Guys' Night Campaign

Tying up loose ends & homage to a Vampire Lord

The Furious Fab Five took some time off after their latest dungeon delving adventure to rest recuperate and spend some hard earned cash.

While Ailyn, Alexander, Bren, & Gofarian were off enjoying the City of Splendors Corwin was spending the time soul-searching and reflecting on his path in life. Set to meet up on day 5 in front of the Temple of Tyr in Waterdeep, Corwin was a day late. To the rest of the parties surprise he no longer sporting his magic items and confessed to the group that he had had a “spiritual” awakening and had taken a Vow of Poverty at the Temple of Selune. While this sudden change of heart concerned his friends and was sure to draw many questions in the future Corwin asked for their help as he continued to right wrongs that he felt he had committed. The first task for the group was to recover the bodies of Shiva and Father Mercer for resurrection. A priest at the Temple of Tyr gave a “work order” to the Five and they left for the graveyard.

They arrived at the care takers shack just as the sun was setting. The surely old care taker was unhappy about having to open the gates to the cemetery so close to dark. Muttering under his breath he pointed the party to a pile of shovels and handed them a tattered old map with the grave locations of the two deceased that were listed on the order. The party quickly left the gate behind in search of the graves. Eventually they found what they were looking for. While they discussed the best way to exhume the bodies without getting themselves and their new gear dirty they were attacked by some of the residents of the grave yard. True to the songs being sung by the local bards the party quickly returned the undead to death. Then utilizing some of their parties magic, quickly exhumed the corpses and carted them back to Tyr’s Temple. After having returned the shovels more or less intact (Corwin ingeniously used some mummy wrappings to repair the shovel he had broken in the fight), to the care taker.

While recovering the bodies, a priest of Tyr had taken the opportunity to resurrect Scarso whom Corwin had recovered from Shihoz’s lair. Corwin presented Scarso with his best friend “Mug” and provided him with new (to him) armor to replace the items he had lost after his death. Scarso was relieved that his sword had found worthy hands to wield it in battle and wished Bren the best of luck with it. Of course this is the edited version of their conversation. The longer version contains extended episodes of psychotic screaming and incoherent mumblings. They left Scarso to his broken thoughts and waited outside another room while a Priest resurrected Shiva and Father Mercer. After breaking the news of their death and eventual return to life, the five spoke with Mercer and Shiva, making amends and even giving them positions in Bren’s growing horde. Having completed these tasks the Five returned home. Corwin gave his share of The Lucky Monkey to Shensen Agrivar to complete his Vow of Poverty.
Shield guardian
The Furious Five took care of the Luck Stone burying it in a secret location while placing fakes in it’s stead to mislead any would be thieves. One stone was placed in the Statue, while another was placed in the Paintings Vault and the real stone was placed with it’s counterpart in the void box and buried hundreds of feet down under a flag stone. With the success of the Luck Monkey and knowing of some new real estate having come on the market they decided to branch out and open “Shihoz’s Palace”, this themed based fun park and bistro is named to honor the smashing great time they had at Shihoz’s expense. This also gives them the opportunity to spread Bren’s forces out a bit. Lastly they put the Shield Guardian to good use spinning signs “Little Caesar Style” to promote the Lucky Monkey and draw in more customers.

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Slay the Evil Vampire, or Just Laugh at Him.
If you can kill the vampire wizard, that's great, but if you can pillage his dungeon, destroy his lair, and then laugh yourself silly when you finally see him, then that's just so much better

After their adventures in the Ivy district, the Furious Five were faced with a few problems. First there was the common, but welcome, problem of unloading all of the loot that they made off with from Gauthfallow Manor and converting it to cash, and there was quite a deal of it. The city officials appropriated the manor itself, but asked the Five to remove all of the items inside. They were very nervous about what was and what wasn’t magic, and were more than content to let the Five act as a magical HazMat team. This was great for the Five, as it let them freely loot Gauthfallow manor, but did leave them with a second, more serious, challenge of finding someone who was willing to buy the high level magic items that they couldn’t sell at the common market. The buyer had to be wealthy enough to afford epic level magic items, but the Five were also concerned about the new owner being trustworthy and not someone who would put the magic to ill use. No one wanted a repeat of the incident in the manor, to say nothing of how anxious the guard was to not repeat a string of murders.
In particular, the Id portrait was something that they couldn’t just simply allow to go to any irresponsible nobleman who fancied himself capable of responsibly watching over such an epic item. The same went for the magical paintbrush and the sorcerous pigments. While mulling over these issues, they sent word to the Lucky Monkey for a team to come to Waterdeep to meet them and bring home some of the items they had decided to keep. Rather than selling all of the portraits in Gauthfallow’s gallery, they kept about a third of them for display in the Lucky Monkey. They also kept the Portrait of Health, which was to be hung near their quarters, upstairs in the Inn.
Whilst going through the process of cleaning out the mansion, the Five fell into conversation with one of the guards from the city. He told them about how he had previously been an adventurer, but had given up after all of his party had been slaughtered in a nearby cave complex. “The complex is a wealth of treasure, but no one can survive in there.” The legends of the treasure did sound epic in proportion, and the guard certainly played them up, but in the end issued a caution that his friends died there, and that is where their bones still lie, as far as he knew, these two years past. The Five, the sound of treasure in their ears, made note of the guard’s tale, and took their leave to go and sell their items in the district market.
In the midst of walking through the market, looking for buyers, a messenger arrived. He was unwilling to reveal exactly who his employer was, but delivered to the Five an invitation to visit his master, whom he intimated might be able to help them dispose of the more dangerous magical items, and at what he felt would be a respectable price. The invitation was marked only with the image of a black staff. After a brief but fruitless interrogation, the Five thanked the messenger and told him to assure his master that they would pass by at the appointed time.
The Five met up with their caravan from the Lucky Monkey and transferred the Portrait of Health, the Shield Guardian, the paintings, and various other items. After a brief respite, and after buying the workers a nice lunch at a local bistro, the Five sent them on their way back home to the Lucky Monkey, with instructions on the disposition of all of the items, including the shield guardian, and then went off to their appointment following the directions on the card with the black staff.
They arrived at what turned out to be a very large and impressive wizard tower, where they were given entrance and ushered into a large, tall library, full of impressive tomes of ancient literature and massive spell books that radiated powerful magic. The books themselves were moving about the room, re-cataloging and positioning themselves for some arcane purpose.
After a short wait, a tall man entered the room and introduced himself as Blackstaff, better known to some as Khelben Arunsun, Lord Mage of Waterdeep. The Five were stunned. They had suddenly stumbled into very deep waters. This was a powerful mage, one of the most powerful in all of Faerûn, if the tales were to be believed. After brief introductions, Khelben explained his offer to buy all of the magical items that the Five were looking to dispose of, which he named specifically and individually, at a very fair price. The Five were understandably curious about how Khelben had come to know about them. Khelben explained that he and Asheron Coyl, one of the first people to be slaughtered by the madman Gauthfallow, had been working on a few projects together. Once Khelben heard of Coyl’s death, he followed up on the case with careful interest.
Before making a monetary offer on the magical items, Khelben asked for a moment extra of the Five’s time, and asked if he could beg a favor of them. One of the projects that he and Coyl had been working on was discovering more about an ancient network of caves found just north of Waterdeep, just along the shore. Khelben knew that the caves were the habitation of a certain vampire lord named Srihoz. Srihoz had been causing problems for a number of years, luring in adventurers with the temptation of great wealth, but all to trap and feed on them. He had never raised enough of a problem that Khelben felt the need to intervene personally, feeling that if people were dumb enough to rush of on some damn fool adventure without being properly prepared, it was their own problem.
Lately, though, Srihoz had been stepping up his efforts, and increasingly high-level adventurers were disappearing into the catacombs, and never emerging. More particularly, in the past few years, a couple of unusually powerful magical items had disappeared into the cave, and Khelben began to worry that Srihoz was beginning to pose a more significant threat. Still and all, Khelben was a busy man, and didn’t have the time needed to go through the caves and clean them out properly, eliminating Srihoz and recovering the more powerful magical items.
And then stories began appearing about The Five. Variously referred to as The Fabulous, Furious, or Fearsome Five, these men had acquired a reputation as stalwart and hardy adventurers that were able to take on surprisingly powerful foes and emerge victorious. This caught Khelben’s attention, and he decided to investigate the group further. He had already decided to contact them in the near future to help with Srihoz, when the events surrounding Asheron Coyle’s demise precipitated more immediate contact. Their obtaining the extraordinarily powerful paintings and various artifacts from Gaurhfallow’s home and studio gave Khelben a perfect excuse to invite them into his home without arousing the suspicions of Srihoz’s agents.
Once the Five were in his home, he made them a proposal. If the Five would go into Srihoz’s cave and clean it out, they could keep whatever they found. As incentive, he offered a “starting bonus” of a magical item for each member of the team, even the junior cleric. Between the magic items, the prestige the Khelben enjoyed, and the promise of wealth and adventure, the Five were hooked, and readily accepted the offer.
Khelben didn’t mention anything about the powerful magic items that he suspected were in the cave, but was confident in their reputation for being voracious treasure hunters and thorough dungeon cleansers. Khelben didn’t want the magic items himself, but was worried about the concentration of them in the hands of a decidedly evil and obstreperous vampire. He knew that if there were magic items of note in the cave, the Five would find them and bring them out, and probably turn the property into a profitable real estate venture, judging from past experience.
The Five each took magical items from Khelben and set off on their way to provision and prepare for the trip. Khelben had given them the location of the cave and a preliminary idea of what the layout was like, if not an actual map, and an admonition to be very careful. Srihoz had faced many foes in the past, and greater than the Five. The Five gratefully accepted Khelben’s advice and began their journey.
After a evening to rest and prepare, the Five set out the next morning and traveled far to the north where the weather was cold and bleak. Along the seashore, on the edge of a cliff along a narrow ledge the Five found a door just as Khelben had described, covered in ice and all but corroded shut. After some effort, they forced the door open and were almost tossed into the sea by the blast of wind and decaying air that greeted them upon its opening. They overcame the ill effects of the nauseating funk in the air, and began their penetration into the depths of the dungeon, closing the door behind them.
The first room that they came to was filled with vampiric plants that attempted to kill the heroes and drain their life force. They overcame the obstacle, killing the deadly plants, and continued their journey through the crypt.

