good day sir. Conrad Chelmsford is a human mercenary, who is in town to visit his parents. He just finished delivering a batch of swords, on behalf of his family’s smithy. Fiona Veiral is on general errands, after performing her temple duties as a cleric of Aisara. The market is graced with the unusual sight of a regal Tengu, Katsuo Running-Cloud, walking his horse through the crowded street.

Grunt, standing at the entrance of the pavilion tent, notices movement in an alleyway between storefronts across the street. Katsuo not only notices, but identifies the lurking creature, and draws back his bow. This excites Doctor Strangelove, who runs toward the tengu in order to convince him not to fire upon the giant orc. Meanwhile, Grunt smashes and the silent tengu makes a killshot on the mysterious creature with his bow. The alchemist is alarmed, and hugs Katsuo to prevent him from, in his view, firing on the orc.

A scream erupts past Grunt. Several people rush to the rescue while Ketta attempts to convince the crowd to clear the area, after jumping atop Grunt’s shoulders. It is only partially effective, but allows most of the not-yet-a-party to surround a giant ant that has attacked Francis Farkas, the representative for this neighborhood. A lot of smashing occurs, and Dr. Strangelove tosses a bomb at the insect, also scorching the storefront of the apothecary. The bomb prompts passerby to summon the guard.

With this threat eliminated, the group is not thanked by the alderman, but find themselves giving hasty introductions instead. Mr. Farkas recognizes Fiona as a blessed one of Aisara, and thanks her for her healing services. Grunt prepares to shake Mr. Farkas’ hand, which Ketta rides down and flourishes a bow to introduce them both. She is nearly shaken off by Grunt’s “hand shake” in response. The guards question the group, to which Ketta announces, “No need for thanks, citizens!” and Dr. Strangelove interjects, “Though gifts of cash are accepted!”

Grunt begins to retrieve the ant for lunch, but Ketta realizes how disastrous a pheromone trail could be and informs Grunt that it will “make belly hurt”. He then throws the ant casually on top of the general store.

Meanwhile, Katsuo lassos the first ant out of the alleyway, and investigates the space with the alchemist. They find a hole chewed into the side of the general goods store, and decide to send their horses to somewhere safe. While Dr. Strangelove calls indiscriminately for a mercenary, Katsuo displays a sign to the group announcing he will provide food for keeping his horse safe. Grunt picks up the squealing horse and brings it to Ketta’s tent. Dr. Strangelove begins calling for a competent mercenary. Conrad is hired to bring the horses to the smithy for safekeeping.

Katsuo busts through the locked door of the general goods store. He is confronted by four Medium ants, but is unperturbed, as his bow is great. The group, sans Conrad and Fiona, prepares to combat this new threat. Ketta, from the tent, points at the store and orders Grunt to “sick ’em!” The giant orc charges toward the store and doesn’t bother trying to fit in such a small opening. Instead, he crashes through, causing a Large hole, essentially creating more door.

While Katsuo, Grunt, and eventually Fiona deal with the four ants inside of the general store, Ketta makes her way to a crashing noise in Bellinda’s Bakery. She nimbly scales the wall and cuts a hole in the window to perch in. The ants inside have pushed all of the shelves against the wall nearest the general store. Ketta starts to pick them off with her heavy repeating crossbow, but begins to get worried at her separation from the party. She calls for Grunt as she shoots.

Grunt is raging his way through ants while Katsuo shoots them, though the shockwaves from his hammer make it hard to shoot the ants tossed into the air. Finally, after the ants are killed, Grunt heads toward his employer. He rushes toward the bakery… and ricochets off the wall of the general goods store. This refusal of the wall to give way to his will puts him into a rage, and with a roar he crashes through the general goods store into the bakery, and shoves the shelves over the other way. The ant that was crawling up the wall toward the halfling falls, and Ketta shoots it dead before complimenting Grunt on his timing. Grunt takes a moment to write “improved knock” into his barbarian “spellbook”.

In the general goods store, now with even more door, Katsuo is presumably inspired by the giant orc and crashes through the back wall. The alleyway seems to be unused, except by vermin, for quite some time. However, upon inspecting the store itself, the trio finds a hatch behind the counter. They open it up and head down a creaky wooden stairway into the darkness.

Meanwhile, Ketta searches for a cache of loot. However, there is no register, safe, chest, lockbox, or secret cupboard to be found. Disturbed by the absence of any evidence that this was ever a real store, Ketta tells Grunt to search for secret doors. Grunt proceeds to punch through the floor in front of him, and drop into the dark basement below.

TL;DR. Shenanigans.

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Session 1B: Craft Masonry
Played June 22, 2013

We last left our would-be heroes heading down into the dark basement below several stores in one of the poorer market districts.

Katsuo, followed by Dr. Strangelove and blessed one Fiona, ventured down the hidden staircase from the general goods store. They immediately encountered several giant ant drones. Not half a minute after they began fighting did they hear a great crash from down the hall.

Grunt had punched through the floor of Bellinda’s Bakery and found himself fifteen feet down in a room filled to the brim with giant spiders. The arachnids began hissing threateningly, prompting Grunt to lift himself out of the hole he created, before they could do any damage. He then ran out of the bakery completely… through the wall, so that anyone on the street could see straight through and into the general goods store.

Conrad was on his way back from depositing the horses with his parents at the smithy, just in time to see the barbarian flee the scene. Unperturbed, the mercenary hopped into the hole and began dispatching spiders, even though he was surrounded several times over.

Grunt unwinds a section of the chain wrapped around his torso, and rushes back into the bakery to drop one end down the hole. He heads back out through his latest door and stands behind the building in the alleyway. Ketta runs out and climbs atop his shoulders.

The trio finishes their fight against the giant ants, and heads down the hallway to open the door nearest the earlier crash. They find a room with hastily emptied cupboards along one wall. There is a table spread with an aged, red cloth bearing the symbol of a fist, laid with a long-evaporated pitcher of water with a washing basin and glasses.

