Dark Faerun

Session 41: The Festivus Approaches

In the week leading up the the annual celebration of the original siege of Valderin’s Gate, each adventurer prepared in their own way.

Xarrai chose to reach out to the steam mephit Fwar and the smoke mephit, Poe, to request that they assist him during the challenge of the Copper Cauldron. He spent his week with Faelar investigating the foods and drinks of Valderin’s Gate, spending coin and carousing with the high and mighty and lowly and plentiful. He visited the charcuterie in the financial district known as the Broker’s Cup, the exclusive bistro known as the Royal Kitchen, and the come-one-come-all-pay-as-you-want oddity locals flock to called The Stables. He purchased rare ingredients and created both a sweet, smoky caramel additive and a savory demi-glace to add to his ‘secret ingredients’ for the Cauldron, alongside his Hellfire peppers.

Accompanying him, Faelar used these gustatory journeys to further his own goals; to discover tales unique to Valderin’s Gate and the history of the city. He tracked down many who claimed to be ‘descendants’ of heroes past, and filtering through the stories, found two names consistently popping up: Harn, a warrior of renown who came to defend the city from outside, and Urja, a city-mother cum healer figure. He learned of one particular story entailing how the two first met, and the resulting paths it sent them on.

Vahn spent his week drinking with the Peacekeepers, guardsmen, and judges of Valderin’s Gate. Rubbing shoulders and sharing cups with the city protectors from all walks of life, he sought to learn of the city’s justice system, where it was strong, and where it fell short. He made many acquaintances, and several friends, including the walkway patrolman, Captain Orgonn, Magistrate Lyra, and a lowly supply clerk named Pantolin. Orgonn spoke of potion dens he wished he could investigate but that he did not have evidence for, Lyra complained about price-gouging from Cortranaa and Sharoar, merchants from Harn’s end, that caused localized starvation in certain ghettos of the city, and Pantolin merely spoke of his job and the wastefulness of government, only realizing how truly encompassing the corruption was when Vahn began to ask pointed questions.

Aside from his carousing, Vahn also went shopping for new armor. Consulting his new contacts, he discovered that the best smith in town, by far, was Shriek Zircon, an earth genasi woman in the industrial district. Heading to her shop he found a cacophony of banging metal and hissing steel as Shriek directed her choir of seven apprentices, scolding her ‘children’ to work harder and faster, though not a one had seen a day under 30 in years. Negotiating with the terse genasi, he managed to trade his commander’s Chain of Command and some gold for a set of plate, specially crafted to reflect his commitment to Hoar. His bargain, in part, was successful due to Zircon recognizing the handiwork of his armor’s craftsman, and her obsession with the individual, an Imperial tiefling smith named Nephicus. Returning to Xarrai with this information, Vahn returned to her shop with his devilfriend the next day, who presented a dagger gifted to him by his father. Seeing the mark of Nephicus upon it, Shriek knew the dagger for what it was and appraised it immediately, telling the both of them that she would pay top coin or work for any other pieces they could find.

Asade spent the week spreading the fame of the “Thunder Lizard” far and wide throughout the city, seeking out pit fights and ranked bouts with the city’s contenders. After defeated Jarrod, the acknowledged champion of the local boxing ring, in a humiliating matchup, she took his belt and paraded through the city, following up her victory with two more, in the Spear-Circle dueling ring and at the ‘Gauntlet’ in the lower city. The Thunder Lizard is no longer an unknown quantity in Valderin’s Gate, and some already whisper of the dark horse fighting out of Jarren’s Outpost.

Ke’shin chose to utilize his time in a different fashion. Rather than prepare for the winning the competition, he chose to prepare for the AFTERMATH of winning. Contacting Elania, Obould, the Jarl of Lug River, Thorfinn, and Jess in Jarren’s Outpost, he requested that they all come to cheer on the group of adventures. Having them present should lend weight and legitimacy to Obould’s presence and present a united from for an alliance should the adventures win and manage to beg their boon of “more direct conflict with the Empire, in alliance with the rest of the Fringe.” It was through Ke’shin’s contact with Elenia that the aid of Fwar was requested for Xarrai, and the presence of Poe made possible through Elenia’s knowledge of the arcane magic constraining the refined imp and how to adjust it.