To Be Continued at a more reasonable hour.

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Artists may not always be starving, but they aren't usually serial killers, either

After being catapulted out of the realm of the formians, the Furious Five (less their compatriot Ailyn Siendil, who has been off wandering in ancient realms for lo these many months, the Five found themselves in the Ivy District, a rich neighborhood on the North side of Waterdeep. After taking an evening to rest up, and a day to sell their loot, they were approached in the marketplace by a servant of Asheron Coyl, a wealthy patron of the arts who lived in the area. The servant delivered a message from Asheron, a request to meet with him later that day to discuss “a mutually profitable business arrangement.”

Our players accepted the invitation and later that day went to meet with Asheron. When they arrived at his house, however, they saw a scene out of a horror movie. The front portion of the Coyl residence was in a shambles. The door, hanging from its hinges, was smeared with blood, and screaming sounds, punctuated by a slithering hiss, accompanied the sounds of a life and death struggle. Rushing in, the heroes saw two giant, tentacled creatures, one of which was holding the battered and dead body of Asheron himself.

As soon as they entered the room, the tentacled horrors attacked them. Taking relatively little damage themselves, the Five defeated the monsters in short order, but were stunned to see the creatures’ carcasses dissolve into large puddles of paint when they died. Upon questioning the surviving staff, the Five learned that just a short time before their arrival, a man that a servant identified as Darius Finch, aka The Well-Dressed Gentleman, delivered a package to Master Coyl. The package was a gift from an anonymous fellow patron of the arts, and as soon as Asheron took the paper wrapping off it, the tentacled horrors appeared and began their devastation.

Questioning the staff further, they learned that the deliverer, Darius, had mentioned that he had other similar packages to deliver as well.

The city guard had arrived by this time, and hired the Five to find and bring to justice whoever was delivering these paintings, and to stop further violence. Following leads, the Five chased Darius to three other locations, barely stopping the uncovering of the painting that had been delivered each time. At one point, even they got transported into a painting and had to fight their way through two chain devils and a soul harvester before getting out and rescuing a man named Endrik Archerus in the process.

Eventually, they discovered that the person creating and sending the magically trapped paintings was a certain Imron Gauthfallow, a gifted wizard with a surprising talent for painting. Imron used his past adventures for inspiration for his paintings, which won some acclaim at local art shows and contest. Unfortunately, though, he had no head for criticism, and felt great bitterness toward those who disliked his art. He finally lost control when he discovered that a local celebrity artist, Endrik Archerus, had been stealing his ideas and paintings through a spy that lived in Imron’s home. Angered at the dual treachery and audacity, Imron came up with a horrible plan for revenge and created the paintings that would spawn monsters when uncovered. He sent them to his greatest critics, and to Endrik himself. He also killed his servant by trapping him in a painting in which he was tortured and devoured by hell wasps.

The heroes travel to Gauthfallow manor and battle past two hell hounds to gain entry. While exploring the house and finding Imron’s magical paints and brushes, they fight two warriors who both look just like Imron, but who have very different personalities. One of them was very gentlemanly and rakish, while the other was a barbarian just short of a wild beast. They were curious about this, but did not let it daunt their courage or their determination to unravel the mystery.

After exploring the upper levels of the mansion, they find his private gallery in the basement, wherein they discover a haunted portrait and a magical portrait of health. Finally, after fighting a room full of animated suits of armor, all of which were armed with halberds, they find a hidden room in which the actual Imron has been hiding.

Lying on the floor of this final room, in front of a large life-sized wall portrait, the actual Imron was found, weakened and all but incapacitated, but protected by a shield guardian. He had trapped himself inside of this magical portrait, creating two copies of himself, (the rake and the wild barbarian), that went through the manor to attack any intruders. Now that the duplicates were destroyed, all of his plans revealed, and his evil deeds exposed, he was dejected and lost. He surrendered his shield guardian, and will allow himself to be taken into custody and turned over to the authorities.

In the end, the Five obtained some amazing treasures, not the least of which were the Portrait of Health and the shield guardian, both of which will take up places inside of the Lucky Monkey.

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Gonna Take An Inevitable Journey . . .

“Mr. Gaeta, spin up the FTL drive for a series of blind jumps . . .”

Brianne Byderath offered to teleport the party to the Warlock’s Crypt if they were insistent upon following Artor’s lead to solving their dragon eye orb karma problem. She also provided a few warnings regarding the risks of looking for and dealing with the ancient, powerful, and insane Larloch, but the party decided to go anyway.

They quickly started to question that decision when they arrived outside the Warlock’s Crypt. A veritable city teeming with undead “life” nestled between the Troll Bark Forest and the Troll Hills, south along the Sword Coast near Baulder’s Gate, the Warlock’s Crypt was anything but a welcoming sight. As they hid outside the circular city wall, the party witnessed undead creatures like an enormous NightWalker milling about. They decided their best approach would be to send a message, by carrier raven, to the tallest tower in the city in hopes that they might contact Larloch without actually having to set foot inside the Crypt. In a stroke of insight that might have also belied their simple intentions of talking, they decided to attach a scrying pin to the raven along with their message, so they could communicate with Larloch should he be interested in hearing their plea for help with gate travel to the Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus.

Nightwalker

The pin gave them a fleeting glimpse of what may be the oldest and most powerful being on Faerûn studying and making notes from a scroll, before Larloch the lonely, lunatic Lich Lord launched their little raven from the lofty ledge only to land limply at their location in a smoldering but salvageable lump.

Larloch

Moments later a lich lieutenant of Lord Larloch materialized, musing why mere mortals mustered the motivation to message his mysterious master.

The party explained their intentions, excessively name-dropping Artor Mortis, whose mention seemed to provoke a strong but not necessarily desired reaction, and as they hummed the undead song they had learned from Artor, the lich utilized a telepathic web to consult with Larloch before ultimately granting the party’s request, for reasons that they may never know.

In an instant they found themselves transported to another plane of existence, where they stood on what appeared to be a vast metal plain that extended as far as they could see. The sterile and cold place left the more chaotic members of the party feeling rather ill. The horrifying realization was dawning on all of them that they were now very far from home and had traveled with a one-way ticket. Alexander took to the sky on their dragon mount figurine, and quickly ascertained that they were on an enormous metal gear miles in diameter, slowly rotating, and that what could only be described as a massive metallic anthill fortress proved to be the only significant landmark in the vicinity.