Conrad slashes a few more spiders, then wraps the end of the chain around his shield. Grunt pulls him straight out of the hole, through the building, and around the back side. Then the giant orc lifts the halfling to the roof of the bakery. Ketta analyses what remains of the structure, and pulls Grunt’s chain to the appropriate supporting beams. Grunt gives a great heave, and topples the entire bakery down into rubble, sending it into the basement and squishing the spiders below.

The shockwave throws open the door from the spidery room to the adjoining room where Dr. Strangelove, Fiona and Katsuo stand, sending rubble toppling into the place. The group pokes among the rubble, and Katsuo notices a shining gleam of metal below. He retrieves it, finding a beautiful ring inlaid with magic runes on the inside1, and a small symbol of a fist on the outer side.

The group examines the ring, wearing gloves. Ketta notes its exquisite quality and material2, something possibly only found by expert dwarven smiths or a divine hand. Fiona determines the symbol does not belong to any godde she knows, but has the feeling she has seen it in town before. Dr. Strangelove prepares a potion and finds the ring to be magical, but none of them can quite figure out in what way. Ketta puts the ring into a box.

Some guards stroll by and ask why the hell there are giant holes in the buildings. Ketta informs them that the group has saved the town from the threat of giant insects and shoddy architecture. She points out the staircase, and the guards head down to belay the threat to the city.

Ketta orders Grunt to pack up while they examine the ring. He stores the tent, packs the wagon, and picks Katsuo up to put him on his horse. Ketta is magically cleaning and shampooing her pet giant orc, when everyone realizes that the guards never returned from their trip into the basement. Only a round in, the trio heads away from the tavern, and everyone heads down together this time.

The group finds the guards had split into two rooms at the end of the hallway. They split up and rescue the guards from the last three ants. To one side, Katsuo, Conrad and Fiona check out two rooms full of bloodied bunk beds with trails of running footprints spread blatantly about. To the other side, Ketta, Grunt and Dr. Strangelove find themselves in a storage room. They kill the ants with the guards, but not before shooting holes into some crates and iron powder spilling out.

The group then gathers in the supply room for their final confrontation. Dr. Strangelove opens the door into the next supply room to reveal five drone ants and a large queen. Katsuo steps in and begins shooting. The party bottlenecks itself in the doorway, other than Conrad who goes charging in toward the queen. Between some bombes and various attacks, the ants are dispatched. Ketta belches a line of acid, which splatters off of the back of Dr. Strangelove’s head and arcs over to hit the queen, toppling her.

Grunt is frustrated, and begins smashing crates to get toward the crowded doorway. Ketta, full of confidence, dances past everyone to slash at the final ant with her scarves. It doesn’t kill it, so she feels rather foolish. He finally punches a hole through the wall, just in time for all the ants to be killed.

The party searches the room and finds various treasures. They gained an intricately carved ivory tusk depicting a scene of fishermen, a pair of friendship rings popular with the upper classes, and a ruby necklace, along with quite a bit of coin. The group heals themselves and prepares to assault the last of the dungeon.

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Session 2A: The Inquisition
Played June 28, 2013
  • Note, Quinn was absent this weekend, so Katsuo Running-Cloud was manhandled around. *

The rag-tag group of adventurers consisting of Conrad, Fiona, Grunt, Ketta, and the extra-silent Katsuo had just finished clearing out the giant ant infestation. Conrad, Grunt and Ketta head into the nearest door that has yet to be opened. Inside they fine four large, mahogany pews facing a raised area with a podium on it.

As they file into the room, Grunt is disappointed by the lack of leg space and shoves a pew over to make room. The party notices a giant, slimy green caterpillar with tentacles clinging to the opposite wall. As Ketta senses the motives of the crawler, Grunt decides to cast Detect Alignment. He picks up the end of a 40’ long pew and pokes at the crawler with it, barely missing. Ketta confuses it instead. Conrad moves in and the crawler tries to attack him, but merely pops its suckers on his shield. Dr. Strangelove tosses an effective bomb at it, then another! Ketta jumps onto the pew and shoots a cone of shards with her crossbow. Unfortunately, Conrad is also caught in the blast, but swings at the crawler anyway.

The crawler lunges towards Ketta, but Conrad and Grunt slice it in half before it can attack her. Sticky, green goop rains down on the three of them. Ketta uses prestidigitation to clean their faces and her person. Dr. Strangelove investigates the podium and finds a tome with its pages eaten away. Ketta mends the book. The pages are restored, but without the text that was eaten away. It is titled “The Annals of Karathalax”, written in blood on thin strips of flesh, and bound in human leather. Ketta uses Mage Hand to read the book in the air. It says a lot of things about sacrifice and dark rituals. Dr. Strangelove suggests resurrecting the book, and Ketta puts it into a box. While the others examine the creepy book written in blood, Grunt stabs his arm and pens “Detect Alignment” into his spellbook.

Meanwhile, a gnomish tailor, Dorothy, is walking down the street and notices guards bringing giant ant eggs out of the basement. She ventures down inside, and decides to pick up an antennae from a dead ant to poke around a doorway, just in case something dangerous resides inside. Dr. Strangelove tosses an acid flask at the ant! It readily dissolves, and does minor damage to Dorothy’s hand. She peeks in and says, “Hi!” to which Ketta orders Grunt to “KILL!” in Orcish. Dorothy leaves, and Grunt goes charging through the wall after her. She is alarmed, and casts daze on him. Dr. Strangelove recognizes the gnome, and runs after the brute, yelling, “What are you doing? I bought my coat from her!” He tries to diplomatically convince everyone to leave her alone, “Don’t kill my tailor, or I’ll shank you!”

Fiona leaves the supply room and comes down the hall to investigate the commotion. She casts Sanctuary on Dorothy, and tries to get everyone to calm down. Grunt mellows out, but Ketta replies from Grunt’s back, “That gnome is an evil cultist!” She wants to reverse pickpocket a black cultist robe onto Dorothy’s person, but can’t overcome her Sanctuary. Dorothy scolds Ketta to stop, and Grunt sets her down, telling her “No run.”