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Session 40: Introduction to Valderin's Gate
Prepping for Festivus

Waking in the Grove of Howling Shadows, Asade was approached by her Archdruid with a request: seek out the leadership of Valderin’s Gate and offer them infused bluedrops in exchange for the city resuming their settlements east of the city. The druids need people living there to extend the border against the undead, and the bluedrops could be incredibly useful to the military of Valderin’s Gate.

Ke’shin opened a portal to the College Arcana in Valderin’s Gate, and the group visited the Fringe metropolis for the first time. Met by the Head Librarian, Cyril Augustus Oglethorp, the group was led through the twisting decadent hallways and the outdoor arches of the floating mage stronghold. On the way, he gave them a brief introduction to the city and its culture.

Taking a magical outdoor lift, governed by trained, levitating gemback tortoises, the adventurers landed in the Skybaazar and set out toward the large marble building known as the Halls of Justice. On the way, however, they got hungry, and asked Ke’shin to recommend them a place with good food.

He led them to the Tenderloin, a streetside restaurant run by Bertrand, a large half-elf with a giant red curling mustache, a deep ready belly laugh and a fondess for odd customers, Ke’shin included. He whipped them up dishes to order and even named a new one described to him by Faelar after Xarrai (due to the necessity for flambe). He asked the adventurers if they were in town for the Festivus, a yearly festival commemorating the first grand defense of the city, where competitors pit their martial and magical skills against one another. Winners of the daily competitions are allowed to fight in the ‘Grand Melee,’ the winner of which is allowed to beg a boon of the current Padisah, Cassius III, Grand Patrician of the Gate.

After much discussion over food, the group hatched a plan. They would enter this Festivus, have one of them win, and use that boon to ask Valderin’s Gate to take a more active stance against the Empire, potentially getting them to actually declare war, rather than rely on their isolated geography to keep them safe. With the conclusion of this plan, THEN they would take Asade’s offer to the Halls of Justice, with the full weight of heroism behind them.

The session ended with the heroes each deciding how to use the week leading up to the Festivus to prepare.

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Session 39: The Home of Asade
"Narbaby, why are you always so aggressive?"

The group journeyed to the Grove of Howling Shadows, Asade’s home grove. It was great. I’ll fill in the details later, they’re memorable.

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Session 38: Home Base and Tiny Blue Men

You guys met Poe ‘The Unimpressively Timid’ Rawf, a smoke mephit bound to your new home. He cooks, he cleans, and he hulks out when people threaten the homestead.

Found a quickling. Killed a quickling. Took his adamantine weapon. Burned the plants surrounding his house, which was a weird jumble of magical pipes. Made it to the edge of Asade’s grove.

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Session 36: Viva La Revolution!

Y’all invaded the keep, poisoned the mages, and then systematically slaughtered them. ’Grats.

Highlights: Asade’s “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” moment.
Tyranasaurasade fucking up Mr. Wizard, hard.
Vahn bathing in glorious revenge-fire.
Faelar telling the princes wassup in the most Mafia moment yet.
Xarrai setting various wizards on fire and then EXPLODING amid all of them, successfully.
Ke’shin was also there, and magicked, and counter-magicked.

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Session 37: The Heroic Promenade
"I'm in charge now."

There was a parade! The heroes were thanked.
The Jarren’s daughter took control of the town.
Barbarians appeared to the sound of a giant horn!
Everybody made friends and partied!
Asade meets a cool druid child with a dog! His name is Bo.
Vahn & Ke’shin inspect a giant demon horn; turns out it’s partly made or organic ferrous material.
Xarrai performs a FANTASTIC magical show of legerdemain, and children follow him for the entire party afterwards.
Faelar tells the story of the party to a rapt audience and begins a bardic circle.
Y’all found a new house that you own, with loot, cool rooms, and a magic circle.