Grateful they weren’t dropped on a smaller gear or torn in the teeth of several interlocking ones, the party decided to head to the fortress and upon approach, discovered formian guards and saw sufficient formian foot traffic to assume the hive was home to many hundreds of such creatures.

With surprising confidence that lawful creatures would have no reason to attack them unprovoked, they decided to talk to the guards and ask for directions or information about the magical orb they sought. With the help of a comprehend languages spell cast by a Karina, and a common-speaking myrmarch senior formian who happened to be conversing with the guards at the time, they were able to communicate.

The guards had very little information, and even less that they were willing to share, but the party was able to glean some important details: the queen of this colony was actively collecting magical artifacts, and so they might have the orb. Further, though the party couldn’t quite determine what it was, there seemed to be something wrong within the colony, perhaps an ongoing formian civil war. They developed a working theory that perhaps the orb they were looking for was causing these formians bad luck, and perhaps they could negotiate a trade for it, offering something of their own in exchange.

The formians indicated that their queen was uninterested in exchanges and simply took what she wanted, but the party wanted to speak to her in person and inquired about the circumstances under which the guards might allow that to happen. The guards said they would do so only if the party surrendered all of their weapons, equipment, and magical items to formian custody during such an audience, for the safety of their queen. The party debated the offer and attendant risks, decided to take some time circling the anthill and considering sneaking or fighting their way inside instead, had a hero’s feast from the boonbag, and then ultimately accepted the offer. They entrusted all of their possessions to the formian myrmarch upon his word of honor as a lawful creature that he would return their property. The party entered the hive under heavy formian escort.

No sooner had they wandered too deep into the bowels of the complex to hope to find their way out alone, then they heard the telepathic commands of the queen that they surrender or die, and either way she was claiming their magical items as her own. The party decided to fight, even completely unarmed, and the myrmarch who had given his promise that he would return their property (and who the party had affectionately nicknamed “Clickity-clack” because of the sound of his mandibles as he tried to convert his name into common) seemed to be having a crisis of conscience. The other formians immediately obeyed their queen and attacked the unarmed party. Alexander and Corwin were able to do some series damage unarmed, but Gofarian and Bren found themselves in an awkward situation, pleading with the myrmarch to help them.

Clickity-clack tossed the sack containing the party’s equipment back to them, and several of the formian guards tackled him as the party fought off a swarm of the creatures and Bren and Gofarian dug through the bag searching for their equipment, trying to find weapons and untangle a shield from several cloaks.

Clickity-clack took a formian spear to his chest, and the formian guards started tearing out the corridor supports in an effort to collapse the tunnel on top of the party! Karina healed and saved the myrmarch, who apologized to them for the actions of his queen, gave them rough directions to reach a prison part of the hive, and told them to run and find another myrmarch there who may help them, one that they could recognize because he had no antennae. He then plunged the spear back into his own chest, driving it right through his heart.

The party ran, carrying the bag of their own gear, as the corridor collapsed around them. They hurried to the area the myrmarch had described, and found themselves in a prison, with an antennae-less myrmarch locked in a cell. They slammed and barred the door behind them and began donning armor while talking to the pitiful creature, who told his story:

Once a great warrior and leader to his people, this formian had begun to suspect that an evil artifact was corrupting his queen, driving her on a mad quest to collect all the magical artifacts she could. She was no longer concerned with the laws and order of the colony, the lives of her people, or the expansion and survival that were the way of the formians. She was obsessed with accumulating objects, sending out drones to collect rather than build new colonies, and her people were suffering, stagnating, and slowly dying. Though sworn to absolute loyalty, he eventually began to doubt whether she was really his queen any longer, she was so completely controlled by the evil object that was altering her alignment. So he decided to take action. He found a magical item he called a “rod of return” that would send things back to the “place they considered home,” which he hoped would work on this evil object (a skull), because it seemed to have an intelligence. He cut his own antennae to sever his connection from the hive mind so the queen would not stop him. He planned to fight his way into the treasure vault, intent to send the skull back to its place of origin, but was unable to defeat the guards and was thrown into prison, where his life has only been spared because he was once a beloved hero, and so that he can suffer the shame and guilt of his mutiny and missing antennae.

Perhaps the greatest injustice, though, was that the party quickly dubbed him “Clickity-clack 2.” Alexander busted him out of prison with a shattering utterance, and the party, now equipped, re-opened the door to fight another legion of formians, with much less trouble given that they now had their full gear.

The myrmarch led them through the complex to the treasure vault via an indirect route to avoid any guards still connected to the hive mind. Fortunately, most guards had moved to the queen’s chamber to protect her, so the party met little resistance at the vault itself. The formian army was then alerted to their location, though, so they had to act fast. Corwin picked the lock, and they ran inside, locking and barring the vault behind them.

Clickity-clack 2 quickly located his mystical rod of return and the cursed skull, sending it back to wherever it had come from and giving him the solace he had sought for so long, that perhaps his colony might have a chance to survive, regardless of what then became of him.

The adventurers, on the other hand, were focused on a terrifying construct guardian that looked like a clockwork centaur resting on top of a small chest. When they approached, it rose and spoke with them. It was the very “inevitable” that had hunted down Jerimond for the cosmic crime of creating a second “outlet” orb to dispense the negative consequences of the good luck generating from the black dragon eye orb onto Corril Bynderath’s enemies. The forces of justice in Mechanus had created and programmed this inevitable and given it a magical “void box” to contain the negative energy orb. The void box blocked the functioning of the negative energy outlet orb, causing all of that negative energy to build up in reserve in the lives of those blessed by the “good” orb, and thus causing them to suffer the consequences of their good fortune whenever the orb was no longer with them, a fair result that the forces of Mechanus found acceptable.

The party tried to convince the inevitable to give them the box and let them return with it and put the two orbs together into the box, or perhaps help them acquire a second void box. The inevitable was uninterested in any of the party’s plans or proposals, however. It had had a sole mission, which was to collect the orb, place it in the box, and guard it. Mechanus no longer cared what happened to the other orb, since the scales were in an acceptable form of balance, but the inevitable was not about to let the party take the box anywhere. Even if they promised to keep the scales in balance and just solve the negative karmic energy build-up problem of their own, the inevitable had no reason to risk the possibility that they might be lying, might fail to do so before someone else took the orb away from them, or anything else might happen. It simply was unwilling to let the box leave Mechanus, and was more than content to remain in an evil formian queen’s treasure vault since it was the inevitable’s home plane and offered plenty of additional layers of defense for the magical orb.

The party debated leaving empty handed, since at least now they had new information and ideas about how they might craft a void box of their own for the other orb. Corwin was in favor of the idea, but was out voted, and the party decided that they really needed to collect the orb and box because it was unlikely they would ever be back and might need it if other solutions failed. They decided the inevitable was following set programming and would never deviate, but they could take the risk that Mechanus would not hunt them down if they did in fact keep the balance of justice with whatever solution they found for the two orbs. They engaged the inevitable in combat, who revealed two spiked electrically charged chains from its hands and fought ferociously in defense of the void box and orb. Facing its damage absorption and fast healing, they were fighting a losing cause until Karina cast an alignment-detecting spell and found a chaotic long sword among the other treasures in the vault. With Corwin flanking, Gofarian casting powerful spells, Alexander firing off overcharged Eldritch blasts, and Bren now able to deal out some serious punishment as well, they were able to bring down the inevitable just as the formian army reached the vault and started beating down the door.

As Karina picked up the void box and Clickity-clack 2 rushed over to strike each member of the party with his rod of return to send them home, they were overcome with a moment of greed and decided to raid what they could of the treasure vault. Perhaps it was their brief exposure to the very cursed skull that had plagued the colony, but each of them grabbed a handful of magical items as Clickity-clack 2 invoked the power of the rod to send them all back to Treefall. Their final sight of Mechanus was seeing the formian army descend upon the myrmarch hero who had sacrificed everything to save his people . . .

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Into the Crime Lord's Den

Following their rescue of several slaves and Corwin’s brother, Dalen, the Furious Five took a break in Waterdeep to rest, recover, shop, and seek healing for the freed captives. While there, they ran into their neighbor, the widow Brianne Bynderath. Her servant approached them in the marketplace and offered a formal introduction. Brianne had been curious about her neighbors, and increasingly interested in learning more after their successful exploits in the Underdark and recovering the dragon eye orb her late husband had gifted Treefall, protecting their community during the chaos of that episode. She was attending to “political matters” in Waterdeep, but was returning to Treefall and asked if they would like to travel with her.