The guards walk up, escorting Inquisitor Underhill who was hired to investigate the presence of the giant ants. “Citizens!” they address, “What seems to be the problem?” Ketta explains that they found evidence of cult activity, and that they were surprised by the gnome while investigating, who “ambushed [them] with giant ant parts.” She also points out that if the gnome is apparently a tailor, it could be she who made the robes. Dorothy gives her own speech in defense of herself, being a merchant uninvolved in cult activity. The guards are easily swayed and confused, so they arrest everyone to bring them to the station where it can be sorted out.

Grunt counts to six, and notices that Strangelove snuck off. The alchemist squeezes out through the rubble and prepares to follow the party. Ketta motions to Grunt not to say anything. One guard questions the gesture, and Ketta flashes some illusory cleavage, complaining of the heat. The investigator is not fooled, but stays quiet. Underhill casts Detect Alignment as they walk, noticing that Grunt and Ketta are both chaotic.

They reach the station, and everyone has their weapons taken as they wait in the holding cell for their turn being interrogated. Outside, Dr. Strangelove prepares to paralyze with his weapon and acidify the bars on the window to the holding cell.

Investigator Underhill leads the questioning, first asking Fiona for her perspective. He explains that they had arrived to look into the ant infestation, but “When we got there, we find a bunch of dead ants and you guys accusing each other.” Fiona explains that she did not know any of these people before, and merely helped save Alderman Francis Farkas from the ants. She ventured down the staircase with the tengu and Dr. Strangelove, when they heard a crash. They saw the bakery had collapsed. She was going to leave, when they realized that the guards had never left the basement. They helped the guards finish off the ants, and found some cultist robes. She recommended that the ants be collected, because they might be able to help farmers plow their fields. After healing the guards, she witnessed the big guy grabbing an unknown gnome, and cast Sanctuary until things could be sorted out. She mentioned that the tengu and alchemist were unaccounted for, and that the giant orc and halfling had a business relationship.

Conrad is next to speak to the inquisitor. He explains that they went down after the big guy broke the bakery, they killed the ant queen. Ran into a “big funky thing” that showered them in goo. Underhill asks if there were any weapons or strange things in storage, but Conrad only knew of the strange powder in the supply room. Someone waved an antenna in the doorway, which caused a commotion with the alchemist and big guy trying to attack it. “So you never paid attention to the tengu and its writing,” asks Inquisitor Underhill.

“No, I was busy paying attention to the ants and the fighting,” replies the mercenary. He explains that the big guy was going after the gnome, and everyone got all upset. Then the guards arrived. Finally, Conrad tires of the questions, exclaiming, “I don’t care! I’m not hired to protect anyone!”

Fiona and Conrad are released from custody. Fiona hangs around to make sure everyone is all right, while Conrad leaves to have dinner with Loretta, the guard woman he is courting. Dr. Strangelove waves his smokesticks at them on their way out. He accidentally sets one off, but stuffs it in his cloak. This totally doesn’t attract any attention or odd looks at all.

Inquisitor Underhill starts to ask Ketta about her involvement in the holding cell. “I wasn’t going to murder anyone,” she objects, “I was merely making a proactive step to protect my party. Gnomes underground are dangerous.” She demands to be released if no charges are being pressed. Inquisitor Underhill allows her to leave, but retains Grunt for further questioning. Grunt lifts the roof a bit to watch Ketta leave, sadly.

Next in line is Dorothy. Underhill begins by asking why she was in the basement to begin with. Dorothy explains that she was trying to find out what happened to the shops, as she is a merchant. She didn’t think to ask the town hall because her “sister keeps telling [her] to be more adventurous.” Her sister is named Alice, and they are both from Steltan, far to the North. She did not see anything else that was strange, and does not wish to press charges. Overall, she is very polite and soft-spoken. She is free to go.

Then, Inquisitor Underhill questions the big guy.

“What do you do, before this whole thing went down?”

“ME WATCH HORSES.”

“For who?”

FOR BIRD.”

“Not the halfling?”

“NO. BIRD FEED.”

“So you watch horses.”

WATCH HORSE.”

“Whose horse?”

BIRD.”

“Birdhorse— I mean, bird’s horse. So you were watching the bird’s horse when what happened?”

ANT. TWO ANT. SQUISH.”

“Where did the ants come from?”

GROUND.”

“I heard that you had checked out a building for the ants.”

YES.”

“Which building?”

WITH DOOR.”

“But a lot of buildings have doors. Which building was it?”

BIG DOOR.”

“Were there any signs that you remember?”

“NO.”

“I heard the bird liked to write things.”

“ME NO READ BIRD WORD.”

“Can you read signs otherwise?”

HARD.”

“So you get paid with food then, by the bird?”

YES.”

“And no one else pays you?”

“ME GET FOOD.”

“So you don’t get food from anyone else?”

“ME GETWORDS!” Grunt shows Underhill the barbarian spellbook.

Underhill puzzles through it, then asks, “Who writes all this for you?”

“ME!” Grunt answers, and brings out his pen, complete with dried blood.

“So you were writing all this? Who gave you this?”

“ME BUY.”

“How did you buy?”

“ME GOLD. WELL, ME NO GOLD, BUT BOOK!”

“Where did you get the gold?”

THERE!” Grunt punches through the wall to the left to point.

“So after you found ants from underground, you went underground?”

“NO. ME GO HOUSE.”

“The house with the door?”

YES.”

“So you used ‘Knock’ on the door.”

“ME CAST KNOCK.”

“And you’ve self-taught all of your spells?”

“ME MAKE SPELLS.”

“Very creative.”

YES.”

“So you go down. What did you find at the bottom?”

SPIDERS. BIG MANY SPIDERS.”

“Spiders?” he asks, puzzled, because no one else mentioned spiders.

YES. ME SQUISH.”

“All of them? How many?”

Grunt begins to count, “1… 3… 3… that one… 12—”

“Lots and lots then. Let’s say there were lots and lots. Did anyone else see spiders?”

YES.”

“Who?”

METAL GUY. SMALL GIRL.”

“The fighter then?”

