Best Laid Schemes

Welcome to Renwood
Wee Beasties

Welcome to Renwood – Campaign Brief

Set on the southern shores of Lake Nen, Renwood has for a decade been just another settlement trying to survive. within the last 6 months however townsfolk have been going missing, children have been abducted from their homes and rumors of folks changing into horrible monsters of all types have been reported. Talk of treasure and great rewards in the catacombs around the town has spread through the vale via traveling merchants and wandering bards.

These rumors of adventure has attracted a wide variety of people seeking fame and fortune. the local militia has been overwhelmed, however the influx of visitors has been a boon for the local merchants and tradesmen. In fact some say there are more adventurers and their families in town now than original residents.

The hub of it all is the Lakeside Tavern where Theo Quickmire is the owner and barkeeper. He has turned the Lakeside from a barnacled shanty into the finest tavern in the Vale.

An Odd Mage Kale Rodale (referred to as “slimy” by Theo) has been enlisting adventurers to help him discover the source of a strange power that emanates from local ruins and a cavern system nearby. his past attempts have been less than successful.

He has recruited 6 new ummm… brave adventurers to help him on the promise of 500 gold, lots of equipment and knowledge of the source of power he seeks. After a few rounds of beverages it was agreed to leave at first light.

The adventurers set out after a good nights rest. (However the two Dragonborn has a nightmare about a Silvery and Gold dragon in deep distress) after half a day’s travel they arrived at the ruins of Fastormel, a mage tower outpost dating back to the Nerath Empire. after a relatively quiet search of the area, the adventurers searched the basement of the partially collapsed tower and discovered an alchemy lab with a strange purple glowing wall and various potions and components. A grey Bubbling potion, a vile of acid, and the components for a healing potion were picked up by Snapdragon “Ruben” Scribson.

Leaving the basement the crew made their way to the caverns north of the ruins, where a feeling of dark power was sensed. at Kale’s urging the adventurers entered the cavern.

In the cavern were small outcroppings of glowing crystals and some of the adventurers pocketed a handful of shards. also in the room were several bodies of adventurers and townsfolk, as well as a Dragonborn Soldier grasping a tattered banner with the head of a platinum dragon on it. a search of the bodies revealed very little. a small coin purse hidden away and a medallion with a family crest and the name Jensen on one of the humans. Other than that it seems the equipment have been picked clean of any useful items.

Listening down a curving hallway one of the crew hears something moving up to them and they prepare for battle. around the corner appears two writhing masses of tentacles which surround a gaping mouth.

Felltaint

What do they do?

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Wi’ murdering pattle

Overview

at Kale’s urging the adventurers entered the Fastormel Caverns.

In the cavern were small outcroppings of glowing crystals and some of the adventurers pocketed a handful of shards. also in the room were several bodies of adventurers and townsfolk, as well as a Dragonborn Soldier who with his dying action handed a tattered blue and gold banner with the head of a platinum dragon on it to Balasar with the ominous words of “Ancient one.. Take it”. A search of the other bodies revealed very little. a small coin purse hidden away and a medallion with a family crest and the name Jensen on one of the humans. Other than that it seems the equipment have been picked clean of any useful items.

Surprising the Fell Taints

Listening down a curving hallway one of the crew hears something moving up to them and they prepare for battle. around the corner appears 2 Fell Taint Lashers, 2 Fell Taint Pulsars and a Fell Taint Thought Eater. After a spirited battle in the entrance way and a showing of strange touch magic healing by Kale Rodale our heroes defeated the Fell Taints. several healing potions given to the group by Theo Quickmire were consumed Content Not Found: nikolai-drikoneth experienced some discomfort after the fact but Balasar did not.

Scouting and Experimentation:

After a short rest our heroes (And Kale) sent scouts down the spiral hallway and discovered More Fell taints and a strange and terrible mouth on legs with dimensional powers. After the scouts reported their findings a few things happened.

1. Snapdragon “Ruben” Scribson Shattered a glowing shard on the wall which resulted in a small flash and the crystal broke like glass.

2. Snapdragon “Ruben” Scribson pulled out the bubbling grey potion he picked up in the alchemy lab and poured out a drop on to the floor. as soon as the drop touched the ground it took off like a rocket and clung to the arm of Content Not Found: nikolai-drikoneth apparently changing his left arm into the tentacle of a Fell Taint

3. Content Not Found: nikolai-drikoneth Broke off some shards from an outcropping with his tentacle and some powers were gained.

