Schism

2:10 to Gelborg
In which we buy a whole lot of dynamite and manage to not use it

The Orc Bartender, Hitticaga comes to our office to call the favor we owe him. His cousin, a fisherman in the Narrow Sea named Byung-Hun, has run afoul of an imperial ship. He was arrested, charged with an act of war, and will soon be on his way to Gelborg to get golemized. Hitticaga requests that we take the train out to the shore town of Driftwood, where he is being held in the fort before boarding the train to Gelborg.

We board the train, travelling through Gelborg and onward under assumed identities. We make it to the town of Driftwood, which is little more than the train station, a fort, two bars, a fishing port, and a few military vessels. Of the two bars – “The Heaving Leviathan” and “The White Lady”, the former is more locals, the latter being soldiers. We order beers, try to gather some intelligence, Dracaena gets in a poker game and while the rest of us are at a bar a group of adventurers – a tall orc, followed by a dwarf fighter, followed by a human priestess, make quite the entrance. Argal and eigol chat up the dwarf, and find out they are looking for someone by the name of Wright, but is somewhat cagey about it and won’t share any details.

Leaving ourselves of the bar, we spend the rest of the night planning – sending Cora’s familiar Melf to scout the fort, it becomes clear that attacking the fort is not a good plan, so we decided to board the passenger part of the train before it leaves in the late afternoon, and come dusk move up to the prison car, break out the prisoner, and escape preferably unnoticed.
We board the train and spot the prison car going by, crammed full of prisoners, mostly orcs, with a massive chained and blindfolded orc in the center of one of the cars. Eigol yells out “Byung-Hun!”, several orcs start and look down, and the chained prisoner strains towards us.
On the train, we spot the Orc adventurer. Cora sits down and tries to talk to him – learning that his friend is the chained orc, who was some sort of wizard, but had mutated horribly. They were going to try to break him out so they could kill him mercifully, rather than letting him become the property of the Inquisition. Thinking based on Eigol’s experiment we assume that they are the same orc, we try to volunteer to join forces. He only says that the best thing we can do is to stay seated and leave them alone.

Cora returns to her seat, and while Argal is off in the dining car, the orc adventurer comes by, drops an origami note in Cora’s lap, and walks off. Inside the note it says “I’m sorry, you seemed like good people”. Too late, we try to get up as a pair of guards comes in to collect the three of us for questioning. Inbetween cars, we manage to lose the guards. We then gather up Argal, and make with the plan

Climbing on the top of the train car (with Eigol below), we see the orc adventurer run to the back, the sound of gunshots, while a hawk comes wheeling into the front and transforms to the human priestess, and the dwarf warrior running through the grass to jump on the train. We manage to only sort of avoid fighting each other, we detach some cars, set another on fire, get shot at, while the other party unleashes their friend. In the process, Dracaena shouts “Whoever knows Hitticaga, we’re here for you!” and find out that a random prisoner was actually Byung-Hun. We manage to free the rest of the prisoners before the steam knight could get activated. Vowing revenge, the mutant chained orc stays on to fight the steam knight, while us, the prisoners, and the other party jump off the train.

We make our farewells on mostly good terms, and head back to Vectis with Byung-Hun

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Fey gone Wild
Rules? where we're going, we don't need rules!

After analyzing the artifacts and what we had discovered previously, we believed the devils were coming from the Feywild, and furthermore that they would be weaker while on that plane.
First, however, we had to report back to Cirace. Cora sent a message via Sending to meet at a local bar the next day. There we met Helga, a dwarven detective that had been acting as a sometimes liason for us. She told us that Cirace is angry over having to divert the guards resources to finding a certain motley crew, and that he had to distance himself from us for a while and would not be able to assist us.

Getting to the Feywild:

Remembering that Carter and Burroughs had written a book about the Feywild, we met Burroughs who explained that the way they originally got to the feywild isn’t very repeatable, but the way they got back was they found a place where the feywild and the real world were the most similar, and they looked into a mirror.

Argal wasn’t particularly pleased with the idea of going to the Feywild, so he went to go meet with the Shadow. The shadow explained that Argal is actually long past due in travelling to the Feywild, and that he should see the city as it really is. The Shadow explains that to travel there Argal should find the “beating heart of the city”, find a mirror, and look into it, and that he would meet us on the other side.

Rules of the Feywild:

Between Burroughs and the Shadow, we got some advice on the Feywild

  • - Any promise repeated three times is physically binding
  • - Do not accept any gifts or offers – always make sure to work out a fair trade, otherwise you will be in debt to them
  • - Do not fall asleep, as time works differently in the Feywild and we may experience a time differential coming back.
  • - Each of the neighborhoods has a separate ruler, so when mucking with their areas we should either do so discreetly, or come to an agreement with the ruler first.