The group enjoyed a pleasant return to Treefall as she entertained them with stories from her past and described the reason she had sought the party out. She needed help locating and recovering some of the treasure her late husband, the notorious Corril Bynderath, had left on their estate. She had grown to trust the party through their dauntless defense of Treefall, and thought they may be able to succeed where others had failed.

The party indicated a willingness to assist, so long as they got something in return. In the end, Brianne agreed to let them have any magical items they recovered and she would keep all the treasure (precious metals in bar and coin form, and jewels of any type). She was certain there would be some of both if they could uncover even part of the famous treasure stash.

Ever the aggressive and savvy negotiators, the party agreed to her terms, but also insisted on a right of first refusal to purchase the Bynderath estate should she decide to sell, and use of the outer structures on the estate for housing Bren’s growing personal army. She agreed to the latter request in exchange for promises of security and maintenance of her property and the surrounding community from Bren’s cohorts, and the group had a deal, at least in principle.

Still wary of a potential double cross, perhaps after being so thoroughly misled by someone claiming to be a Pyrette, they followed Brianne to her estate and enjoyed a meal prepared by one of her servants. After dinner, the treasure hunt began, which ultimately led them to a magically barred and trapped small chamber off of Corril’s personal wing of the mansion.

With Brianne’s significant magical skills, and Corwin’s luck and skill disarming traps, the party found themselves safely inside a small study containing, among other things, a magical desk and painting. The desk held numerous papers, contracts for protection money of questionable legality, and some of Jerimond’s writings. It also held a magical stone and several magic pins. Among the papers, they found references to a gang that Corril Bynderath had run known as the “Brotherhood of the Black Dragon” (or the “Black Brotherhood” for short). With Brianne and Alexander’s magical prowess and much experimentation and luck, the party was able to discover that the painting (of a luxurious clubhouse) was actually a portal that they could activate, and they stepped through into the very scene they had been viewing.

Their surroundings were impressive: a magical crackling fire, beautiful tables and chairs, an enchanted harp that played requests, a haunted board game that would provide an excellent challenge to anyone who wanted a match, permanently lit chandeliers, and a bar at the far end of the room. The four corners of the main room displayed ivory statutes of nude Amazon warriors in provocative poses and holding dangerous weapons (a sword, a spear, a bow, and a whip). The party cautiously explored some adjoining rooms, finding another small office for making business deals, two restrooms with large ever-flowing and always pure fountains, a storage room for foods and wines, and even a secret bedroom chamber, apparently for entertaining “special” guests.

While they explored the ambiance of the enchanted lair, Gofarian continued to search for other secret rooms, and found a closet sized treasure vault. No sooner had he opened it, though, than the four ivory statutes sprang to life in defense of the mysteries it contained. The party was scattered in different rooms at the time and the ensuing fight proved intense. The statutes seemed immune to most spells, leaving Brianne particularly vulnerable despite her considerable skill with arcane arts. The party rushed to her defense, overturning a table and urging her retreat as she suffered enough blows to bring her to the edge of death.

Statue

Corwin found himself entangled with a whip; Alexander was desperately searching for some magic, like a shattering utterance, that might slow down the construct guardians; Gofarian dealt some significant damage to several of the statutes but found himself at the precipice as well. Even Bren and his priestess cohort sustained far more injuries than they had seen in some time. As Brianne retreated backward through the portrait that had brought them to this dangerous place, the party thought they heard a muffled scream. They were too occupied trying to save their own lives to investigate, however.

Fortunately, Bren had a magical crystal in his weapon that allowed him to drive back the statues more effectively than most of the party. Corwin was knocked unconscious. Alexander was struggling to do minimal damage while drinking down potions to stay on his feet. As Gofarian found himself drawing what might prove to be his final breath, he slipped into the treasure vault he had discovered to buy time and come up with a plan. Much to his horror, though, once he closed the door, a disembodied Dwarven voice in the darkness (claiming to be the local bartender) started making small talk about the dire battle raging outside!

During the fight, several thought they saw something like a rock flung through the entry portal. As the final statue crumpled to dust from the combined assault of the entire party, they turned their attention back to the portal and the now missing Brianne. Unfortunately, the origination painting back in the study seemed to have been removed from the wall and placed face down on the ground. They could no longer see the room they had come from in the painting that hung in the den where they stood. It seemed they might be caged animals, trapped by someone on the other side holding down their only known exit. In fact, the rock that had been thrown in the room was attached to a hastily scrawled noted that confirmed their fears: “I have Brianne and she will die unless you start handing out the treasure.”

The party agonized over the situation and the mind-bending multi-dimensional problem they faced. Some unknown assailant had them trapped in what could well become their tomb if they did not hand over the treasure that they had nearly perished recovering in the first place. In a sign that he was not pleased with the delay as they debated, the origination painting was slightly lifted and a pouch of choking dust tossed into the room, causing them to cough and stagger for several minutes. A rough voice shouted in that they better start handing out the treasure or Brianne would die and he would leave them to starve and come claim the treasure later. After all, he said, he had already waited and searched for years.

Corwin promised to start handing out the treasure, and as they took bars of gold to the frame of the painting, the party developed a plan: they would use gravity and the differing dimensional positions of the portal paintings to fling themselves out of the room back into the study the moment their mysterious captor lifted the painting enough to try to pull out the bars of gold. The attacker tried to simply shift the painting rather than lift it, but Bren was successful in forcing his way out of the painting portal onto the floor of the study, with Gofarian close behind. Though he took a painful axe blow to his back, once on his feet, Bren and the party were able to quickly defeat and incapacitate the half-orc who had attacked them.

They found Brianne, still alive but bound and beaten, obviously not able to put up the kind of fight she would have had she not backed into her attacker and already been on the verge of passing out from the earlier fight.

They healed her and searched the treasure room, finding vast fortunes in gold and jewels, a magical Eastern dragon flying mount that could be stored as a small figurine, and an intelligent artifact: a mug that contained the spirit of a Dwarven barkeep, skilled at mixing drinks and dispensing unsolicited friendly advice.

The half-orc, they learned, was Worrik Barbora, a thief/fighter and former business associate of Corril Bynderath who had had a falling out with the crime lord. He knew about the treasure and had been hunting for it for some time, often stalking Brianne and waiting and watching for others to get close enough to the treasure that he could then take it from them.

The party discovered that the magical stone they had found earlier was a scrying stone, allowing the viewer to see and hear what was happening in the locations of any of the associated pins. Corril had given those pins to the leaders in his gang to keep an eye on his businesses. Jerimond had clearly crafted a number of fascinating artifacts that had been key to Corril’s financial successes.

Brianne gave the party the promised magical items (the mug, the dragon mount figurine, the scrying stone, Worrik’s magical axe, and the painting and its associated crime lord’s den with various enchanted objects within). The party begrudgingly kept their promise, as well, giving her all the treasure they had found.

Worrik had killed Brianne’s oldest and dearest servant and friend when he invaded the home and followed the party to the painting, so Brianne wanted him to suffer. Also, the party had suggested that publicizing Worrik’s capture might make it clear that the treasure had been found, that security was strong in the area, and justice is swift, thus reducing the number of low life thugs nosing around the Bynderath estate looking for easy money.

Worrik was still alive, so the next day the party celebrated their victory and placed Worrik on display in stocks in the Treefall town square. That evening they sent him with a band to prison in Waterdeep, but word is that the detachment never made it to Waterdeep. The guardforce that had come to take him away at Brianne’s request is now missing and presumed dead, and Worrik is missing and presumed ticked, perhaps bent on revenge, stealing the treasure he has hunted so long, or maybe recovering his axe.

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I'm Not So Sure She's Actually One of the Pyrettes, Corwin . . .

Following The Furious Five’s triumph over The Pyrettes to win the coveted Boonbag, the quintet returned to The Lucky Monkey to rest, recovery, level, shop, and soak in the adoration of their friends and new found fans.

Though Ailyn Siendil was off on a shaman quest tending to suffering familial spirits, the other members of the party spent a few days preparing for future adventures of their own.

Zola, grateful for her rescue and eager to use her unique talents and training, sought to offer her own rewards to The Furious Five, with a particular interest in Bren, who unfortunately for her seemed more content to focus on the “needs” of his own cohorts and urged her in the direction of Alexander instead.