“ME FIGHT!”

“And the halfling?”

HALFSHORT?”

“Halfling. Me, like me, but girl?”

YOU SEE SPIDERS?”

No, the halfling girl that was with you?”

KET-TUH.”

“What’s Ketta’s relationship to you?”

KETTA FEED.”

“I thought the bird fed.”

BIRD FEED.”

“And Ketta feed too.”

YES.”

“Did Ketta give you the food bag?” that he has around his neck, meant for horses.

“NO.”

“Did the tengu? The bird?”

BIRD GIVE FOOD YES.”

“And Ketta puts food in bag?”

“NO.”

“But you say Ketta feeds? What does she feed you?”

NOT ANT.”

“So not ant, but what else?”

MEAT!” Grunt answers, and rummages through his bag. He finds some steak and beer. “FOOD MEAT!”

“Okay, you can put that away now.”

Grunt puts the meat into the bag with the oats, mixes it up, and starts eating globs of it.

“So the tengu feeds you, and Ketta feeds you, and Ketta feeds you better than the bird.”

BIRD. MEAT.”

“So Ketta spotted the spiders, and metal guy spotted the spiders.”

“NO. ME FIND SPIDERS.”

“Yeah, but you said they also spotted them.”

YES. ME SAVE METAL GUY. ME SAVE SPIDERS.”

“After the spiders, what’d you run into?”

WALL.”

“And beyond the wall?”

CITY.”

“No, no, the wall where you went through after the spiders.”

“…CITY.”

“When did you get to the caterpillar thing?”

BEFORE YOU.”

“And after what?”

AFTER DOOR.”

“Where did the spiders fit in?”

ROOM.”

“So you ran into a door, you ran into spiders, or did you run into caterpillar? There was door and there was either spiders or caterpillar. What was it?”

“ME NO… SPIDERS FLOOR…”

“When you made the giant hole to get to the ants, what was that?”

“ME SAVE KETTA!”

“You saved Ketta, what from?”

ANT.”

“What was the ant doing?”

ATTACK KETTA,” he gestures through the interrogation room wall into the holding cell, towards Ketta.

“So you were watching horse. Two ants came out. Go through wall, kill ants, go through door, save Ketta from ant?”

YES. BRAVE.”

“No one’s doubting that. So after save Ketta from ant, did you go make another door?”

“NO. ME FIND SECRET DOOR.”

“And you break out of that?”

SPIDERS.”

“Okay, spiders in that door. After spiders what do you do?”

RUN.”

“Why would you run from the spiders?”

“……….TAKE MANY ANIMAL COUNT THAT BIG.”

“So you killed all the spiders, then what?”

CLEAN UP. GIVE HORSE BIRD BACK.”

“So bird back on horse, and then?”

WASH.”

“Wash from what?”

ANT GUTS.”

“Ant got on your head?”

ANT ON ROOF.”

“So after bath, what then?”

SOLDIERS WE GO FIND.”

“Soldiers for guards, for town or somewhere else?”

BAD SOLDIERS.”

“So not soldiers from the town then.”

BAD TOWN SOLDIERS. NO FIGHT GOOD.”

“So bad town soldiers.”

YES.”

“Why’d you find them?”

THEY GO DOWN. ME HELP. ME SAVE!”

“Down where?”

HOLE.”

“How did this hole get there?”

BUILT,” he shrugs.

“Built by?”

Grunt shrugs again. Then he notices the wall is messed up, and tries to pick up little pieces to put it back together.

“You went down hole.”

YES.”

“What did you find?”

GUARDS.”

“What were they doing?”

DIE.”

“To what?”

ANTS.”

“Was anybody with you?”

ALL. METAL SHORT-SHORT BIRD uh… HEAL and STRANGE-LOVE.”

“Short, short, like knee short?”

Grunt demonstrates short halfling, and less-short Fiona.

“So you kill ants right?”

SQUISH!” He motions with his hammer, then is sad at the lack of hammer.

“What after the ants?”

SMALL DOOR.”

“You fixed it?”

“NO.”

“You don’t fix small door?”

KETTA NO LET. SMALL DOOR. NO GET KILL.”

“What was past the small door?”

BIG BUG.” He stands up and motions a big bug, as tall as he is. “ME CALL. NO LISTEN.”

“So queen ant die.”

YES. BURN.”

“See anything when you were there?”

“ME LOOK THROUGH WALL. SEE EGG. FIND SHINY.”

“What shiny?”

METAL. METAL SHINY.”

“Well yes, metal is shiny. Do you know what shape it was?”

SMALL. SMALL ROUND SHINY.”

“And where did this stuff go?”

Grunt shrugs. “ME NO ALLOWED SHINY.”

“Who said you’re not allowed shiny?”

“NO ONE.”

“So why didn’t you get the shiny?”

“NO ME LEARN TRACE,” he answers, showing off the brooms strapped to his feet, and sweeps some rubble with them.

“Who taught you this?”

KETTA. KETTA TIE BROOM.”

“Who’s Ketta again?”

SHORT.”

“Short what?”

FEED.”

“Short like me?”

SHORT SHORT. SHORT.” He leans in and measures Underhill with his hands, then nods.

“Like me short?”

YES.”

“So why did you need to have the brooms?”

Grunt shrugs, “NEW SPELL.”

“That Ketta taught you. Okay. What’s afterward?”

SPELLSHINYSMALL DOORDOOR.”

“Door happened?”

SMALL DOOR.”

“Did you make it through the door?”

YES.”

“And what was beyond this door?”

BUG.”

“The crawly thing?”

BUG,” nod nod.

“Wormy thing?”

BUG.”

“The wormy one, not ant?”

NOT ANT. LONG GREEN. NEW SPELL,” he waves his book and shows off ‘Detect alignment: poke with stick.’

“Okay, and when you used detect alignment on it, what did it do?”

NOTHING.”

“What alignment was it?”

SPELL NO WORK. NEUTRAL.”

“So what’d you do after this?”

SQUISH.”

“Is that what made metal guy covered in goo?”

SPLAT.”

“What was in this room?”