THE END.

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Distraction versus Destruction
The saviors argue the morality of their methods.

Up the heroes went via the magical device of Gond, arriving in the supply room of the brewery. Passing obviously disgruntled kitchen staff, they snuck out of the brewery, finding dozens and dozens of soldiers drinking and partying. Making their way through and ‘blending in’ they left in search of either the Jarren’s daughter or Mad Samar, both of whom
Lazarus said were missing.

The town itself was relatively quiet, the streets bare, smoke rising from several portions of the Outpost. They passed some homes that had been broken into, others that were barricaded. They saw a child playing outside swept up by a mother who cried out fearfully about the town curfew.Deciding to head to the bar where the ‘Thunder Lizard’ was a big damn hero, they ran into a trio of guards who nearly chose to attack them, being out past curfew, but were spared combat by a familiar buff barmaid running out and claiming them as patrons she’d sent to find more water.

Once inside, they questioned her, and found her to be friendly, but guarded. As Vahn and Asade tried to pump her for infoabout the town, Ke’shin sent a magical message to the Jarren’s daughter, telling them they were downstairs. A door on the second floor opened and a figure in white stepped out, causing EVERY patron of the bar to thrust back their chairs and draw steel, pointing their weapons at the party.

“Who was that!?” the figure asked. Ke’shin sheepishly raised a hand, the rest of his party completely in the dark. After a few tense moments, the situation resolved as everyone realized they were friends. The party made use of Jessie’s powers as a seer to locate where Lazarus was being held, and the group sat down to plan his rescue.

A prolonged argument over the merits and morality of distraction versus destruction occurred, showing that the differing schools of thought may have been creating a rift between party members. After much arguing over method,the adventurers each retired. Xarrai was visited in his room by Samar, who petitioned for his help in recovering a poisonous mushroom. Ke’shin discovered the last form of the Gond device to be an alchemy set, and he showed them before they left. Faelar spent the night discussing the finer points of ‘ruling well’ with Jeslyn, while Vahn was visited by Doma, the buff barmaid, who told him Samar was fetching the poison, and that she expected him to avenge her city.

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More Dead Modrons
"I can FLY again!"

Decaton.JPG

Before making the final push into the last layer of the Modron hive, Ke’shin decided he wanted to inspect the “magic-draining shelves” in the storeroom. While everyone else cautiously walked into another room, Ke’shin attempted to sever one of the cable with Asade’s sickle. Having some trouble at first, he eventually succeeded, drawing the attention of the Distintegrator within. Cables shot out from the wall to pierce him in various places, and began to drag him toward the shelves. The group had a few tense moments as a bear-form Asade firmly cuddled Ke’shin, preventing further movement, and the group cut the cables holding him. Rogue Squadrone ran in, screaming, flustered and angry that they were attacking another poor creature just doing its job.

Disintegrator arm attained, the group moved forward. Greeted at the bottom of the stairs by a pair of pentadrones, Vahn suggested they simply let them pass. One pentadrone retreated to receive orders, and returned, motioning the group forward, inviting them to follow, staring hungrily at Vahn’s hammer. After following them for a bit and talking to them, Vahn said with resignation “You’re going to take my hammer, aren’t you?” and combat initiated. Inside the chamber, awaited the Decaton.

After a long fight of killing Modrons, taunting the Decaton while it tried to stomp Vahn, heal its minions and steal the hammer imbued with Gond’s magic, the group finally defeated the giant mechanical monster with a polymorph spell. The state of the defenseless modron actually initiated an argument between Vahn and Asade as the group argued the morals of the killing they were about to commit. Finally they readied themselves, and attacked the creature, managing to overcome its last bit of strength…at which point Rogue Squadrone began to glow. Burning with golden light, he transformed into a Decaton…but retained his own sense of self. He explained that the Decaton must ALSO have gone rogue, explaining the violent behavior and his own transformation. He asked the group if they knew anyone who needed a good welder, and, thinking of Lug River, the group collectively grinned, and carried him back to the entrance as a polymorphed turtle.