Passing over:

We went to the vectis central train station, and going down and finding a boiler that was polished to a shine, Argal was able to stare in and shift his perspective, and poof, we were in the Feywild.

The first thing that we noticed was each of our appearances were altered. Arnauld was constantly trailed by a foreboding dark shadow. While Eigol’s armor was more brilliant than ever, his physical appearance was sunken and dead. Cora’s featured shifted to look full Eladrin, and sparked with magic. Dracena stood tall and proud and unbowed as a tree, as opposed to her somewhat wilty appearance in the Material Plane. Argal’s body looked absolutely destroyed by injury – patched up by the raw stuff of the city.

The next thing we noticed was that the city itself also took a literal interpretation of reality
– the trains were machine-centipedes, factories were giant creatures that shat out machinery, etc.

The Shadow appeared, and told Argal to travel, he just had to think about where he was going.
We decided to first head to the place where we knew the Devils had been on our own plane – the abandoned apartments where we fought the Inquisitor.
*
*The Raccoon’s Living Room:

In the room where the ritual had taken place, we found a family of raccoons living there and complaining about a massive tear in the living room. Apparently it just showed up, then there was a screaming face, then a woman came bursting through. We came to an agreement that if they gave us access to their living room, we would try to remove the rift. Using the artifacts we had brought with us, Cora managed to unravel the rift, dissipating it entirely and triangulating towards a point in the city that we discovered to be Emerald park, the same place where we fought the devils in the first place, many months ago.
*
*The Green Lady’s Domain

At the border of the park we met the Shadow again, who explained that this was the domain of the Green Lady, and that she would be a problem for Argal later, but for now we needed to convince her to let us on her land, which is something she would be very reluctant to do. He suggested we offer a sapling to grow her territory. As she didn’t like men, gods, or the City, Dracaena and Cora were appointed to negotiate. It turns out the devils had entirely taken over a part of her territory that she could not enter, and she desperately wanted them to be removed.
We made it through the park and to the section that contained the Exposition. The blood red grass writhed, the trees had blade leaves that held skewered bodies. It was altogether unpleasant. Going to the dome where we had first fought the devils, we encountered an Ettin and a Verbeeg guard arguing. Trying to trick them into fighting each other, Cora went invisible and enchanted the Verbeeg to attack the Ettin, but was spotted by the more intelligent of the Ettin heads. Defeating the Verbeeg, and almost defeating the Ettin, we agreed to let him go and he would not bother us again.

View
Unsuspected
In Which the party makes the smart move

We met back at Greyhawk Investigations, discussed and then set out again.

Argol went to the park and played against the mechanical chess player,
who brought the game to a close in such a way as to indicate that
multiple, powerful pieces could have finished the game, but left it up
to a pawn.

We discussed the meaning of the game but didn’t reach any solid conclusions.

Evaluating known information we established that:
- no murders took place during the full moon
- the church cult was an obvious location
- the other two are places where people come and go frequently and
their absence would not be noted
- the murders only began a couple of weeks earlier
- they only hit 1 neighbourhood
- there are several likely locations for the next one, but the one we
liked the most was a flophouse outside the walls of Old Vectis (all
kids try to get jobs at the university)
- others were a mercenary boarding house and 2 workhouses

We staked out the flophouse, enlisting the help of the guard and the Democrats
On the second night, the city felt on edge, even the city spirits were hunkered.

Arnauld heard a scream, and old drunk man was beating a girl – Arnauld
dispatched him swiftly and silently.

Guards came up and told Dracaena that the inquisition was moving,
putting up a cordon around the workhouses near a Golman dormitory.

The building was 3 stories, crammed into the height of a 2 story building.

The dormitory was 8 stories tall, solid brick, and owned by Clan
Biviar, which made the Inquisition nervous.

Inquisitor guards patrolled the streets and rooftops, one group with a
mutated cylcops-like beast which seemed dangerous.

We decided to plant a distraction near the Golman dorm, an explosive
with a Twin Flames trigger so we could detonate it remotely.

Arnauld stealthed across the roof, everyone else climbed buildings
across the alley and waited.

Arnauld heard the Inquisitor telling his men to bring the priest to
him as soon as he arrived.

In the meantime, Arnauld got a look in the murder room, and saw a dead
worker, apparently killed slowly and ritually.

He emerged and collected Cora, who identified the ritual runes as Old
Infernal, giving a sense of a phrase “I don’t know who you are or why
you’re helping us, but thank you.”