GREEN CHAIRS.”

“Anything else?”

“ME.”

“And your party, and what else?”

“ME. GREEN CHAIRS. FRIENDS.”

“No banners, signs or anything like that? Did you see any symbols in this room?”

“NO.”

“Any pictures?”

“NO. NO SEE. ME SAW PICTURE, NO ROOM,” he lifts his fist.

“Okay… third time that’s come up now. Then what happened?”

ANT.”

“Another ant?”

YES.”

“What happened to ant?”

SPLOSION. ATTACK.”

“Splosion from what? Strangelove?”

GREEN BOTTLES.”

“All right, then explosion from him. You charge through wall.”

“ME KNOCK.”

“What was there?”

FORGET.”

“Wait, what was there?”

FORGET.”

“Like you forgot it? Can’t remember?”

YES,” he says, shaking his head ‘no’.

“So you can’t remember what was there?”

FORGOT THERE.” He eats a mushy handful of oats, then uses some as mortor for the wall.

“So you went through the wall after this forget?”

“NO ME FORGET AFTER WALL.”

“What made you want to go through wall in the first place?”

ANT KILL.”

“Ant kill what?”

“ME KILL.”

“So you forget what happened. Then what?”

STOP.”

“Stop?”

STOP MOVE.”

“What kept you from moving?”

“ME STOP MOVE.”

“So you stopped moving.”

“NO. ME STOP MOOOOOVE.”

“What did you stop from movin?”

SMALL.”

“So like Ketta?”

YES.”

“Was it Ketta?”

“ME NO THINK.”

“Then they talk?”

“ME CALM.”

“And people talk?”

YES. TALK.”

“Not even gonna ask…” he muses that he probably should have taken Strangelove into custody, “Then what did you run into?”

“ME NO RUN.”

“Then what happened?”

YOU. THEN HERE. QUESTION. ME SAY BIRD. FEED.”

“I gotcha. You’ve been very helpful so far, in your own way. Thank you for your time. You can go now.”

Grunt stands, and thinks about where he is supposed to go. “WHERE KETTA.”

“I don’t know where Ketta is… but let’s get you outside of the jail first.”

Underhill shows Grunt out, who has decided that if Underhill can’t help him find Ketta, he will start punching into buildings until he does find her. Underhill leads Grunt to the site of the cult.

Meanwhile, Conrad has finished up his dinner with Loretta. Dorothy is going to the city hall to learn about markets. Dr. Strangelove, followed by Fiona, is going to the main temple of Aisara in the city. Ketta is preparing to look for Grunt.

TL;DR:

  • They fought a carrion crawler in the last room of the basement.
  • Dorothy (Amber) was attacked because Ketta hates gnomes. Everyone was brought to guard station to be questioned by Inquisitor Underhill (Joe). No charges. Grunt was particularly annoying to question.
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Session 2B: Investigation and Interrogation
Played June 28, 2013
  • Note: Katsuo’s player is still not around. *

7 Lekkan, Autumn 627AU

Holt

After being released from custody, Ketta decides she needs to find Grunt. She follows Standard Operating Procedure to find the highest building and climb it until she can see the giant orc. The tallest building nearby is a Temple of Aisara, where Fiona has brought Strangelove.

Ketta uses her whip to help her climb. She falls, but tries again, and makes it to the top. Doctor Strangelove below is trying to talk to some orphaned street urchins who tend to gather near the temple in order to receive handouts of food and clothing. He wants them to search for the fist symbol throughout town, and report back to him the next day for a reward. He is trying to bribe them with gold pieces to run this errand, but they are only convinced to take his money and get him to keep bribing them.

Ketta decides to help by calling, “HEY all you urchins! You should do what he says. And by do what he says, I mean take a gold piece from him, and then do what you do very well, for what you do well.”

Twenty-three urchins then mob around him, so he drops a smoke bomb. Ketta sees him, and doesn’t realize it isn’t a good idea to tell the urchins where he is going. She yells, “GET HIM!”

Strangelove screams, “Call off your minions. I have arms!” As he tries to get away and scold the halfling, “I’ll throw a knife at you, STOP HELPING!” Then Strangelove has a new idea, and tells the urchins, “Calm down and I’ll give you a vial of acid!”

The orphans eagerly surround him, each crying, “I want it! I want it!”

Ketta helps more from the top of the temple, “Now you, this time, listen to him and do what he says, because that is what you should be doing when you do the stuff you do so well.”

Strangelove pulls out a platinum piece, which he will reward to whomever finds him the symbol of a fist. For further motivation, he states, “I’ll inject you with an evil, slow-acting venom if you fail!” The urchins take him up on this offer, as a platinum piece is more money than they could ever hope to have in their lifetime.

Ketta peers out over the city, and spies Grunt as he is walking with Inquisitor Underhill. She jumps straight into the air, and glides off with her hidden, tiny kobold wings. Her patchwork cape flutters in the sunset, as she aims for the next roof over. She lands, and leaps across three buildings in an awesome display of acrobatics. Then she catches her leg in the last straw roof, and rolls off the side. Fortunately, Grunt hears her and lands in his huge, outstretched hand. “TEAM,” he grunts.

Ketta salves her pride, proclaiming, “I meant to do that!” Grunt believes her, but Underhill is not impressed. Ketta informs Grunt that it’s time to pack up. Underhill asks why Ketta is leaving town, when the cult still needs investigating. She is a traveling merchant, and “The cult isn’t making me any money.” Underhill threatens to ban them from Holt for inhibiting an investigation. Ketta is cowed into not leaving immediately, but still plans to leave when the opportunity rises. Underhill informs Ketta to meet him at the hole in the ground later that evening.1

Conrad is helping at his family’s smithy for the remainder of the day. Underhill heads to the local temple to ask for Fiona, which allows Ketta the opportunity to leave. Grunt and Ketta pack their things. This includes the giant orc grappling Katsuo, tying him up (with a gag, for good measure), and stuffing him into a Large chest. They head East. Being directionless, they only know that they are going along the coast for a ways.