Continuing down the hall, they group trekked for miles underground before coming to another large, round metal globe supported on a stone pillar, an imprint of a tiny gear the only visible mark on its surface.

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Session 33: Tri-, Quad- and Pentadrones, oh my!
Wait, if modrons get promoted when we kill them...

The adventurers blasted through two tiers of the modron base, discovering an important fact: if you kill a modron, a modron of lesser rank is promoted, and another is promoted to replace that one, and so on, all the way down the line.

“So kill them in a very specific order!” shouted an unusually aggressive Faelar.

Rogue 5quadrone explained to the group that this facility was a forward base for setting up and maintaining a portal to the plane of Mechanus, the home of the modrons and their god. Every 17 cycles of 17 years (so, once every 289 years) the modrons march across the place, gathering information. While not necessarily aggressive in nature…they tend to follow their intended path no matter whats in the way…often causing substantial chaos. Gond sealed the facility to prevent the march from occurring near his followers, presumably the ones in Lug River, or their forebears.

After destroying a number of monodrones and duodrones on the first floor, Vahn prizes loose an enormous gear from the wall, causing the mechanism to jam and fling gears and sprockets of all sizes into the abyss. Throwing it down the only visible stairs to the rooms below, just behind a fireball cast by Xarrai, the group appears to have caught many of the upper-tier modron with their pants down…creating a pocket of room for them to plan while they descended and the modrons were promoted and took time to reassess the situation.

On the next level they continued to wade through modrons of a variety of ranks, including the three-speared tridrones, flying and archery-inclined quadrones, and paralyzingly pugilistic pentadrones.

After clearing the entire level, Rogue 5quadrone led them to a supply room where magical items were drained for power, where he searched in vain for materialized modron wings to fix his own, and where Ke’shin did manage to find a working Immovable Rod.

The party decided on a short rest before pushing forward to the final area, the Portal Chamber, the lair of the Decaton.

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Session 32: Modrons and More!
Tales of Rogue 5quadrone

After a night of partying and effort, the adventurers planned their journey to Jarren’s Outpost over breakfast. Confident in their plan to walk into the city first and attempt to free Lazarus peaceably, Ke’shin used a Sending spell to contact him. He discovered that Lazarus Is in considerably more trouble than they thought. A group of mages has apparently taken over the Outpost, and killed the Jarren. After the crown Xarrai helped forge was presented and Faelar expertly conducted an official coronation, the group set the newly-founded Kingdom of Many Arrows on the path to defending their borders, and headed
south to the secret grotto.

Finding a metal door with a single keyhole, they inserted the talisman of Gond and, after twisting it back a forth a dozen times, revealed an ever expanding ring of interlocking gears that appeared. Once the door was completely covered, a winch popped out of the ground nearby. Vahn put a strong arm toward turning it, and the entire door and the wall it was set into turned as though on a platform, carrying the group inside. Looking about, they found a long tunnel of plated metal and fanciful brasswork supports. Going deeper, they identified a locked vault door and a wall covered with gears, encrusted with stone over time, and a pedestal holding a metal globe, blazing with magic. Beyond, they sensed hundreds of magical traps. Pressing the talisman into the globe set inlaid brass lines and gears awhir, spinning faster and faster until the globe itself blew apart leaving a small brass gear behind. The gears covering the wall spun and interlocked and slowly folded into the vault door, disappearing, and their arcane sense of magical traps faded.

Inside they found a long drop into an endless pit of moving gears, chains spanning the open distance and a lever-activated bridge carried them across. Hearing the flap of wings they continued forward and were greeted by a group of strange creatures that the wizard identified as “modrons.” They appeared to be a mix of flesh and steel, with wings, appendages, eyes, and weapons.

“Are you followers of Gond?” asked the boxy modron in the lead.
Excited, Ke’shin replied, “Yes, of course!”
“Excellent!” the Modron replied, turning to it’s companions. “KILL THEM ALL!”

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