We heard a wagon, and surmised that the priest was about to arrive.

He stumbled into the courtyard, the two began to argue.
Inquisitor: We have had enough of your excesses, bring your dogs to heel!
Priest (drawing himself up): Either one of us could undo the other.
They both worship Alexandria, but don’t seem fond of each other, and
almost came to blows over the issue.

In true Greyhawk fashion we planned to cause a distraction, let Cora
and Eigil examine the room.

The Priest left, and the Inquisitor left two guards in the room with
instructions to burn the building down if the room was disturbed.

Going into action, Eigil set off the explosives, and Arnauld engaged
the rooftop guards with the beast in combat.

Cora snuck into the room, then Eigil dove through the window. Cora
magicked one guard out the window, while Eigil bound the other in
place just as he was lighting his magical firebombs. Eigil talked him
out of dying for the cause (obviously wearing ancient, powerful armour
helped), and the guard throw the bombs out of the window, splattering
the opposing building with spreading flame, then Eigil released him
and let him out.

Eigil used Rune of Greater Binding to seal the door more securely,
allowing Cora the time to Greyhawk the pertinent contents of the room
into a bag of holding.

Holding off attack from the guards, the beast and the Inquisitor,
Dracaena, Arnauld and Argol were whittling down their numbers with
clever placement of thorn bushes, and had just freed the beast when
Arnauld was bitten and the roof caught fire.

Everyone fled the burning neighbourhood, thankful that they’d
remembered to cover their faces to avoid identification by the
Inquisition.

Hiding out in the sewers, we examined the evidence, and discovered
that the murderers extracted the victim’s soul, his memories, energy,
everything.

The items are pieces of the ritual, and are not of this world, being
more vibrant, more real, reminiscent of the fight against Leviathan,
they’re from a nearby plane, maybe the Feywild.

Cora and Eigil believe that using these items they could track the
magic back to its source.

View
Inquisitive Minds Need To KNow

Shortly after the crews door was installed, and the floating market left town, Greyhawk Investigations was invited for a social call to the house of Carter and Burroughs. The method of invitation was somewhat strange, in that it was Cirace contacting Cora mentally.

Curious and cautious as ever, the team all called on Carter and Burroughs and were conducted to Burrough’s library. Cirace explained that there had been some suspicious murders that had happened recently. Murders of people who had been young, and unconnected. Cirace’s suspicion had been aroused because the people reporting the murders had all changed their tune when the matter had been investigated further. To further complicate matters, there had been some serious Inquisition activity in the area.

The team agreed to investigate, and decided to split up to investigate. Dracaena, Cora, and Eigil head towards one of the suspicious buildings, while Arnaud and Argal head out to check out the murders.

Argal and Arnaud start asking around the neighbourhood of one of the murders, with little progress. They do find out that they are being tailed somewhat ineffectively. Arnaud drops back to follow the followers, while Argal continues on. After arriving at the murder site Argal, talks to a crude drawing on the wall, and finds out that it was a tall humanoid female, who was strong enough to slide a blade into a brick wall. Ditching the tails, he attempted to find Arnaud. Meanwhile, one of the tails had broken off the chase, presumably to report on his assignment. Little did he know that he was being followed by Arnaud. Tracking the man through the train system, he arrived at the <plaza>, a known and followed him to a cafe. The tail met up with another man, who paid the tail, but seemed displeased with his competence.
The second man, then proceded to finish his meal, and give Arnaud the slip, which is no mean feat!

During this time the remainder of the party discovered that the building that had been investigated by the Inquisition for an outbreak of mutation was protected by a high fence, and monitored by cameras. Of course this was a very curious situation, and the three snuck their way in through a gap in the cameras. Once inside they discovered that there was a significant amount of explosives stored within the building, presumably to facilitate the scheduled demolition. Cora noticed aresidual amount of magic from a dimensional portal of some kind, and also the trappings of a dark cult had been shoved into the basement. Unfortunately, Eigil’s further investigation of the basement was cut short by the fuses to the explosives all magically lighting from a trap triggered on the door.

The three quickly decided that evacuating the building was probably the best bet, and executed a hasty retreat. Only upon exiting the building did they remember about the cameras. Cora cast invisibility on herself, and exited beyond the camera’s line of site. Dracaena drew on her training as a guard, and snuck out. Eigil, left to fend for himself prepared to ride the explosion to safety, when Cora pulled him out with her teleportation whistle.

Regrouping at the office, the team concluded that the incidents were probably related to the devil’s re-entering our fair city after their last defeat. Who knows what they’re up to now!