Dorothy inquires briefly at the local temple for Fiona, and learns about the halfling jumping off the building, and a swarm of urchins. Dorothy and Dr. Strangelove head to the town hall while Fiona goes to the main Temple of Aisara to look at their records. They agree to meet later to share their findings.

Fiona convinces the temple of her need to view their records for any other cult activity. As she gets started, Underhill arrives and sends a message requesting to speak with her. He asks if she knows how to contact the others, but she had only just met them and has no idea how.

Underhill heads to the Chelmsford smithy, and hires Conrad as a bodyguard to meet him later when they investigate. Then he goes to the town hall to look for Dorothy, as she had mentioned during the interrogation heading there to learn about owning a store. He puts out a warning to “Make sure a tengu with a horse, and a halfling with merchant’s cart doesn’t leave. Possibly with a half giant as well. They’re wanted on suspicion of smuggling.” Unfortunately for him, they have already left town by the time this message spreads through the guard force. He receives his “Holt Consultant” badge to encourage people to cooperate. He also requests the address to the mages’ guild, and finds it in an old registry for the noble House Hibiscion. He also asks, and learns that there have been some strange murders within the last couple of years in the city. Some terribly mutilated bodies have been dumped in the river, near one of the warehouse districts.

Dorothy and Strangelove, though, have changed their plans to finding a mages’ guild. Fumble Diplomacy: “What mages’ guild? Who are you, you crazy man? Get out of my bedroom!” Dorothy tries another tactic by asking random guards and passerby politely, and giving them sugar cookies even if they don’t know about it. She makes a lovely impression with her smile and rabbit fur coat, and eventually they meet a tourist who has The Traveler’s Guide to Ispentine. He informs them that the noble House Hibiscion is rumored to hold meetings for wizards. Then they find an inn.

Fiona finishes her research at the main Temple of Aisara. She learns that the symbol of the fist has been seen her and in other cities before, though the last occasion was in the early 500s. They wear a red band on one arm, usually the left, and referred to themselves as “The Handless”. They were involved in a lot of vague but ominous dealings, disappearances and murders. She proceeds to help with chores and sleep at the Temple.

On the Road

While traveling, Ketta tells Grunt a story she knows about the real history of King Linnaeus going through Blood Pass. Grunt mostly gets out of this that Linnaeus was the best barbarian of all time because he raged for three days straight. Katsuo, forgotten inside the chest, understands much more from this story.

Ketta goes without her halfling disguise as they travel, and spends her time examining the fancy ring they looted from the cultist rubble. She had appraised it to be worth at least 125,000 gold coins. She plans to bring it back to her clan to be added to the Great Hoard. This is a communal collection of treasure by the kobolds that is meant to entice the great dragon goddess D’hathmilleuthil to acknowledge their existence, and make kobolds as great as other dragonkind. However, Ly’miirik is finally unable to resist the temptation to wear the ring. She puts it on and admires it as they travel. Unbeknownst to the trio, they have made their way in a large circle for several hours.

Ly’miirik tries to use the ring as a magic device, which causes a wave of fear to spread around them. Grunt runs away, along with birds, squirrels, and other wildlife in the area. The horses also bolt, trying to get away from Ketta, but failing because she is on the wagon. Ly’miirik manages to stay on the wagon as it crashes through trees. Katsuo is unaffected by the supernatural fear, but is quite uncomfortable in the chest as it bounces around the wagon. Finally, the exhausted horses slow. By pure chance 1d8, Grunt and the wagon fled in the same direction, and they are able to meet up to make camp.

Ly’miirik tries to take off the ring, but cannot bring herself to do so. She spends several minutes mending the wagon. She decides that the ring doesn’t need to go to the hoard immediately. She grabs the friendship ring they found after killing the ant queen, and disguises it to look like the fancy one. She puts the disguised ring in the box that the others had witnessed her store the real magic ring.

Grunt keeps Katsuo bound and gagged in the chest. He hangs it in a tree with his chains, so he will be safe from bears.

Holt

Underhill meets up with Conrad, but calls off the investigation because no one else is there to help. While they stand near the buildings, they notice three figures sneaking into the alleyway between the shops. Underhill readies his manacles, “Let’s go.” The pair tries to sneak up on the figures, but Conrad is not a very stealthy man.

“What are you doing here?” asks a man from the alleyway to the big man in full plate.

“Stopping suspicious activity. What are you doing here?” answers Conrad.

The three take off running. Inquisitor Underhill blows his whistle and his riding dog comes running. Conrad manages to smack one with his sword. The man groans for mercy, then summons a giant ant. This gives Conrad the opportunity to knock him unconscious. The Inquisitor sees the ant, so he drops his manacles and grabs his dagger instead.2 They easily dispatch the ant, and arrest the unconscious man. The other two get away. Conrad searches the man and finds a sickle, traveling clothes, a pouch of coins, and a red strip of cloth.

They wake him up and march him to the nearest guard station. Underhill brings him to the holding cell, and assigns the guards to keeping him awake the whole night. He also sends a message to Fiona at the temple to find him at 10a.m. at the station. Then he heads to an inn for the night. Conrad returns home.

8 Lekkan, Autumn 627AU

On the Road

Ly’miirik wakes up first in the morning to find a murder has taken place. A great deal of crows have perched atop the chest. She pokes the chest. The crows stare at her. This is apparently rather unnerving, so she sits down with her repeating crossbow to watch the crows until everyone wakes.

Grunt wakes up and brings Katsuo down from the tree. They try to convince him to show them the way back to Holt. Their diplomatic assertions fall on deaf ears, but he decides to help them anyway, for his own reasons. They keep all but one arm bound, and have him point the way.

As they travel, they hear some heavy walking and other disturbing noises from the side of the road. Abruptly, fear streaks through the area. Grunt manages to keep a hold of himself and stay with the wagon as the horses crash forward. The giant orc and kobold try to calm the horses, to no avail. Katsuo reaches with his one arm and calms the horses with a touch, then points the group on their way.