4. Content Not Found: nikolai-drikoneth touched Daniria with his new appendage and she took some psychic damage.

Battle with the Dimensional Marauder

The adventurers then went down the tunnel as a group to face the creatures below. the battle raged on and eventually the dimensional marauder was forced to take Balasar hostage warping deeper into the cavern. Our crew pursued and after a short battle the creature dropped dead. It’s teeth were taken as a trophy by Balasar

The Silent River:

With a chance to catch their breath the heroes realize they are in a room with a swiftly flowing river that plunges into a deep hole yet it makes no sound. after further inspection it is determined that it is in fact real water that is phased out of this plane of existence. There have been many multi planar and realm creatures and objects in this cavern. The crystals here emminate with power originating from the Shadowfell.

The Death of a Child:

After additional examination of the Dimensional creatures body it changes into that of a human child, with his teeth removed. The child is recognized as Ezekiel Michaelmas adopted son of Tav Michaelmas .

Content Not Found: nikolai-drikoneth insists on prayers to the raven queen for all of the dead which can now be assumed to mostly be changed townsfolk and adventurers. He also requests that they take the child’s body back to his father. After using his changeling ability to disguise his new appendage they leave the caverns to head back to Renwood.

Wrongfully Accused:

At the very moment the childs body is revealed to Tav Kale Rodale accuses the adventurers of murder and mutilation. Tav Michaelmas takes his sons body and orders his men to throw everybody in a holding cell. It is later rumored in grief that he ordered the public execution of everyone involved innocent or not.

In the middle of the night Content Not Found: nikolai-drikoneth is awakened by the voice of Theo Quickmire who tells them he knows they are innocent and that they never should have trusted Kale Rodale he explains that there are rumors of their execution but he will help them escape back to the caverns with a distraction. Kale Rodale spends most of his time meditating in the corner while Daniria contemplates kicking him.

Prison Break:

During a changing of the guard the cells click open and all but one guard is pulled to the tavern where a huge fight has broken out. Content Not Found: nikolai-drikoneth_ opens his cell while Snapdragon “Ruben” Scribson attempts to turn Kale Rodale into a frog but fails. Kale kicks open his cell door yelling for the guard on duty, throws off his gloves and grabs the left arm of _Content Not Found: nikolai-drikoneth revealing it as a tentacle and empowering it with a bright purple glow, and Kale drops lifeless on to the floor.

Daniria makes a break for the weapons and Content Not Found: nikolai-drikoneth in an attempt to subdue the guard ends up killing him. Balasar grabs the lifeless body of Kale Rodale and hides it under his cloak while Nikolai changes form into Kale but is unable to disguise his arm. They make a run out the back of the barracks.

Snapdragon “Ruben” Scribson remains behind to explain the situation to the guards, and the story is that Kale went insane and killed the guard and the crew has given chase. the militia believe his story but to be safe Snapdragon is placed back into the cell and they pursue the rest of the group into the night.

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Sorry man’s dominion

Overview:

On a supposed chase after the already dead Kale Rodale most of the adventurers scatter and escape into the woods. Their salvation may lie with the town barkeeper who has orchestrated their escape from prison and asked them to meet him at the Ruins of Fastormel .

The Dragonborn Encampment:

While escaping into the woods in the form of Kale Rodale, the changeling Content Not Found: nikolai-drikoneth comes upon an encampment of Dragonborn soldiers. He disguises himself in the form of a Dragonborn, and with the tentacle arm wrapped up enters the camp as an injured soldier.

What he has stumbled across is a young group of scouts for Dythan’s Legion in search of any artifact of The Ancient Empire of Arkhosia to complete their initiation. Their intel leads them to believe that an Arkhosian outpost once resided along the shores of lake Nen. Their Arcanist has gone missing.

Members of the Legion in the camp:
Baka Toran – Fighter
Baka Randor – Fighter
Baka Fortka – Ranger

Deceased (In the Cavern)
Baka Snelt – Wizard

After some initial conversation Nikolai realizes there are different looking crystal shards surrounding the camp radiating an Astral Sea type Aura. He touches his tainted arm to the crystals and they form around his arm in a crystalline shell. Ishmer having taken a brutal psychic attack from the fell taints has slowly regained his wits and after the prison escape wandered through the woods and came upon the Dragonborn encampment. Introducing himself as a friend Ishmer and Content Not Found: nikolai-drikoneth begin experimenting with the newest incarnation of the tainted arm. It seems to have some sort of reality warping properties, and also seems to repel attacks with a strange force.

Daniria joins the group after convincing the guards who were in pursuit to abandon their chase. The whereabouts of Balasar witht he body of Kale are unknown.