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We are the Champions
Making new friends and kicking their asses

Summer had come to Vectis. Nomads from the Iron Islands arrived and hitched their boats together in a great sprawling bazaar, prompting the city to prepare for the festivities accompanying the return of the floating market.

An ornate envelope addressed to Argal arrived at the recently remodeled headquarters of Greyhawk Investigations. The letter turned out to be an invitation from the Walking Shadow. As Argal looked at the letter, he felt a presence reading from the page in a theatrical voice. The shadows in the room warped strangely as the voice asked Argal for assistance. The Walking Shadow told Argal of the spirit of the ocean that accompanied the nomads of the market. The strength of this spirit would be tested in a bout in which chosen champions of the ocean spirit would face off against representatives of the Walking Shadow and the city of Vectis. The Walking Shadow instructed Argal to find him at the wharf in the evening after the markets closed.

With time to pass before the evening meeting, Argal and the rest of us set off to explore the market. Cora ventured into a tent set up on the deck of boat, and discovered a fortune teller, inside. The fortune teller, Manya, predicted that although Cora had recently come into much money, she would not keep it for long. Manya spoke of the upcoming bout, in which the place of a newcomer spirit among the echelon of spirits would be determined.

Argal set out for a distant vessel sporting smokestacks, where he was greeted by a Captain Mercutio happy to describe the mechanical wonders powering and featured throughout the ship.

Arnauld, hunting for tools of his trade, had the good fortune to run into his friend Tox, and arranged a meeting with Tox’s friend Crazy Ivan who, Tox said, might be able to provide Arnauld with the special inks he sought.

We reunited and headed for the drinking establishment housed in the largest boat in the fleet. At the bar, we had an opportunity to speak to Innokenti, the champion of ocean god Leviathan, and Innokenti‘s associate Ralsor. Innokenti seemed to be aware that Argal was to be the champion of the Walking Shadow. Ralsor described earlier times when gods had fought amongst themselves, destroying continents in the process. Now champions were selected to fight, and Rossler explained the workings of the competition. The match would not be to the death, but rather a fight to defend one’s home territory. He explained that so long as Argal and his friends could keep their opponents from breaching the city, they would not be defeated.

Evening came, and we set out for the venue where the bout would occur. Those citizens of Vectis who could afford to attend the grand event were seated in bleachers near the water. The nomads watched from boats arrayed about the ships and piers that made up the battleground.

The Walking Shadow grew large and began announcing the show that would take place. Before the fight, the Walking Shadow reached with hazy tendrils into Argal’s head, and ordered the rest of us to put hands on Argal. As I did, I could see the city projected into the arena, every detail of the crowd, seating, and surrounding area suggesting the streets, river and buildings of the city. The cheering of the crowd became tangible, something within me rather than beyond.

The champions of Leviathan called to their god from the boat that served as their base. Immediately, Innokenti became much larger than his true form, taking the shape of a serpent. A great storm rumbled into being.

We spread out among the docks, repelling attacks from Inno and his associates. Cora bounded forward toward the ocean base, securing our hold on it.

As the boat turned to city, Leviathan arose from the water, revealing an eye as large as the Glass Warrens. With the Walking Shadow whispering support, Argal defended Vectis against the Leviathan with a flail made of chains from the harbor and a bridge from the river. In one moment, Argal was fighting the Levaiathan and in the next, he found himself kneeling. The storm was gone, the city returned to normal, the bridge back in its place, and the battle was over.

The Walking Shadow announced our victory to the wildly cheering crowd, and we took a bow.

Inno took of the necklace he wore, handing it to Argal. He explained that the necklace had been passed down through successful champions, and that it would help Argal to protect the city.

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Gods, We Need A Rest

As the final seal was realigned, Supay, The Word of Caine was released from his prison. The residual power of Caine that had kept him imprisoned, flowed unfocused around the room.
As Supay raised his creaky bones from his hunched posture of eternal deference, his displeasure was evident at having his attempt at immortality thwarted.

A toll had been taken during the previous battle with the wraiths, and a collective groan was issued as Supay called his wraiths back to his side. The battlelove of Caine refreshed them somewhat, as they dove reluctantly back into the fray.

Supay’s last breath, aeons overdue, was struck from his lungs, and his soul laid to rest.
Eigil, with reverence for his dead god, laid the gods crushed remains to rest in the well of power.

The team was left little time to glory in their victory as Leffner ran in, clamoring for the shield to be reinstated, and that the fortress/temple was under assault. Eigil and Cora quickly realigned the runes to restore the temple shield to the original protective configuration.