Rosie Bramblefoot and Eliandur Suldusk overheard a small and sketchy band of newcomers to TreeFall talk of their interest in hunting down the rumored treasure of the Bynderath estate. Though the Bynderath widow had a tradition of visiting the property on a weekly basis, this group had noticed that no one had seen her for a few weeks, and had resolved to break into the property to treasure hunt if another weekend came and went with no sign of her. Rosie and Eliandur reported this information to Bren, hoping to receive some instruction on whether to pursue the band, bring them to justice, try to beat them to the treasure, or ignore it. Bren gave them the insightful and timeless advice to “keep an eye on it.” (In other words, don’t bother him until something important happens . . .)

A night later Gofarian spotted a suspicious though refined looking man in the atrium of The Lucky Monkey, admiring the recently placed statue of Corril Bynderath. Though elegantly dressed with the finest taste and a certain air of mystery, no one at the inn recognized him or even saw him enter, so they decided to approach and find out what they could.

Artor The man was remarkably charming, charismatic, talented, quite friendly, and finely attired, but simultaneously gave them a disturbing vibe, seemed to appear and disappear unexpectedly, looked almost inherently evil, and they got the distinct impression that he might be giving them important information and clues but he might also be simply toying with them and mocking them, particularly around 1:40 into the conversation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yunSRfnsVck

Though he did not introduce himself, he was surprisingly knowledgeable about each of them and claimed that fate was drawing the party together, and that commonalities existed which they shared with one another and with the location they chose to take up residence. He waxed philosophical, discussing law and chaos, “inevitable justice” and the checkered pasts or conflicting goals of many of the party members.

He mentioned that the party had drawn the attention of surprisingly powerful friends and enemies despite their youth an inexperience, and noted that the only reason he was at all interested in them was because of an inadvertent favor they (and more particularly Gofarian’s uncle) had provided him. With this revelation, the party surmised that they were speaking with Artor Mortis, a vampire who is “huge in Waterdeep,” as they say. More cautious than before, they listened to his probably self serving counsel that they should travel to Mechanus, the “Clockwork Nirvana,” and seek a second magical crystal orb that was created at the same time as the first, which currently resided in their atrium.

Artor alleged that the two were complimentary creations, and that as a crime lord, Corril Bynderath had them fashioned to simultaneously reward his friends with good fortune emanating from the blessed orb, and push the karmic consequences of those very blessings onto his enemies by secretly placing the cursed orb in their midst. Forces of law and justice in Mechanus deemed such a disparate treatment of two different groups to be so fundamentally unfair that they sent a powerful construct to hunt down the mage who had created the two orbs, kill him, and trap the cursed orb in a magical void box that denied the outlet of negative energy, undermining the intended function of the orbs to separate good and bad fortune and mete it out on different heads. As a consequence now, any within the influence of the good fortune of the blessed “dragon eye” will personally suffer the curses themselves that are building up in a reserve for the time that they are no longer regularly exposed to those positive energies.

Artor even offered a potential lead for reaching Mechanus: the incomprehensibly powerful LorLoch, the Insane Shadow King, had spent considerable time in Mechanus and was mastering gate magic.

Shortly after Artor disappeared, as mysteriously as he had appeared, one of The Pyrettes arrived! A beautiful woman claiming to be Edana Starfire sought an immediate audience with the Five and told how her company had been in the area vandalizing property (specifically this very tavern . . . for personal reasons), and were making their way back to Waterdeep, when they were ambushed by hobgoblins and demons who they must have upset during their last trip into Undermountain. This large and ferocious band of slavers had attacked as they camped and kidnapped Sunel Ross, the newest member and virtuous young sister of their party leader, Kenna. Fearing the worst imaginable fate for the young woman in the horrific underworld of slave traders operating in and around Skullport, most of the Pyrettes pursued their attackers while Edana returned to the Lucky Monkey to seek help.

With the mere mention of goblin related enemies and a beautiful, distaught woman pleading for their aid, the party quickly mounted up.

Though saying she had traveled to them in animal form, Edana offered to ride with one of the party members to show them the way back to her camp. Corwin Crimsguard got that honor.

Edana seemed to get lost trying to return to the location where she said the attack occurred, and accidentally stumbled into a dire bear that almost killed her and Corwin before the party could bring it down. Dire Bear

Quite unimpressed with Edana’s druidic skills, they tended to one another’s wounds and tried to refind the lost members of The Pyrettes. Edana urged the party to split up and fan out, and despite their initial hesitation, some of them felt almost compelled against their will to follow her reasonable suggestion. As Admiral Ackbar might have noted had he been there, things appeared to be increasingly different from what the party had been led to believe.

They were attacked by entangling ropes, hobgoblins, some sort of stunning mind blast effect, and a fireball. Improvising weapons and slaughtering favored enemies, they dispatched the ambush attempt surprisingly quickly. Gofarian was the only one to catch a glimpse of Edana after the encounter, so they pursued into the forest, still hoping to catch up with the Pyrettes and save them.

They tracked signs of hobgoblins to where Gofarian thought he saw Edana heading: the mouth of a small natural cavern. The cavern entrance sloped downward and led to a hobgoblin slaver shelter, but as they worked their way downward, they came across magical darkness, and the party asked Alexander to lead the way, given his Devil’s sight. He tripped a cage trap, however, which dropped a large free standing cell on most of the party. Trapped in the darkness, the party was hit with a fireball and then three sadistic demonic assassins attacked. Regularly missing their foes, the party took a number of injuries while they searched for a way to open the cage or elimiate the magical darkness that had them at such a disadvantage . . . Demonic Assassins

With some well placed “shatters” and some fortunate critical hits from Bren, his Cohort, and Gofarian, including some tide-turning attacks of opportunity and cage climbing gymnastics, the party defeated the assassins, all badly hurt but only Alexander pushed to the brink of death, having absorbed the brunt of the fireball.

They gained some clues into their attacker’s identity and intentions when a telepathic voice offered to release 30 captives, including someone dear to Corwin, in exchange for the party’s warlock. Mostly interested, as Corwin considered the offer, the others charged ahead, glimpsing a mindflayer who triggered some sort of trap to flood a slaver pit in the final chamber of the cavern before slipping through a secret exit. Corwin and Alexander rescued as many of the slaves as they could while Bren and Gofarian chased after the mindflayer. Gofarian quickly discovered the secret passage, but unfortunately he and Bren fell into a spiked pit trap and their attacker escaped into the night through a second cave exit.

Mysterious Attacker

Six slaves died in the flooding (caused by a decanter of endless water that Corwin was able to seal with a very fortunate use magical device check). Among the rescued slaves the party discovered Dalen Crimsguard, a paladin of Tyr and Corwin’s younger brother. Dalen had been tortured at length by his captors, and seemed to be unable to speak or comprehend anything happening. His mind had been enfeebled, and so they took him, the other survivors, and the treasure they found back to Waterdeep.

In Waterdeep, the party employed the services of the priests of Tyr to heal Dalen, and learned that he had had a dream of Tyr and a visit from a mysterious woman that both encouraged him to accept a mission for the church traveling to Waterdeep to gather intel on a demon hound who’s recent activities were of interest to Tyr. The mysterious woman seemed to know somehow that Dalen might run into his brother there, and gave him a wineskin to give Corwin containing a mysterious magical liquid that no one seemed able to identify.

While Dalen recovered from his injuries, choosing to stay at the temple despite the generous offer from his brother and the rest of the party to stay at The Lucky Monkey, the party divided up treasure and planned their next move, including giving a significant portion of the money to the slaves, who were random travelers from Turmish and neighboring areas all coming to Waterdeep for various reasons and who happily followed behind a paladin who was heading that same way, hoping for safety in numbers. One merchant in particular, Brandon, claimed that all of his wares were stolen and liquidated when the group of travelers were attacked, so the party gave him 1,500 gold for his trouble, which seemed to satisfy him.

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There and back again
A dungeon delver's holiday

The luck of the hamlet of TreeFall dramatically changed in the days that followed. Business was booming around town, including The Lucky Monkey which was finally making a profit. Petra and Cole Jenkins were married and took control of “Perkins Produce” down the street. The locals were fast becoming friends of the party, as well as regular customers.