Back to the Ruins:

Nikolai, Danira, Toran, and Randor decide to head to the ruins to meet up with Theo Quickmire who broke them out of prison and asked to meet at the Ruins of Fastormel he has a method of escape for them from the wrath of Tav Michaelmas .

As they near the ruins the crumbled tower has been surrounded with a mist and out from it steps some armed guards and the Bartender Theo.. He asks them to come inside quickly through the mists down to his Alchemy Lab. The adventurers wary because they have witnessed the lab before decide to have the guards escort them the LONG way down which is supposedly filled with monsters.

As they engage the first wave of fell taints on the LONG way down, the beasts act very strange seemingly worshiping the changed arm of Content Not Found: nikolai-drikoneth. they make their way through the passageways down to the work room of Theo and more Fell Taints follow Nikolai..

The Alchemists Workroom:

As they enter the room there is a Large silent waterfall and a portal of unknown origin is in the middle of it. The water is intangible as it was in the caverns. Theo welcomes the adventurers into his workroom and is more than a bit stunned to see the fell taints following. There is also a Shardmind creature fused to the floor. He looks like a humanoid version of the crystals scattered throughout the area.

*Questions and Answers: *

Theo Quickmire Friendly innkeeper of Renwood and apparently Master Alchemist?? These adventurers have worked with Kale Rodale and have interacted with the creatures and crystals and brought back the changed body of Ezekiel Michaelmas Never before has a turned creature changed back!

Theo is a frustrated alchemist who was removed from his post by his employer due to his lack of success. As he wandered looking for a way to prove himself he discovered the waterfall, portal, crystals, and their trans-formative properties. This could be just the thing to get him back into the good graces of his Mast- errr.. Employer.

He set up shop in the sleepy town of Renwood as an inkeeper and began experimenting on the changed townspeople. Knowing he needed more money and more subjects. (These Renwood folks just were not careless enough) he has decided to drum up business by poisoning travelers with beverages made from the distilled essence of the portal water and crystals/ turning them into monsters. The monsters have attracted more adventurers from all around and have made the inn
quite popular.

Theo thinks that if he can perfect this potion and an antidote he can solve both the towns problems AND get this old job back, or maybe a better one!

Theo’s drinks are harmless unless the second component, a morning beverage or a healing potion is taken the next day. As the two drinks are inert otherwise, Thaddeus has managed to fool the few investigators who took notice of the drinks, up until now..

He invites the adventurers back to the the Inn where he will help clear their name, if they will help him perfect his antidote. They are obviously skeptical and do not trust him.

The Shardmind:

Content Not Found: nikolai-drikoneth examines the shardmind and notices a protective force around the body. He touches his crystal arm to the shield and the Shardmind comes to Life grabbing him and pulling him in. Light flares around the two and Nikolai’s arm seems to shrink. they are locked eye to eye and in a flash they are separated and the Shardmind ceases to glow.

Nikolai agrees to go back to the village and daniria and the stunned young dragonborn follow using a Kitten herding maneuver to shed his arm of his Fell taint followers.

Dragonborn Quest:

Back at the Dragon born encampment, Ishmer has made friends with the remaining dragonborn and agrees to help them with their quest for an artifact. they return to the ruins and explore eventually finding the room with the portal, the fell taints are nowhere to be seen. Ishmer decides to take a risk and sticks his hand in the portal and feels a tingling but his hand comes out unscathed. So he asks the Dragonborn to wait there for him and he dives through the portal.

Moments later he appears back in the workshop and a torrent of water is rapidly filling the room, he yells to the Dragonborn to tell his friends where he went and dives back through the portal.

To Be Continued:

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Thou need na start awa sae hasty

Oh adventurers… What a strange and winding road this has been and we are only at the beginning.

Ishmer on the other side

A massive Arkhosian city with large waterfalls carved into a bluff in the middle of a vast desert, as any Dragonborn would do Ishmer moves to explore it’s depths. Suddenly Dragons from every chromatic fmaily streak overhead to the ruins. A low rumble in the ground starts to shake the earth is this land unstable? Cracks begin to form in the cliff face. Oceans of water begin to pour out of the bluff and cross the arid plains.

The cliff face bursts and thrown from the ruins is none other than Tiamat Queen of the Chromatic Dragons. Another low rumble and from out of the ruins bursts forth Demogorgon Prince of Demons who is clearly the aggressor in this struggle and winning!

The struggle between the two near gods reaches a crescendo, Dragons of all colors are falling easily to the demon. Tiamat through a cunning claw swipe is able to break free for a moment and send a simple message to Ishmer’s Mind..