As the party exited the temple, the keys now forgotten in their slots, they were greeted by the fierce clash of battle. All of the undead that had been but a short time ago carefully arrayed against each other were now united in trying to thwart a horde of demons. The forces of Grin were pouring through a portal in the cavern ceiling and assaulting the temple. The shield had come up just in time, but was only slowing the horde.

It was then that a bold, commanding figure strode from the tower, calling his sons to battle, and arranging forces against the demons. He called on the party to escape the siege and send word to his successor, providing them with a minor shield to help them escape. The box containing Leffner was also taken.

The party slipped out of the fortress, picking up Kr’zzat on the way. As they neared the exit to the cavern The Knight of Stars entered. Growing huge, and glowing with an unbearable heat and light, he admonished Grin, and closed the portal, with his massive sword, bringing the cavern down. This would slow, but not stop the demons, and the party’s mission was still vital.

The light of the sun was welcome on the heroes faces, as the once again attained the surface, the comforting, familiar walls of Vectis around them once more. They had but one note of concern. The box containing Leffner. They ventured outside the city, finding a farm with a fresh corpse, which was possessed by Leffner. Leffner agreed to remain outside of Vectis, but would send message when he had contacted the followers of Krull. He would need the party’s help once more to lead the recovery force against the demons and the remaining Bastion of Caine

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Four Keys Reunited
(and other key events in the Underdark)

After we defeated Kranath, we returned to Llefner with the artifacts he wanted from Kranath. We decided to take Urton’s key next, which meant finding our way through the tangle of trenches leading to Urton’s tower. We went to the top of Llefner’s tower to get a better view of Urton’s territory and plotted our approach. With a ladder in tow, we set off for the trenches.

We fought off attacking ghouls as we made our way through the trenches. With ghouls approaching from all sides, we set down the ladder and escaped to ground level. Although the tower door’s lock was easy pickings for Arnaud, the door was not so easily opened, as it was barricaded from within. I hurtled toward the door and, with a hearty boost from Eigil as I neared my target, I crashed through the barrier.

Entering the tower, we were instantly plagued by a horrible stench within. At the center of Urton’s court was a pit of starving ghouls. Healthier ghouls encircling the pit were cheering and gambling. The key we sought was in a crown worn by Urton. He asked us who sent us to be his meal. When Eigil explained his quest as a follower of Caine, Urton claimed to be the one truly favored by Caine. That day, Caine did not favor Urton, as we slew the beast and took his key.

We returned to Llefner and proposed a plan to negotiate with Ocllo for the final key. Llefner provided an emissary to go with Arnauld and Eigil for the parley. They returned with word that we were to meet with Llefner and Occlo at the next dawn for a gathering of the keys to the Pillar of the World. It is said that whoever rules the Pillar wields its power.

The next morning, we arrived at the Pillar and unlocked its gates with the keys we had gathered and those held by Llefner and Occlo. As the gates began to open, we were suddenly under attack from Occlo, who did not wish to see the power of Caine fall into the hands of mortals. We fought until the gates had opened enough for us to pass through. Once we were inside, Eigil used a rune of binding to seal the entrance behind us.

Within the Pillar, we heard faint sounds of horses hooves, as well as the distant whirring of some vast mechanism within. We explored a maze of branching passageways, pursued by mounted wraiths. One door that we encountered had a protruding goblet and was emblazoned with text, “the key is beating iron still warm.” Cora quickly solved this riddle, and I slashed my arm to fill the goblet and open the door. The door led to a library, where we rested for a bit as we pilfered its holdings. Cora put her newly acquired bag of holding to use, tossing in books from the shelves. Dracaena discovered a locked false bottom in a desk drawer, which Arnaud jimmied to reveal a racy letter and, much to his delight, a sneak’s cloak. From the books in the library, we learned that holy water would be effective against the wraiths. With this preparation, we headed back out to the hallways to confront our tormentors.

As we scattered along the hallways, Arnaud found a door that lead to a room with a sarcophagus and packed with loot. He carried what he could back to Cora’s waiting bag of holding.

Finally, we found a cathedral at the heart of the pillar, which was also the source of the mechanical noises we had heard earlier. In a great chamber, a man was bent in prayer at the center of a magical cortex. A vast mechanism of lenses and mirrors reflected his energy out into the world, each component bearing a rune matching a rune on the floor of the chamber. More runes glowed in the air surrounding the old man. The runes on the floor appeared to be misshapen. Eigil reformed a rune to its proper shape, and the mirror bearing the same room rotated. Cora and Eigil set to work repairing the runes while the rest of us confronted the wraiths defending the cathedral.