Father Duvall (with the support of several other locals) petitioned the party to protect the Luck Stone in the atrium of the Lucky Monkey, allowing them to still benefit while providing protection from a similar incident reoccurring. The party reluctantly agreed.

Both Vangerdahast of Cormyr and Meerthan Eliothlorn of the Harpers offered bits of wisdom and well-wishing as the Furious Five prepared to find what destiny had waiting for them below the streets of Waterdeep. Corwin acquired a map to the fabled town of Skullport, but has divulged little of the story of how he got it. (Other than the more obvious bruises he could not conceal.)

Finally the Furious Five made their triumphant appearance at the Yawning Portal accompanied by Tranden and Zylo. Jenya tried to talk them out of their folly. The owner of the place, Durnan, lent the party Moxie—his magical folding boat, taken from the Boonbag, his own personal collection of adventuring gear. As Durnan was auctioning off this coveted collection of curiosities, the party resolved to beat of the Pyrettes, who currently held the winning bid.

The party was approached by Caroline, a weeping mother, whose infant son was taken the night before. She suspected the baby was stolen by goblins and taken into the Undermountain (through one of the many other entrances.)

The Yawning Portal

Tranden performed one of his ballads about the Furious Five as Durnan explained the rules, collected the entry fee, and lowered the party into the well.

Immediately upon reaching the ground they were approached by a woman. Zola was a slave from Thay whose band was attacked by vampires. She had been trapped for the past couple of days, able to hear the music above, but unable to communicate with anyone or understand how the hoist system worked. The party found magical means to communicate with her, gave her a note instructing Tranden and Zylo to escort her back to the Lucky Monkey, and helped her with the hoist fee.

After perusing the graffiti that lined the walls of the entry well, the party moved onward, carefully following their map. They had a variety of encounters along the way, including dead magic regions, animated caryatid columns, acquired a mostly-spent nonmagical blue candle. They encountered Dorn, Grim, and Malvar, three brothers who had set up something of a trading post in Undermountain. They wrestled with a Gelatinous Cube, a pack of wereboars, and a mysterious black curtain.

Eventually the party found its way to Zola’s camp, and decided to take a detour from their map. They followed the trail of blood further into the cave, arriving at the ornately decorated lair of Karlor, the vampire. In the brief parley that followed, Gofarian learned that his uncle Gofaur had a student named Taro, another Blade Singer. Taro fell victim to a vampire. When Gofaur learned this terrible truth, he felt it was his obligation, both to Taro and those whom Taro threatened with his Blade Singer skills, to hunt him down and finish him. Gofaur succeeded. In the final moments of the battle, Karlor (one of Taro’s thralls) took his fallen master’s sword, Raki, and used its last wish to banish Gofaur. He is not sure what happened to Gofaur, but he was confident that he would “never be vexed by him”, (as per the wording of his wish). ( This was approximately the same time Lysara, another one of Taro’s thralls stole the Lantern of Marloc and tried to escape.) Gofaur disappeared into a cloud of smoke. Karlor soon discovered that what Gofaur began, Gofarian would finish.

The party slew Karlor, his three Thralls, and another one of Karlor multi-armed corpse creations. Gofarian claimed Taro’s magical katana and several tomes on the art of the Blade Singer—a few of which were penned by his own Uncle.

The party continued on their quest, descending to the second level. In one chamber the party was surrounded by the shadowy spirits of lost adventurers. Ailyn chastised the spirits to protect the party, then defaced the hypnotic symbol that held the spirits captive. Hundreds of deceased adventurers whose souls were bound to that chamber are now in his debt. (The party as well—-anyone who gazed upon that symbol had it etched into their soul. Upon their death, their soul would return to the wander those halls.)

Ailyn’s aid proved critical once more when the party encounter a mud-filled pit filled with hostile mud elementals. A single word of chastisement from the Spirit Shaman banished the elementals destroyed the elementals. The party also encountered a Goblin which had been maliciously polymorphed into a kolbold. He guided the party to the portal underneath the mud, in exchange for assistance recovering a magic helmet. Unfortunately for Menok, the moment Bren discovered he was actually a goblin, their negotiation came to an abrupt (and brutal) end.
Following the portal to the third level the party unfolded and boarded the Moxie, and set out rowing upstream on the Sargouth river. They passed through the Vipergate, sped past a fortress full of orcs, and narrowly avoided an encounter with an army of kolbolds and eye tyrants. At long last, the Furious Five found their way to the gloomy docks of Skullport.
Skullport

Protected by their well-hidden Harper pins, the Furious Five briefly explored the city. The party found the slave auctions, and was able to bribe one of the slavers into letting them have a sick, unresponsive, but alive human infant without waiting for the formal auction. They discovered that Menok, the goblin they encountered earlier had in fact kidnapped the child in the first place, and sold him to the slavers.

Their most helpful guide was Hatspur, a charismatic priest of Cyric. He was able to direct the party to Sir Gareth Cormaeril and Elkrom.

After finding his office, the party literally stumbled into Sir Gareth. Gorfarian’s quick wit saved Corwin’s almost bungled attempt at planting Vangerdahast’s tracking pin. Sir Gareth’s genteel demeanor barely concealed his frustration and suspicion at the party’s presence in Skullport.

Alexander hoped that Elkrom, a mindflayer and priest of Mask, could shed some additional light on Kezef and his own family history. Elkrom gave no direct information, but his actions spoke loudly. Somehow Elkrom was able to discern who Alexander was, and recognized what valuable bargaining chip possessing an Eidolon would be. He immediately attempted to capture Alexander, starting a exciting (but very loosely detailed) chase through the streets of Skullport, a frantic launch of the Moxie, and a narrow escape through a special hidden hoist to a cave on the coast near Waterdeep.

Rushing back to the Yawning Portal, the Furious Five placed the winning bid on Durnan’s Boonbag by negotiating the Lantern of Marloc as part of the bid. They returned the infant (later named Gabac) to his grateful mother. The Furious Five’s triumphant return represented a significant upset in the betting pools, as a lot of money changed hands towards those who bet against the odds that the party could make it to Skullport and back. Although no formal encounter has yet been had, the gauntlet was thrown down, when the Pyrettes did the Furious Five the backhanded honor of burning their party insignia into the lawn of the Lucky Monkey. (A slap in the face, but it certainly did boost business.)

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Demons and Diapers
Meeting the Neighbors

A streak of bad luck settled on the small villa of TreeFall on the outskirts of Waterdeep. Despite the generous conciliatory efforts of the Furious Five, business at the Lucky Monkey was still slow. The weather was miserable. The price of vegetables had skyrocketed. Rumors of bandits were common. People were disappearing. Shensen, the Lucky Monkey’s general manager, had not been seen for days. Despite the Furious Five’s recent heroics, the locals seemed to be intoxicated with the exploits of a relatively new group of heroes in Waterdeep, the Pyrettes. Carnivorous Cal suggested switching to an all meat menu—perhaps with mock-vegetables composed of died meat patties. Again the party squashes Cal’s suggestion.

Gofarian’s research into the vampire duchess Lysara led him to rumors of a single extremely powerful vampire located in Waterdeep, Artor. Artor considers the entire city of Waterdeep his personal hunting ground. Even more interesting, a cabal of vampires have recently moved into town (in the last year or so) and begun a feud with Artor. Presumably, Lysara was (and Karlor is) a part of this group. The leader of this group is said to have a distinctively Eastern-style of combining both sword and magic.

Alexander discovered that Kezef, the Chaos Hound, is no minor demon dog—in fact the greater deity of Tyr, “the maimed god”, lost his right hand from an encounter with Kezef. Ailyn discovered some unsettling information as well. Tipped off when he noticed how his spirit guide’s shunned Alexander, Ailyn realized that somehow Alexander’s spirit and his body are misaligned. Almost like the disconnection when a body and soul are separated through death—they part ways. Somehow his soul and body seem disconnected, yet still travel together. It is as if Alexander doesn’t have “fate’s” permission to be alive. Ailyn explained to Alexander what he saw, but was at a loss of how to explain it. Alexander offered some clues from his own history, but still none can interpret Ailyns’s observations, or explain their implications.

Bren, anxious for promotion to a Purple Dragon Knight, sent a messenger to Cormyr asking permission to return and report. Before the messenger could have possibly arrived however, Vangerdahast, the Royal Mage of Cormyr made a surprise visit to the Lucky Monkey. He summoned Bren and his comrades to appear in the royal palace in Suzail.