“Bloodling! there is not much time and you are my last hope.” “He has my Brother and soon he will have me, seek out my children Shadowmire, Bitterstrike, Calastryx, and Vestapalk. Convince them of what has happened. You will need proof and I will make sure you have it.” “He should not be this strong GO!”

Demogorgon pulls her back into the ruins and disappears in a flash, and what was just oceans of water moving across the dunes is now worlds worth of water. Ishmer knowing this is not good dives back through the portal and the water that was flooding the room is now intangible.

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Justify that ill opinion

Back to Renwood

Our intrepid adventurers, after talking with the clearly unstable and utterly confusing Alchemist known as Thaddeus Quickmire, have at least decided to leave well enough alone and take their chances back at Nikolais house at the edge of town to regroup and plan the next move.

In just a few days they have managed to:

  • Be arrested for Murder and have their execution ordered
  • Witness the kidnapping of a near god
  • Obtain an ancient Arkhosian Artifact
  • Pique the interest of an insane alchemist
  • Have an arm transformed into Living Crystal

Needless to say things need sorted out…

First things first, Sleep..

Just as our small group is drifting off there is a knock at the door.. It’s Ishmer wired up and shouting about Tiamat and Demogorgon and Oceans.. Ugh.

Finally Sleep….

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK! It’s Balasar! Kale’s body dissolved into shards the plan for absolving themselves of murder is foiled. - Soooo sleepy.

Clearly there is no sleep to be had here.

The Demogorgon talk is shelved really what can this group possibly do when the affairs of gods are at stake.

Hours before Dawn a Bard and a Rogue enter town and One man wants to leave town.. hoo boy are they late to the show, talk about wrong place at the wrong time.

The Plan

Nikolai wants to study his arm, and takes leave to do so. Meanwhile Daniria heads back in to town to see if she can get SnapDragon out of prison. After talking with the guards only a direct order from the militia head will get Snapdragon out. An Odd Bard is listening in on the proceedings.

The whole town of Renwood is clearly on edge.

Back at his house Nikolai is experimenting with his arm and tries to change it into a long sword, suddenly his arm changes into a LONG Sword extending out to infinity through the wall of his house but strangely it did not damage the wall.

The Bard follows Daniria back to Nikolai’s house quietly.

Inside the house The group devises a plan to free snapdragon using Nikolai’s Changeling powers. As they go to leave the bard speaks up and ends up joining them. His name is Cyrell.

Half the team go to keep an eye out for the Militia Leader while Nikolai impersonates him and pulls off the bluff to set Snapdragon free. Snapdragon returns to Nikolai’s house to recoup.

The rest of the group head to the tavern to speak with our good friend and barkeep/mad alchemist Theo as requested. They have some questions that need answered. Upon entering a moderately busy tavern the group meets with Maria demanding to see Theo. She says he is in the cellar and she will inform him of their arrival. Instead of waiting they follow her. After discovering a demon’s head flame trap guarding the entrance to the basement and after a clumsy yet effective disarming by nikolai the group makes it down to the Lab.

The Lab contains racks of bubbling vials, an odd rune space, a few odd constructs hanging on the wall and three medium sized tree creatures chained to the back wall. Lots of odds and ends consistent with a alchemy lab.

Theo shows the group some of his experiments with fire and the distilled essence of shards, but before they can ask any futher questions of him, Ishmer attacks, enraged by the terrible things Theo has done to the town and adventurers.

Theo has a scepter made of a shardmind’s hand and uses it to command the essence in the vilas around the room to protect him. Some of them seem to have a mind of their own.

slowly ishmer begins to wear down Theo’s defenses and it seems also his control of the Essence.

The rest of the group is reluctant to attack Theo and instead turn their attention to the tree creatures and poor maria who is hiding in the corner.

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'S a sma' request;
From the Diary of Cyrell

Ishmer and the roguish-looking fellow were being absorbed by a mass of slime just as they were starting to make headway in taking down Theo.

Theo had just transformed into a large slime, with several smaller slimes orbiting around him. Ishmer and the mysterious roguish-looking fellow, both of whom were flanking Theo,
got caught in the mess and became covered in an acidic slime tha tstarted eating away at them. They (or at least Ishmer) was thrown from the mayhem several feet away. Then, out of nowhere, one of the two Warforged chained to the wall burst out of its chains and started towards Slime Theo. Like Ishmer, with every attack Warforged Z was thrown back by the swirling slime, and eventually was drenched in the same acidic slime.