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In Too Deep
In which the party rises to new lows

With time and faith working against them, the party decided to leave the problems of Vectis alone for a moment, and descend into the shattered remnants of the Underdark. Eigil knew of only one place to inter the bones of his long dead god, a half seen temple in one of the more stable chambers the Under Nomads passed through.

Recruiting the Koa Toan warrior, K’Razzt of the Under Nomads, the party headed down through the sewers of Vectis, through the many layers of ruins the city is built on, and down into the bones of the earth. They faced many challenges on the way down, flooded passageways, twisting corridors, and long, chthonic galleries. Merely keeping their bearing was a chore. While there was a moment of tension, when an Umber Hulk ambushed the party, nothing would stop Eigil from doing honor to his god.

After many sunless days, the party found itself in the ruins of the Troglodyte city of Capac. This small outpost, not affiliated with any of the great nations of the Sunless Seas, once thrived under the protection of the Pillar of the World and the Sons of Caine. Upon its once great doors, now shattered and rusted, lay the warning “’Tis better to ruggle an Aboleth then cross the Sons of Caine.”

In the dusty ruins of Capac, the party found a single house still standing. Desperate for information, and pining for a night on a feather mattress, the party took a chance that the dwellers would be friendly. Inside the perfectly preserved mansion they were greeted by an imposing construct of living steel. He made the party quite welcome. His Master, the Wizard Nolzur, was indisposed at the moment, but he made the party comfortable, gave them extremely old elvish wine and some valuable information about the keep. He also informed the party that his master made a living by creating and selling valuable trinkets. He has the following for sale: Nolzur’s Shop

After buying some trinkets and thanking the Golem for his hospitality, the party headed out to the Church of Caine at the Pillar of the World. Upon arrival, they were unprepared for the scale of the church. Soaring hundreds of feet into the dark, close air, a plateau had risen up from the cavern floor. Atop this thrust of rock perched a fortress, not a church. Four great towers pierced a curtain wall wrought from living stone and hewn granite. Behind them, a natural column joined the plateau to the distant roof of the cavern. This column was carved into the heart of the fortress and the soul of the Church.

Climbing the slick stone edifice, the party carefully made their way to the fortress. They could see defenses all along the wall, and even make out humanoid figures, but the whole place was deathly still. Only their own breathing and fall of water made a sound in the dim light. At the top, they found the impregnable wall bolstered by powerful divine magics. A energy coursed through the stone, protecting the temple from those who would assail it. With but a word of power, Eigil was able to cause this barrier to open for the party. Sadly, the barrier was built to stop the unnatural creatures of the Underdark, and even with Eigil at his side, K’Razzt could not continue.

Once inside the wall, the party found the temple to be dead in truth. Arrayed around them were signs of battle, corpses, and little else. The party found themselves looking at four towers, each geared for war, each showing signs of fortifying themselves for attacks from within.

The first tower, clockwise from the entrance, was built into the living rock. It was fronted with an intricate network of trenches and primitive spike fortifications. Bodies were strewn about the temple, and it gave the general impression of chaos and disorder.

Next, a constructed tower, guarded by well organized lines of defense that ranged far from the tower. Few bodies were to be seen on the grounds, though the crenelations of the tower itself were studded with bodies propped up against spikes, walls, and random siege weapons.

Further along the wall, the other constructed tower was a text book on siege defense. Overlapping defenses, trenches, and barricades made the ground approach to the tower a fools errand. Massive siege engines loomed from the upper levels of the tower. Bodies were placed among the defenses as though a warning to would be trespassers.

Finally, the last tower, again build into the living stone rather then crafted from slabs, glowed an eerie green in the distance. Witch fire burned in several torches and braziers along the wall and the grounds in front of the tower. Even at a great remove, the defenses of the tower seemed to be ordered not for military defense, but for some more arcane purpose.

With little to recommend any of their choices, the party set out for the least intimidating of the towers, the second described above. There they found that the bodies strewn about the fortress were not the dead, but the defenders. Quickly the party was brought to the master of the keep, an undead Dueregar named Llefner. He wanted to make a deal with the party. If they would go and kill his rival, Kranath, and take some valuable artifacts he has then Llefner would give them his key to the central keep. Llefner, in private, also wanted his freedom in exchange for payment and information. The party was offered 2600 gp and some treasures in exchange for taking him to the surface world with them when they left, and finding his spirit a suitable host corpse once there. They agreed.

They received
Potion Bandolier – This belt can hold up to six potions. You can retrieve a potion from the belt as a free action.

Fey Blessed Circlet – The bearer gains Cha temporary hit points at the start of each encounter.