Early the next morning the party and Vangerdahast gathered in the private quarters of the Lucky Monkey and teleported across the continent, directly into the Royal Palace. The wizard explained the normal pomp and circumstance accompanying a knighting ceremony was going to be forgone, due to a special secret mission the Steel Regent had for Bren.

As Bren went through ritual cleansing a prayer in preparation for the ceremony, the rest of the party was welcomed to discreetly explore the city. After being properly registered and peacebonded, the party hit the local market and filled their bags of holding with fresh vegetables. The picked up an application for the Society of Stalwart Adventurers (the application fee is 1000 gp). Ailyn also unsuccessfully sought spirit guidance from other local spirit shamans.

Bren’s ceremony was only attended by Vangerdahast, Alusair the Steel Regent, and the infant King Azoun V. Even Bren’s mother—still in active service as the leader of the Red Ravens was not able to make an appearance. The ceremony, although fulfillment of a lifelong passion for Bren, was unremarkable for the rest of the party. Bren was promoted to SwordCaptain, the first officer rank of the Purple Dragons, received his White War Coat, and received an extensive discourse on the Code of the Purple Dragons.

After the ceremony, the Steel Regent explained that they are concerned about a possible assassination attempt on the King—he has reached the same age as his uncle Foril, who was assassinated by Fire Knives. Bren was charged with taking the king and returning to Waterdeep to watch over him for 48 hours, until the danger had passed and the traitors could be routed out. The rest of the party was sworn to protect the king with their lives as well. The parties’ Harper pins helped to establish their integrity. (The party also learned that Bren’s connection to the king was much closer than they had every imagined.)

Moments after returning to the Lucky Monkey, they realized the inn was under attack. Two hideous spiny creatures were attacking customers and help staff below. Bren stayed upstairs to protect the king, while the rest of the party ran down to attack the creatures. In the process of dispatching the creatures, Alexander nearly killed one the customers with a stray eldritch blast. The bodies dissolved into sticky puddles on the floor.

Outside, the party heard a scream from the market square and sent Zylo to investigate. Zylo returned to report blood near the fountain. In the morning, the party decided to split up and investigate what was happening in the town.

The Furious Five decided to concoct a story about an out-of-town girl dropping the baby off on the door step and allow Corwin and Alexander to aggressively deny fatherly responsibilities, while Bren nobly cared for the bastard child while his parentage was sorted out.

TreeFall’s self-appointed patron saint is the deceased Carril Byndraeth—a major crime lord in Waterdeep. The center of town had a fountain statue of him with one foot on a black dragon, and holding up a large glowing crystal.St carril

They met Oakley Perkins, the owner of the local vegetable market, and the father to Sally, the young girl killed the night before. His wife Karen, and older daughter Petra were not available for comment, although the party did catch a glimpse of Petra, and noticed a bruise on her cheek.

A farmer, Fredrick Wilson, invited the Furious Five to join the men of the town in a late-night hunt to search for bandits/monsters. The party volunteered to coordinate the hunt from the Lucky Monkey. Later they spoke with the local Priest of Tyr, Father DuVall, who invited them to a night time vigil to pray for the town’s protection. Bethany, the oldest resident and town gossip, filled the party in on much of the town’s history and current residents.

The party tried, unsuccessfully, to find Cole Jenkins, the boy most of the town thought was responsible for the bandit activity. His father was frustrated to find that he was not as “grounded” as he had intended.

Talking to Zylo, the party discovered that he had met Cole (one of his friends) the night before, and had never actually made it to the town square before running back to the Lucky Monkey in fear.

That night the party, including Bren with the king strapped to his back, rallied the monster hunt at the Lucky Monkey. Suddenly, as the sun set, most of the men from the town turned into the same sort of spiny monsters that had appeared in the inn the night before. The party was forced to cut through their own neighbors to protect themselves and the king.

They rescued Petra from her father, who had also turned into a monster and killed his wife. (He had also killed Sally the night before.) Petra ran off to meet Cole. The party found the church surrounded by creatures, and climbed the rear chapel wall to get in. Father Duvall asked the party to help retrieve the journal of Jerimond, (Carril’s mage), which was rumored to be stored underneath the statue in the center of town. Corwin distracted the creatures long enough for the party to retrieve the documents. DuVall was then able to help explain what was happening.

Years ago, Carril removed the eye from a black dragon and had his mage Jerimond craft it into a powerful luck charm. This charm was responsible for his massive fortune (which is still rumored to be hidden somewhere in his estate where even his widow, Brianne, has not been able to find it). What Carril did not anticipate was the extreme misfortune that he would suffer the minute he lent the charm to another. The black dragon, it turns out, had not been killed, and found that moment for revenge.

Jerimond took the charm and enchanted it to benefit the whole region. He built the memorial fountain in the center of town and placed the charm there. In the 20 years since, the TreeFall area has been extremely prosperous. Bountiful crops, fantastic weather, lucrative business, and beautiful children were all commonplace in TreeFall.

The party discovered that the gem had been replaced with a replica, enchanted with illumination and nothing more. Unless the original stone was returned, for the next 20 years TreeFall would be cursed with terrible luck —- including suffering nightly visits from Mathorns, the spiny monsters into which the long-term residents of the village kept transforming. The journals also explained where Jerimond’s personal stash of treasure was hidden in the Byndraeth estate.

On a hunch, the party picked up Petra’s trail, and followed it straight to Jerimond’s tower. There they encountered Cole, his buddies, and Petra herself. Petra begged for mercy, explaining that she and Cole had just wanted to run away together, and had stolen the gem from the town square to help finance their flight. Most of the teens were easily subdued, but Cole’s miraculous luck would have allowed him to get away, had the party not persuaded him that his thievery had caused the very suffering he was running from. He surrendered.

Cole climbed the fountain and replaced the stone, but immediately slipped and broke his leg. Wet and cold, he caught a sickness that would have killed him had it not been for Father Duvall’s mercy and Petra’s constant care.

Now that luck was once more protecting the town, the party returned home. There they found the Company of the Cross and Skull aggressively positioned outside the Lucky Monkey. Their 9-fingered leader explained that they had been hired by Darrin Bleth, a Fire Knife, to attack the party. Darrin somehow knew about Bren’s secret charge. The party convinced the Company of the Cross and Skull to work with them, and pretend to battle while they, the Furious Five, attempted to ambush Darrin. The plan, however, didn’t work as well as they had hoped. In the end, the leader of the Company of the Cross and Skull took the poisoned dagger meant for Bren. The Company made the killing blow and dispatched the invisible Fire Knife as he tried to tumble away.

Bren discovered that the Fire Knife had been working with Sir Gareth Cormaeril, a distant relative. They also found Shensen. She had locked herself into a storage closet when she discovered she was one of the monsters, and was happy to be rescued once the ordeal was over.

Vangerdahast returned to take the child. He thanked the party for their service, giving Bren a Purple Dragon Ring, and paying the rest of the party handsomely. They discovered that the child they had been protecting was not the king, but was another child in disguise. They entire ploy was staged to lure Sir Gareth into making a move against the crown—a trap which he fell into easily.

For a variety of reasons, the Furious Five have decided to venture to Undermountain. Bren’s new orders are to hunt down Sir Gareth in his secret office in Skullport, and bring him to justice. Alexander discovered that there is a cult in the same town that may have more information about the legendary hound, and the interest it may have in his family. Gofarian found evidence that the cabal of vampires he is looking for has been operating out of Undermountain. Aiyln had a dream suggesting that the Yawning Portal is part of his spirit quest.

Tranden, the senior stable hand and regular evening entertainment, has done his best to introduce songs featuring the adventures of the Furious Five, but the crowds still demand ballads about the Pyrettes. Recently the Pyrettes returned from a quest in Undermountain themselves. Apparently they discovered a new branch of the cave, slew a dragon, and claimed the most lucrative treasure haul coming from the Undermountain in years.

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A Tangent of a Tangent
It's all in a day's work.

The “Furious Five” spent the next couple weeks in recovery and revelry spending their reward money from their rescue of Waterdeep.