Meanwhile, Nikolai, Daniria, and Balasar continued trying to free the tree creatures bound to the far wall. Daniria made pretty easy work of the lock holding hers in place, and Balasar tore whole chunks of the wall out with the chains on his. Nikolai continued struggling with getting his freed briefly, but after a few moments, it was released as well.

Cyrell, in the meantime, made his way to the back corner to look after Maria, the barmaid who had led the party to Theo, and had since been cowering in the corner. After determining she was not a threat and noticing that chaos was ensuing behind him (Warforged, tree creatures,
and slimes all moving and attacking), he told her it was time to leave and brought her over to the place where the stairs had been before exploding. Noticing there was no quick escape available there, he turned to focus his attention on the battle, finding that everyone was
beginning to focus on Theo and the slimes.

Nikolai began cursing several of the slimes, both big and small, and sent them either fleeing towards the wall or coalescing back into their master. Daniria tore into Slime Theo with several deadly crossbow bolts. Balasar moved in to flank Theo and offer support for Ishmer and Z. Cyrell continued trying to attack from ranged, first with his crossbow, then with a string of insults directed at Theo’s mother.

Daniria moved to a brazier and set her next bolt ablaze right into Theo. On its way through, the fire hardened the slime covering Ishmer and Z, as well as that around Theo, immobilizing them and
surrounding them in strange amber-like casements. The freed tree creatures, with nowhere to go at this point, made their way to the terrified barmaid and formed a shelter of roots and limbs around her to keep her safe.

By now, the two larger slimes that were forcing their way through the wall had begun to crumble it, giving way to a long, cavernous tunnel, and they both made a quick exit through it. From much farther down, however, Cyrell and Daniria heard echoing thuds, like something big
might be approaching.

As soon as the group members not caught up in the hardened slime turned their attention to the tunnel, cracks started forming in Theo’s casing, and Balasar managed to smash a hole in that of Ishmer. Eventually, Ishmer and Z forced their way out of their own casements, but not before Nikolai could cast a spell that sent several tendrils creeping into the cracks in Theo’s hardened
slime. It’s not clear what the tendrils actually did, except that within moments, the hardened slime had burst open and left in Theo’s place an orange Shardmind.

Since everything in the room had quieted down, Nikolai began looking down the tunnel with his clairvoyance ability, and Daniria secured a rope to the top of the long-gone staircase to use as an escape from whatever was coming. Cyrell asked the tree creatures to assist in getting everyone out and they formed around Daniria’s rope for extra support and carried Maria off to safety. Ishmer and Balasar took up defensive postitions at the mouth of the tunnel, while Nikolai began to “interact” with the Shardmind. Ishmer slipped into the tunnel briefly, but started back when Nikolai asked him to destroy one of the runes on the floor nearby. Being close, Cyrell scratched one away and while the scrapings seemed to be still imbued with some magic, the rest of the runes faded.

Suddenly, Nikolai realized what was coming and begged the group to make for the exit. Everyone quickly obliged him, wanting no part in whatever could cause the guy who will touch anything to yell for them to run. The only exception was Cyrell, who stayed at the bottom of the tree/rope escape route to see what happened before he left.

The Shardmind halted the approaching large Shardmind creatures, but hundreds of tinier ones begin pouring out from the cavern. The largest of the creatures spoke telepathically to Nikolai, Cyrell, and Daniria who was just at the top of the rope, and said “You will help
us…” then corrected itself “Will you help us?” Daniria dropped back into the room and Nikolai began explaining what he had ascertained about the situation.

Up above, Ishmer and Balasar made their way out of the tavern, only to find the village abuzz with activity and ablaze with scattered fires. The woods around Nikolai’s house were burning, they noticed. Ishmer attempted to find out what was happening in town, but was met with
insolence from the first villager he saw, but threatened and intimidated him into answering. Apparently, the townsfolk had decided they would deal with their problems themselves from now on, and were tired of the trouble brought onto them by adventurers, so they were kicking them all out by force.

The three adventurers still down in the cellar agreed they would help the Shardminds if they could, and shortly thereafter the rest of the group reconvened. The Shardmind creatures explained the entire situation with the Living Gate and their plight, and that there were
three options the group could explore to try and repair the Gate. The first was to investigate and carry out several magic rituals. The second was to recover a number of magical artifacts. The third was to destroy several creatures so they could coalesce into one huge,
incredibly powerful creature.