He told them the sad history of the Son’s of Caine. Once a mercenary army and Church of Caine, the fortress fell from within after the Rift. Someone in the main keep did something to the barrier that had long protected them. Now, it was impossible for anyone inside the keep to die. Their spirits would become disconnected form their bodies for a time, only to be forced back in after a day or so. Locked in, unable to die, unable to find peace, and quickly rotting, the Sons of Caine fractured and fell on each other. Each of them holds a key to the great lock guarding the inner sanctum. If the party can get all four, they can go further into the keep.

The party then went to the tower of Witch Fire, ruled by the Zealot Kranath. They found a cult of Caine, solely dedicated to venerating their long dead god. In their zeal, they demanded the party hand over the armor of Caine, his remains, and his last living priest as a sacrifice. Needless to the say, the party did not oblige him. A fierce battle was fought, leaving Kranath to try to restore himself. The party found the Religious items in question, a tome and a piece of a sword, as well as some treasure for themselves.

They found 2,000 gp in gems and coins and a shattered piece of a blade of Delarya.

Delarya’s Fragment +2
Focus
Property: When you deal damage to a target that you are hidden from, all damage dice deal at least 3 damage.
Property: You can clearly see any living or undead target within 20 squares that is in the same patch of darkness you are in.
Power: Encounter – After hitting a target in melee you may teleport to switch places with an ally not currently in melee with that target.

With their treasure in hand, the party returned the artifacts to Llefner and headed towards the run down tower. This tower was ruled by a troglodyte named Urton. He leads a savage band of Ghouls that he rules by violence.

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Interrogation and Peace
In which we skillfully manage to avoid all combat
We began the session with the four of us gawking in a hotel window at Hirito in the middle of the street being crushed by a Bigby’s Icy Fist. With impeccable timing, Arnauld shows up on the street, while Eigil, Argal, and Dracaena filed downstairs.

Anauld brandishes the devil’s dagger, which Hirito immediately recognizes. We ignore his pleas to move out of the middle of the street, while Arnauld convinces him that he is in fact, much scarier than any devils. Hirito informs us that the cult is holed up in the old church in the ruins of Vectis that was scheduled for demolition. He’s seen up to 100 cultists there at one time, but only 2 of those are Democrats. One was Guantabe, dead in the factory, the other was Chiro – one of the Democrats currently in jail. We asked about the woman with them, who was someone he didn’t know – but was humanish, with dark hair, and short (relative to an Orc).
He made the deal and gave up his soul for fame, fortune, glory and honor, which had worked pretty well for him – up to now. Done with questioning, Arnauld motions as if he’s going to signal Cora to let him go, but instead quickly assassinates him.

While all this happening, Dracaena spots a point of light moving across the sky – one of the Inquisition’s dirigible reorders that they use to monitor things. Concerned that we had just conducted an questioning and assassination with a devil’s dagger and a 5 foot tall icy fist in the middle of the street, we grab the body and jump down into the sewers to get out of the way and make our way to the Democrat’s bar. Dracaena and Argal go inside to meet Richard, who arranges a meeting at the factory.

By the time we make it through the sewers to the factory, Yogo, Richard, and two other orcs are already there. We show them the body with the tattoo, and offer to use the dagger to summon his spirit for further questioning by Yogo. Arnauld does, Hirito’s spirit appears, and he asks it the following questions:

1. Whether their masters have any designs on the democrats: No
2. Whether there are in fact only 3 democrats in the cult: Yes
3. If We (the party) are servance of their masters: No, but he thinks we are their enemies

Yogo agrees to meet tomorrow with Auluaga to broker a peace. We part ways, and concerned for the inquisition or the devils, we carefully make our way through the sewers back to the office to crash for the night.

The next morning we head back to the Forest for our appointment with Auluaga. Char/Graff meets us there, and after hard times being given on both sides, we head up to meet with Auluaga – a very, very old Arbonal. We let him know that Yogo is going to come to broker a peace and that the murders were done by rogue agents in the Democrats and not the Democrats themselves. Arnauld tries to convince him to join with the Democrats to help us clear out the old Church of cultists, which Auluaga is very against the idea of, but requests that we let him know before we raid them. We discuss the tattoo and request that he look out for it – but it seems as if the reason that we saw no Arbonal names in the book is that it’s very, very hard to tattoo an Arbonal. Before we left however, Cora privately used ghost sound to tell Auluaga that we are concerned that Char is going to undermine the peace process, and ask if he would like us to follow him. He shakes his head no, we thank him for his time, and leave to prepare to inter the remains of Warlord Khaine.