Once all the updates were complete, the Lucky Monkey was once more opened for business. Shensen, the acting manager, re-staffed the inn, and orchestrated an opening celebration. The opening was not the success they had imagined however. The dismally attended celebration was interrupted by rocks and animal feces being thrown through the windows. Outside the building had been vandalized with hateful comments towards the drow Shensen and the Fey-touch Ailyn. The party ran down and questioned a couple of out-of-town thugs dressed in ape suits who had been terrorizing the neighborhood. The thugs had been hired by Thorn Tlassalune, the manager of the Stone Stallion in a neighboring Amphail. He planned a special, carefully advertised “Victims of the Lucky Monkey Massacre memorial service” and added a bit of his own “guerrilla-marketing” to insure the Lucky Monkey opening day was a bust. The party took the ape suits, turned the thugs into the authorities, and planned a little pay-back.

The “Furious Five” resolved to pay special attention to the victims, offering belated compensation for funeral expenses and special perks at the inn. They also devised an appropriate memorial to be constructed in the atrium itself. (They also squashed “Carnivorous Cal’s” suggestion at immortalizing the victims in the names of the dishes served.)

Ailyn’s spirit guide led him to a nearby stream, where he was met by Lilly, a Nixie, who plead for his help righting a great wrong in her home waters—the river Dessarie. The corrupted hotsprings of Death Shallows had become home to a great evil. Tales speak of a terrible immortal creature, Kezef, the “Chaos Hound,” who rested in that spot, and forever tainting the ground with his hatred. Alexander Eidolon had a letter suggesting one of his ancestors was pursued by a beast matching that description.

Fortunately, the Death Shallows was conveniently on the way to Amphail, where the “Furious Five” had some fury to share with Thorn.

On their way, the party came across a caravan being attacked by a band of ghouls. They dispatched the ghouls without much effort, although a mysterious onlooker escaped into a cloud of smoke. The Duchess Lysara praised them, and offered them reward when she returned to her uncle in Goldenfields. She explained he was on a journey from her kingdom in the Moonshae isles, to experience the world before assuming her role. She begged the party to escort her the rest of the way, since the ghouls had wiped out most of her guard.

Lysara's carriage The party agreed to escort her as far as Amphail, and help her find safety there. Moving through the foothills proved to be dangerous, however. Bren’s keen instincts helped to thwart an ambush by bugbears. Two human mercenaries fired down on the party from above, killing the last of Lysara’s soldiers, Phineas. In the fray a goblin snuck into the Duchess’s wagon and teleported away with a magical lantern, despite Gofarian’s wild groping. The humans were captured and questioned, but remained silent (or unconscious) in the face of Gofarian’s harsh questioning technique.

Bren tracked the attackers back to their base camp, a ruined abbey a couple of miles away.

There the “Furious Five” engineered a masterful attack on the camp, leading a large contingent away, charging in, killing one guard and the cleric “Father Marko” mid-spell during their opening volley. It was only then that they noticed the cleric was actual a worshiper of Chauntea, the goddess of the Harvest. The group was actually the “Company of the Cross and Skull”—a group of good-aligned mercenaries that specialized in hunting the undead. They had mistaken the party as minions of Lysara, a vampire they had been tracking for some time. Apparently she had run from her home, taking an extremely valuable artifact with her, the Lantern of Marlok. The Lantern is specifically designed to protect the undead from divination magic, as well as shield them from the effects of the sun.

The Company of the Cross and Skull had been granted the use of some Bugbears by a person representing a group called the Fire Knives. Apparently the Fire Knives have been active in the Waterdeep area trying to win the favor of the government and local leaders, as well as making treaties and bargains with local goblin-kind. Their true motives were unknown to the Company. Eventually the two parties came to terms with their mutual misunderstandings, and agreed to work together against Lysara.

They arrived back at the caravan too late. Lysara and her true minions had been killed by another vampire – Karlor. Karlor, unleashed a new group of ghouls and a horrifying multi-armed corpse-thing on the combined parties to retrieve the lantern. Attacking with incredible strength and four fists, the thing killed Shiva, the leader of the Cross and Skull, and almost killed Gofarian. In the confusion Karlor followed his senses to the lantern, claimed it and escaped. Lysara had spoken to Gofarian of another Fighter-Mage acquainted with her uncle in Goldenfields. Of course, now that Lysara has been exposed as a vampire, story may have been just part of her manipulation. The Company of the Cross and Skull departed back to Waterdeep, with the bodies of Shiva and Father Marco. There they could regroup and decide how to fill their sudden vacuum of leadership.

With ever urgent pleading from Ailyn’s crow, the party moved on to the Death Shallows. His spirit guide gave Ailyn vital (even if misspelled) clues about the strategy of the evil “Ooze Weird” which had inhabited the largest of the Acidic ooze pits. The weird evoked a dazzling display of high powered magic at the party—including turning Corwin to stone. Fortunately it never got to the fifth spell that Ailyn’s spirit guide warned of—the Horrid Wilting. Through concentrated effort, the party (including their Nixie allies Lilly, Puck and his troops) fended off the mephits and elementals while doing enough damage to the weird to force it to retreat to its home plane. The mephits and elementals followed, escaping through the portal in the bottom of the ooze pit before it closed forever.

With some creative excavating, the Furious Five were able to recover several magic items and gems preserved at the bottom of the acid pits. One of the items was a magical ring inscribed with Alexander’s family name—Eidolon—a foreboding remnant of the dark battle that plagues his family. Lilly and Puck were overwhelmed with gratitude toward Ailyn for his service and promised to return the favor someday.

Weary, battered, and bloody (and in one case, stone), the party finally found their way to the door of the Stone Stallion. Let’s just say the “Furious Five” left an impression on the owner, Thorn, that he is unlikely to forget for a long time.

Back at the Lucky Monkey, business had picked up a little. After a few gems paid for a “Stone to Flesh” spell, Corwin was so excited that he accidentally sprayed a half a bottle of ale all over his pants.

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An Underground Amusement Park
Another possible business venture?

While making plans to refurbish the inn, the party becomes allies of the Harper’s. For saving the life of the Harper agent at the inn they received Traveling Cloaks and Lesser Harper Pins. The storms around Waterdeep are still raging and the water level is still rising. Jenya asks them to find the missing wands to save the city; she casts a divination spell to assist the heroes in their search. They also begin their own search and soon find rumors of the red haired lady,Triel, being a city guard about 10 years ago. She was released because of her violent temper and disappeared. While exploring leads around the city they eventually make contact with a petty thief and fence named Artus Shemwick. He contacted them through a note given to the party’s warlock, Alexander. He gave them the entrance location, and information that she had joined with two others and they plan to ransom the wands back to Waterdeep for a fortune.

The party heads underground through an old lava tube and soon find themselves overlooking an expansive cavern filled with the ancient ruins of a forgotten race. The ruins are stable but look as if stout Dwarven designs were allowed to partially melt. This was not caused by some cataclysmic accident but by design of the builders. At the end of the tunnel they find a small overlook to the cavern with a guard/winch room for the tram correcting the overlook to the rest of the ruins on the beach below. After disposing of the guard detail they make their way down by various means. The Warlock spider climbs down; the swashbuckler and thief do fancy rope work to descend and the rest take the tram down. Several of the more business minded members of the party, flush with excitement from the Inn Renovation thought that they could turn this next conquest into an underground amusement park.

They quickly discovered the ruins were trapped and made their way inside watching for traps in every room. They discovered several more thugs and thieves like they encountered at the inn. As they worked their way through the ruins they found Triel and her two partners had divided the compound into three areas. They encountered Triel first, then Tarkilar, another evil priest who became a huecuva as a result of a botched magic experiment.

After defeating two bad guys the group was pretty exhausted so they barricaded themselves in a cavern and rested for the night.

Part Two

The group found the treasure room guarded by two dwarven Spawn of Kyuss. The fear effect of the Spawn scared several members of the party, but they managed to overcome and get a nice treasure. They then moved into the southernmost part of the ruins and into Skaven’s portion of the fortress.

They also discovered a huge room that had been a workshop of some kind. There was residual magic connected to the Conjuration, Abjuration, and Necromancy schools in the room as well.

Skaven had a particular fondness for spiders and their ilk, and as such there were plenty of spiders (both living and undead) as well as ettercaps to deal with. His favorite pet though was a Harpoon Spider the party found him in the Spiders lair and made short work of Skaven and his pet. All along the way they managed to recover all the wands that were made for the city.

They quickly made their way back to the city and managed to save the city. Jenya paid them their reward and they managed to sell their treasure and valuables off, with the help of Alexander’s nice merchantile knowledge and their new fence Artus they made quite a tidy profit.

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