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silly wa's the win's are strewin

The Shardmind’s Plight:

A brief history of the Shardmind as told by God Shard (Artifact Gatherer) (Orange) Shard Slayer (Purple/Black) and Thought Builder (Arcane Knowledge) (Blue)

When Demogorgon shattered the Living Gate, its crystalline shards were scattered throughout the planes. Some of these fragments contained enough sentience and psionic energy to manifest humanoid forms, and thus the Shardmind were born. The smallest and weakest shards collided with the ground and either burrowed deep within, or were decimated, shattering even further to become a fine dust. Though rare, larger shards exist – crystal monoliths that jut from the ground at odd angles, humming with an alien power. Creatures who have encountered an area infused with the crystal dust return with tales of whispering voices and odd transformations, while those who study the monoliths speak of tapping into an ancient power.

As the shards passed through the planes they gathered energy and it fused into their being. Where once there was a collective hive mind, now formed individual personalities and ideologies.

God Shards believe that through the gathering and collection of powerful artifacts and magic items the Living Gate can be rebuilt stronger than before. Members of the Gatherer caste can imbue normal weapons by opening a portal and placing a powerful artifact into the collective and exposing a simple item to the gathering power as the artifact is made into a building block of the gate.

Shard Slayers believe that only through consolidation of the Shard Mind essence can the living gate be rebuilt back to it’s pure purpose. This is accomplished through the destruction and absorbtion of willing shards to form a more powerful shard. (For now there are enough willing shards to prevent mass genocide and shard civil war)

Thought Builder’s believe that knowledge is the key to rebuilding a stronger gate and through arcane workings they will be able to fashion a home for all of the shards and protect the planes from each other. They take spells, and other arcane energies and gather trying to unlock the one grand spell.

These are not the only ideologies out there but are the most widely accepted among the individual shards.

Shard Essence:
Shard Dust can be made into essence which seems to have adverse effects on mortal creatures.

Shard Ambassadors:
The fractured factions of the shard collective all have agents in the planes searching for assistance. They do not really have much in the way of manners or common sense but they do have a wisdom that rivals gods in it’s scope. Each will reach out in their own way and sometimes they can seem evil or in some cases insane. But they all do what they think is best for the saftey of the planes.

Kale Rodale

Oh Kale… An Agent of the Shard Slayers, Kale takes a more agressive approach in recruiting. His primary goal is to bring worthy adventurers to the Slayer ambassador so they can make a decision. Many times this ends up in the death of the adventurer due to the oddly fragile nature of humanoids. Recently he has tried a different approach of offering large rewards for motivation and protecting the adventurers along they way. What Kale has discovered however is that mortal laws and customs are very frustrating and despite his best and sometimes misguided attempts to help, they tend to think him some sort of heathen.

Maybe forced servitude is the way to go…. only one way to find out..

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Broken Nature’s Social Union

From the Diary of Cyrell “Silverstring” Serathien

After a drunken fit with sword-bearing butterflies, Heath finds himself in the basement the group had just fled from. The butterflies chase him down there, and he casts a fire spell to try to scare them off, but they are unimpressed and only back down when Maria descends into the basement carried by a tree branch. She asks Heath if he was with the party, and gives him a key and a message to convey to them.

“This town is no longer safe for them. I know of their choice to help the shards, and they made the right decision. But they will need help. Take them this key that can provide a base of safety, and this candle that gets brighter on the right path. It’s not much but it will help along your way.” Heath takes the key and candle, and promises to deliver the message. He thanks Maria and heads out to find the group.

To the Ruins:
Heath meets up with Xandril along the way to the party, and Cyrell hears them discussing the key and the candle. He wakes the group, and tells them someone is approaching. Daniria and Cyrell strap up, and move to meet the two. They discuss Maria’s charge and agree to bring the the two adventurers back to camp.

In the morning:
while Cyrell and Daniria discuss routes to Harkenwold, they notice Content Not Found: nikolai-drikoneth and Heath bantering with a pixie. He introduces himself as Buttercup, Royal Guard of the Court of Summer. He is apparently here to guard the princess, but she’s on some flight of fancy, and sent him to guide the group on their journey. They tell
him they’re on the way to Harkenwold in search of a magical staff, but he tells them there are many magical artifacts much closer to home. The group decides closer is better and decide to follow a path of pixie dust through the forest, diverging from their river route.

Faerie Safehouse
He leads them to a door in the forest. After examination, it appears a normal door, although without a handle or keyhole. There is a peephole, but only shows a picture on the other side. The magic users of the group recognize it has magical properties, and is of Fey design. Buttercup tells them this is the way to the pixie safehouse. but then flits off muttering about the portal being opened again and “Spring Cleaning”

Exploration:
The group continues trying to figure out the nature of the door and the place they’re in, making sure they can leave if needed, and determining that they are in fact in the Fey world. There is a small stream and pleasant woodlands smells about, except for an odd taint that something is amiss. There is a shimmering dome, which Nikolai says is intended to keep something in and not keep things out. Because Xandril can Feystep out of the safehouse, the party votes to
give him the key that can open the door from the outside.