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The Rat and Buttplug
It's a real bar.

Having learned that the Orcs were probably not responsible for the murder of the Arbonal workers, our heroes discussed how they might use this information to put an end to the gang war plaguing Dracaena’s old neighborhood. Some proposed approaching Auluaga, the head of the Sap, to ask for his assistance in cutting Char down to size and putting an end to Char’s stoking of the violence with the Democrats. Others thought to seek out a higher-up among the Democrats and ask for assistance tracking down the Orcs involved in the murder. The group set out to perform further investigative work in the hope of bolstering the case to be made to the leadership of the rival gangs.

Cora passed along a request to Cirace to cross reference the Orcish-sounding names from the List with known democrats.

Argal and Dracaena set out to the factory where the murdered women had worked. The foreman of the factory indicated that some Orcish workers had been rallying their fellow workers. The agitators left when the foreman threatened to send in the Guard.

Meanwhile, Eigil and Cora sought out the Democrat hideout. They honed in on a certain bar, guarded by Orcs who could have been friendlier. After attempting to name-drop and otherwise charm their way into the bar, the guards had issued sufficient convincing threats to make it clear that getting into this bar was not going to happen anytime soon for these adventurers.

A response was received from Cirace indicating that, of the Orcs named on the List, Guantabe and Hirito had been hauled in for their activities in associating with the Democrats. The party proceeded to question street vendors making knockoff goods of the variety produced by the factory where these Orcs had worked. Eventually, an imposing crew of Democrats approached the investigators, wanting to know why a disturbance was being caused. The Democrats were told that the accused Orcs were probably not responsible for their actions and that the purpose of the investigation was to get to the truth of what had gone down on the night of the murder. In return, the group received a name and an address.

The address turned out to correspond to a certain bar, where our Orc guard friends were perplexed at the return of those who had so recently been sent packing. However, one mention of the name “Yogo” was sufficient to change the guards’ minds, and the adventurers were granted entrance. Inside, Yogo, referred to by the Orcs as “Legget,” seemed willing to discuss terms for ending the gang conflict after learning of reasons for beleiving that the Orcs who committed the murder were possessed. Yogo provided information about where the accused Orcs were overseers at a workshop and provided a Democrat escort to assist in the investigation.

Outside the workshop, which appeared on the outside to be an innocuous apartment building, Cora took the time to create a magic circle just outside the front door. As the workers filed out of the building, two of the Orcs faintly glowed as they walked over the ring, one scratching his neck. When approached, the Orcs denied that anything out of the ordinary had transpired on the night of the murder, although Guantabe seemed less confident and forthwright than Hirito. Hirito laughed off the suggestion that they might need help to avoid being used by demons to perform future dastardly deeds. Cora reached out and pulled down Hirito’s collar, exposing a runic tattoo on his neck. Hirito claimed that the tattoo just showed his girlfriends name. The Orcs returned to their work, and the party scattered to keep a covert watch on the factory.

After a short time, the workers started streaming out of the building, long before the typical end of the work day. Hirito was spotted leaving, but as the workers made their way out of the building and into the local bar, there was no sign of Guantabe. After all of the workers left, Cora, Dracaena and Argal went to keep an eye on the bar while Eigil stayed behind to check the inside of the factory. Richard, the Democrat escort, found Eigil trying to crowbar his way into an apparent hidden space within the building. Richard relieved Eigil of the need to explore in this manner, showing Eigil a passageway to old dwarven warrens where the factory was hidden. In the factory office, Richard and Eigil encountered the corpse of Guantabe.

“Can I have the corpse?” Eigil asked.

“No,” said Richard.

Taking a closer look at the body, Eigil discovered a tattoo similar to Hirito’s on the sole of Guantabe’s foot. Clearly, Hirito had killed Guantabe to avoid the risk of Guantabe blabbing about the cult through which both had accepted possession by devils.

Richard and Eigil met up with the others at the bar. Argal negotiated with Richard to have the Democrats end the gang war in exchange for the party handling Hirito. The party continued to stake out the bar as the hordes of workers shuffled out. Cora asked a passing worker what had become of Hirito, and the worker drunkenly related that Hirito had taken a woman upstairs. After the exiting crowd dwindled down to a trickle, and then nothing, the party entered the bar. The bartender indicated the room that had been paid for by Hirito. The group’s patience for the day was pretty much all used up by that point, so Argal kicked down the door to the room. The aforementioned woman was dead on the floor. Hirito ran for the nearest window and fled. Cora spellfully grasped Hirito. The rest of the group proceeded to knock him unconscious, in accordance with protocol for preparing suspects for questioning.

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