As they near Holt, Ly’miirik disguises herself as a different-looking halfling, and Grunt as a minotaur using some of the furs and other animal products in her wares. They put Katsuo back into the chest. The guard asks if she has any items to declare, so she begins to pull out every single container on the wagon for inspection. They wave her on as a merchant.

- – - -

Holt

Dorothy rises and heads to the Temple to meet Fiona. Meanwhile, Strangelove meets with the urchins. Four of them think they’ve found something, and he arranges to meet them at noon. The three of them meet back at the inn to share the information they’ve accumulated so far. Fiona asks them to come with her to meet the Inquisitor at the station.

Underhill, after a good night’s sleep, heads to interrogate the suspicious character. The man is quite tired and understandably surly. The man identifies himself as Samuel, and his associates as his bodyguard Hannok and apprentice Jeoffery. He owns the apothecary above the cultist hideout. He hints at knowing about torture and poisons. He first claimed to have been robbed on the road back to Holt, where he lost his horses and much of his supplies. He was returning to town late, and wanted to check on his shop.

After several hours of repetitive questioning, Underhill catches the man in his lies and fishes out the full truth. He was making a delivery of some less-than-legal goods to Harrick Leonson in Collearn to the North.

Dorothy, Strangelove and Fiona arrive at the station to find Conrad already there waiting for Underhill. The Inquisitor is informed of their arrival, and gives the prisoner permission to rest. Underhill ribs Fiona about not showing up to investigate the cult site. Conrad begins to intimidate Underhill for upsetting the shy cleric. Dr. Strangelove slips out a bomb, and whoa guys, calm down. He was just mentioning that it would have been nice to have her there.

They share the information they had gathered, which causes the red cloth found in the man’s possession to be more important.

Underhill has Strangelove review the list of poisons Samuel claimed to know, to see if he is a legitimate herbalist. The doctor declares him to be a “worthless hack” who doesn’t know anything stronger. He recommends using belladona on the man, and they make a plan to finish the interrogation. Dr. Strangelove still needs to meet with the urchins, and everyone needs to do some investigating, so they decide to meet at 2p.m. Underhill spends a silver to send a messenger to Collearn, to check if Samuel’s story adds up.

Back in the market square in the place they were set up before, Ketta has disguised herself as her normal halfling merchant guise. She does a spectacular job 68 of disguising Grunt as a very Large dwarf with a gigantic beard. She spends her time crafting a helmet with a handle for Grunt to drink from. She manages to work in a way that creates interesting percussion, while Grunt bangs out a basic rhythm along with her. After working up a bit of a crowd, Ketta begins to tell a story about the history of smithing and legendary crafters. Working this way, she picks up some coin and builds her reputation.

Conrad and Underhill head to the warehouse district to check it out for illicit cult activity. This particular area had taken a recent economic downturn. People are selling some property for cheaper, general crime is climbing steadily, and poorer merchants are taking the chance to buy their way into the area. A couple people might’ve been seen recently with red bands in the last couple months, but they don’t get anything more specific than that about cult activity. They do, however, find several places that would be perfect for dumping a body.

Fiona and Dorothy convince the Town Hall to look up who owns the stores above the cult basement.

Store Owner
Bakery Bellinda Franze
General Goods Gisela Tremort
Apothecary Samuel Eckhard
Carpentry Gunter Huntsmann
Tailor Heidy Cornage
Wands Hildebert Menalderin
Jewelry Jessick Joachim
Vacant Francis Frakas

They copy down these names, and share them with Strangelove and Underhill later.

Strangelove meets up with the urchins. Four of them claim to have found a fist sigil, and he has them lead him on. The first brings him to near the shopping district where the cult basement was. They had found a house that had been burnt down, and is barely there now. Strangelove inspects the symbol carved into one corner, and decides it looks old and legitimate. The urchin is given a platinum.

The second child leads Strangelove to a seedy tavern frequented by sailors. The symbol carved into the wall of the tavern from the alleyway looks legitimate, and the child is paid. Strangelove is brought to the third symbol in another shady district on a different side of town. It was obviously carved the day prior, so he sends the urchin away with no reward. The last symbol brings them to the same warehouse district where Underhill3 and Conrad are searching. A fist was carved into a post on an old pier. It was once painted in with red, which has mostly flaked off since then. This urchin is paid.

At 2p.m. they meet back at the guard station as planned, and share their information. Strangelove adds a poison to the prisoner’s meal, and Underhill brings it in. The man is quite hungry, and devours his bread. Underhill hints at poisoning the food. Then he presents the red cloth he found on Samuel. He hints at knowing about the cult. He invites Strangelove inside, who presents a bottle of Insanity Mist to Samuel.

The prisoner freaks out when he recognizes the poison, and begs for the antidote. Underhill holds out resolutely for answers. Samuel admits to operating an illegal smuggling ring. He names his supplier as Leonardt Marcell, and his main distributor as Hubert Laurenz, who can often be found on a particular street of a poor area. After confessing, he begs again for an antidote. “If I had really poisoned you with this, you would already be insane right now,” Strangelove informs him, happy to hold superior knowledge. Underhill has the man arrested for smuggling illegal substances, and prepares a list of locations and names for other lesser investigators to gather evidence. He leaves standing orders to be alerted of all new information.

Back at the foreign marketplace, Ketta has finished up her crafting for the day and decides to investigate the wand shop on the other side of the block of stores. From a tiny vent from the alleyway, she can see various shelves laden with goods inside the store. She climbs up to the roof and finds a weak point to shimmy down on her whip. She casts Detect Magic, and finds that, while none of the wands are magical, there is an abjuration behind the counter. She realizes it is probably an alarm set on the secret trap door that would lead down over the stage. She plans to stake it out for a few hours from the roof, so that she can still see Grunt, in the pavilion tent, and not feel so alone.

The rest of the group returns to the foreign market to investigate things. Ketta catches Conrad’s attention from the roof, to alert them to her presence. Strangelove heads to the apothecary and dissolves the lock. A passing woman notices him do this, but Ketta blinds her with a shiny reflection to cover it. She drops her buckets of offal, when Grunt, still looking like a 14-foot-tall dwarf, barrels through the crowd to catch a bucket. The other spills all over the dirt path.