Confronted with Cute:
The group then notices about a half dozen golden armadillos with rubies in their heads around the pathway, as well as shiny pillars of a mysterious white substance, and foot-tall squirrels armed with bows hiding in the branches. Nikolai moves to explore one of the pillars, and gets grasped by it and held. The squirrels chitter, the armadillos gather around the group and telepathically communicate that their rubies are worth a hundred gold pieces, and that they love the group. While trying to free Nikolai from the snuggler, they wake a giant, hairy Fey creature. He approaches and introduces himself as Umbleby, and agrees to assist the party if they share whatever they find with him. Meanwhile, the other snuggler continues to try to hug,
this time going for Xandril. Everyone tries to dissuade it, including Umbleby who hugs it back. When he did that, the snuggler went back to pillar form. As the fray quiets down, the party moves forward to the bridge.

The Grove:
Grave stones, oldest covered by beanstalks. Bunnies, each with enormous spiral horn on its head. A hideous cow, which we think we can smell from here, but the smell is more than manure – Stench Cow, horns, will charge. Three foot tall mole pokes its head out from a hole. Something large is moving beyond the beanstalks.

Confronted with Gross
As the group gets to the second stream, the mole, cow, and bunnies. The cow bloodies Cyrell, who is promptly dropped by Nikolai’s spell after the mole dominates him and forces him to see Cyrell as the mole. The group slowly defeats a couple of the bunnies, then drops the cow, and eventually the mole, only to find a multiple-headed snail creeping up on them. Free to focus all their efforts on it, they made easy work of the snail. Nikolai and Heath each take a rabbit horn, and the party moves to search the ruined shack. Upstairs they find some garden stones with
inspirational sayings.

“Badger to the Bone”“Mothers plant turnips that keep forever”
+1 to defenses OR +2 to roll

The Monster’s Meeting:
Downstairs, they find a number of strange creatures, including badgers, head stabbers, and mushroom creatures, all acting very strangely. There is also a gnome who appears to be cooking for the creatures, bringing out a platter of cooked mushrooms and other delicacies. Nikolai hears the gnome mention how nice it is that they can have a place just for monsters where there are no adventurers trying to kill them and steal their treasure. He then changes shape
into a Minotaur and attempts to join the monster feast. The gnome welcomes him in and makes him a place at the table.

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A Weary Nibble
Gnomes and Badgers

Best Laid Schemes of Gnomes and Badgers go Often Arwy

At the monster thanksgiving Nikolai finds himself in the middle of a plot to rob the Summer Fey Safehouse of its riches. Led by Francis the Badger – Stench Kow, Gnome, and Psychic Mole the group of springtime tricksters plot and scheme in their new hideout, an abandoned hut on the outskirts of town.

The primary problem they face is well everything. The summer court has apparently employed adventurers who thwart each and every plot before it even gets started. But this time they have Nikolai who in the form of a minotaur has agreed to distract these adventurers that killed stench Kow long enough for the group to sneak in and steal the riches and get out.

Nikolai agrees to this and takes some Singing Campestris for the road. While the Springtime tricksters give him a hour or so head start.

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Blessing With What Is Left
New Beginnings

The rest of the crew set off to the safehouse:

The group leaves Nikolai to his beastly feast, not knowing if they can help him or how they would. Cyrell stays briefly to keep an eye on him and make sure he’s not in any imminent danger,
but soon realizes that Nikolai should be able to handle himself with this group and that he shouldn’t fall too far behind the rest of the party, so he scurries along to catch up.

The party stays on the path of the faerie dust, and it leads them to a small town. All the
villagers act very strangely, almost vacant in their interactions with the party and with one another.

Strange people:
While Daniria is investigating the oddities of the town, she finds a drunkard and begins asking him
questions. He tells her this is a dead place, and that the group does not want to be here when the bell strikes twice. When she pushes him further, an arrow suddenly strikes him in the chest. None of the townsfolk seem to notice, or if they do they don’t care to acknowledge it.

For whom the bell tolls:
The group pokes around the bell tower, and the rest of town, but to no avail and decides to depart and follow the faerie dust. As they’re about to depart, The Bell at the top of the tower tolls twice and they find the faerie dust continues along across a chasm at the edge of town. This chasm sees to continue around the entire town and a strange dusk falls.

Curiosity, a desire to right the wrongness of this place, or fear for what happens after the bell tolls, whatever it is they decide to turn back. They try to get into the bell tower by
way of strength, but soon realize that is a futile effort.

ZOMBIES!

As they look around, they find the villagers all standing up and moving towards them, ominously and slowly their skin sloughing off and moaning.

The group and the zombie villagers engage with one another. The dragonborn begin bashing in heads, Daniria lets loose with crossbow, and a new stranger comes out swinging with a long spiked chain.

Cyrell mosies into town humming some tune about Buttercup, and how the damned faerie built up their hopes and then let them down. The group proceeds to make pretty easy work of the small zombie horde and their undead piggies, except for one swine zombie that gives Balasar all he can handle for a moment.

Into the tower:
Daniria and Cyrell, seeing the battle well attended to, begin searching the village for a way into the tower, while the stranger climbs into a second floor window to reconnoiter.

Daniria finds a mysterious key in a pouch in the inn, and thinks it may unlock the tower. After searching the rest of the surrounding shoppes and buildings, Cyrell finds the key that actually unlocks the tower, but not before Daniria uses the wrong key and gets a shocking rejection. He then
regroups with the rest of the party and they prepare to enter the bell tower.

From the rogue’s recon, the party knows to expect five zombies on the first floor, and more on the third. They quickly dispatch the first group, and loot the bottom floor, finding two casks of fine
wine, some food items, and a grate that theoretically leads down into the sewer system.

First Floor:
As they close the entrance door, however, it becomes a solid wall behind them, meaning the grate is the only exit.

Second Floor:
They stealthily move up to the second floor, finding three bed chambers and a number of bookshelves housing tomes of illegible scratches. In one of the rooms, a zombie with a terrible stench pops out and lays into Daniria, but the rest of the party steps in and cuts it down, causing it to burst into a gory explosion of entrails.

In the bed chambers, they find three chests, two of which are relatively empty, and a third which holds a ruby, a golden cup, and finely made clothing. The rogue dons the clothing, and Cyrell tucks away the ruby and golden cup for later inspection. Cyrell also takes the book from the third room, as it stood out as the only book on that particular bookshelf.

There is a large spider in the middle room, but it is curled up on the floor and the group decides to leave it alone. They burn away most of its webs to try to search the room, but at first
glance, it is pretty much empty aside from its furnishings, so they move on.

Third Floor:
The group then readies and moves up to the third floor. Here, there is a large hole in the floor, and a handful of zombies awaiting their arrival. Again, they cut through the undead with relative ease, and quietly search for the way up to the fourth and final floor of the tower.

The way up must be past a door with a spiderweb-looking key symbol on it, but they don’t see that key anywhere, so Cyrell tries to pick the door and succeeds.

Bell Room:
Again the group readies for combat on the staircase, and Ishmer leads the way up. As he reaches the top, he sees three skeletons in fine priests’ robes across the open-air bell floor, and one skeleton in
ornate priests’ robes and enveloped in slime.

He rushes over and begins to work on the slime-covered skeleton, while the rest of the
group takes to the others. None of the four skeletons even begin to get an attack off before they are all dispersed. Ishmer’s fire breath and Balasar’s insistence on throwing things over the edge do in the
ornate jelly skeleton (jelleton?), and Cyrell’s new spell, Heath’s undead turning, and contributions from the rest of the party destroy the three others.

Daniria steps over to a cabinet and finds a mechanism for ringing the bell, but doesn’t want to ring it before the party has a chance to discuss the implications of that. Cyrell and the rogue move downstairs and exit through a second-floor window to go find the skeletons and loot them. They take the three
fine robes, two maces with some sort of magic about them, the ornate robes from the other, and its magical scepter.

While searching the ornate robes, Cyrell finds a letter that identifies them as priests of the Raven Queen, explains (at least somewhat) the situation that led to the undeadifying of the town, and pleads for its finders to fix the problem. It speaks of a mechanism to ring the bell, but perhaps not
the one that they had already found as it says the lever is in the priest’s study.

Did the tower house his study, or is that somewhere else altogether? What will actually happen when the bell is rung? What would “fixing” the town actually do to it? Would that close the chasm and allow them
to continue on to the supposed faerie safehouse? Who was the mysterious archer that shot down the only person in the town who actually gave the group information? Who rang the bell the first
time? Is Nikolai going to be okay at the creature feast? And where the hell is Xandril with their escape key?

And so it continues:

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