Strangelove advises her to, “Throw some salt on it. Cook at a high temperature. No diseases,” and walks into the apothecary. Grunt puts a silver piece into her bucket, and helps her across the street. She is quite confused. He keeps walking, bumping into people, and knocks some over that are being assisted by Fiona and Dorothy after he had crashed through them to begin with. Ketta tries to leap over the gap to them, but fails. She gets her wings together in time and alights in the one spot free of rat feces, where Samuel had fallen unconscious the night prior.

Inside the apothecary, Strangelove finds a lot of empty shelves and barrels. He sits in a chair behind the counter, near the cauldron, and acts like he owns the place. Ketta joins him in the apothecary, so he pushes her into the chair and shares all of the information that they had collected. In return, she tells him the real story of Blood Pass. They notice Underhill sneaking up to eavesdrop, and she ends up writing out most of the story. He does, however, hear the names Karathalax, Kareth Laxinan, and King Linnaeus. Strangelove eats the paper.

Fiona offers a sympathetic ear to the passerby. She learns that between two months and two years ago, the condition of the neighborhood has escalated. Also, there has even been a building that imploded recently!

Ketta realizes that she stopped watching the alarm spell, “ody should be watching that; be right back!” She finds the alarm is still active, but feels like there are some facts she could piece together. She mage hands the flesh book out of the box and re-reads it. She pulls out the cultist robe and looks at the symbol. She thinks about the ants, the amount of dust everywhere, the terrible blood stains covering the basement with tracks fleeing, and all the other things they had found. As she reads, she feels as if she could perform some of the dark rituals inside. She doesn’t know how to do the dance, but she feels as if she’s seen it before, and could mimic it given the materials. Inquisitor Underhill watches her from the window. Ketta finishes her thinking and returns to her merchant tent.

Strangelove mentions Karathalax to Fiona and asks her if she knows anything about the name4. She does not5.

Meanwhile, Grunt continues removing all of the rubble from the site of his new “pool”. Since he was released from helping Ketta perform, he moved about a third of the huge pieces out from the basement below the collapsed bakery. While working, he finds a variety of interesting materials. There is a large “desk” with “HE RISES” carved into the front. Grunt reads this, and lifts the Large mahogany piece above his head. He gathers up the assorted items he had found, and brings them to the apothecary, looking for Ketta. Strangelove points him back toward the wagon.

Ketta ushers him inside and pulls the tent close around them to evade prying eyes. Grunt dumps his new loot in the middle of the tent, showing off the “HE RISES” carved into the front of the altar. There is a hand with a cast iron spike driven through the stump of its wrist. He also found a pile of assorted chains, hooks, manacles, and other strange things that resemble torture devices. All of this he had covered with a heavy, velvet black cloth with a very detailed fist embroidered on it in red.

The hand quakes and points a finger upward. Ketta proclaims suddenly, “This is the hand of Karathalax the Handless.”

Conrad swats at it, but misses. Fiona determines that it is between a few months and a year old, and magically, rather than chemically, preserved. Ketta uses magic device, which produces a terrible vision unbeknownst to her, Dorothy and Underhill (because he is outside in the street). The inside of the tent erupts into a fiery hellscape. Fiona is surprised and pops with positive energy like a holy porcupine. Ketta tries to joke with Grunt about having waffles, so evil should beware, but Grunt turns to her and states, “I don’t have an appetite right now.”

Ketta casts detect magic and tries to use magic device. Unfortunately, she forgot to take the glove off that she wore to cover up the ring.6 Ketta is worried by everyone freaking out and tries to ask what is going on. Conrad tells her, “Your tent is on fire.”

Ketta throws open the tent flap and calls to Underhill, “Look what we found!” Behind her, he sees the grand illusion of what seems to be an active volcano in a firestorm, and realizes she may have summoned a leyline from the plane of earth and fire. Dorothy scurries out of the tent and asks Ketta who they might be able to ask for help about all this. Ketta thinks they should find a priest. The hellscape expires, and Fiona collapses from the emotional strain.

Grunt runs out of the tent when it is opened, and over to the rubble. Underhill’s riding dog passes and is then grappled by Grunt, so he can comfort himself. Fiona recovers a moment later, and wracks her brain for what happened. She knows quite a lot about the planes, and realizes that if they really had summoned a leyline to Tokkar’s plane that they all would have died. She explains this to Dorothy, Conrad and Dr. Strangelove.

Ketta expands the tent back to its full form while Underhill questions her. He voices his thoughts about possible leyline activity, though doubts that this was entirely what happened. Ketta explains that they found these cult things, along with a book made of flesh. She offers to let him look at it, but cautions him to “Use protection.” Inquisitor Underhill takes the book from her using gloves, and stores it in his own possessions to read later.

1 OoC in the notes: “I’ll need to go home and put on my other coat. My knitted sweater.” GM: “Was it knitted with strange love?”

2 “Aww, you’re not going to arrest the giant ant?” “I don’t have enough manacles.”

3 “We’ve decided his nickname is Mister Meaner.” (Grunt and Ketta)

4 (Runs through the list of knowledge checks) “Basically mugging a bard.”

5 Fiona was never privy to the Annals of Karathalax book, as she was in the other room until Ketta had already put it away.

TL;DR:

  • Everyone goes off in different directions to investigate the cult.
  • Ketta and Grunt leave town with Katsuo as baggage. They have shenanigans with the ring, and end up going back to Holt. Then they craft a drinking helmet while performing.
  • Underhill interrogates a shady character he and Conrad find in an alley. He is a drug smuggler.
  • Grunt is now a giant dwarf.
  • Apothecary is empty. Wand shop is fake, with a secret, alarmed hatch leading to the stage.
  • Underhill spies on Ketta re-reading the flesh book.
  • Grunt cleans out the rubble and finds an unholy altar, which causes a bunch of events that freak several of the party out. They decide to take it to be consecrated.
  • Ketta gives Underhill the flesh book.
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