To Serve and Protect?

Session 5
The one where cannons are invented

A forest warden in Klok’s Woods tells the party that he had verified that gnolls are gathering in large numbers south of the Gosmaw River in the area known as Branten’s Gift . The land was originally given to orcs and once they abandoned the worthless land gnolls moved in . Count Branten declared that the gnolls could live there so long as they converted to the worship of Menoth and protected the land from the Tiamat worshipping raksata to the south and wild men from the Lortmil Mountains . Recently mineral wealth was discovered in the Gift and Branten rescinded his offer , declaring that gnolls had to leave the land for occupation . The warden hiked to Enstad (the first major city likely to be attacked if the gnolls do cross the river) and told them about the gathering army . Their response was to place a bounty on gnolls .

Shortly thereafter the party encountered a military force being put together by Count Branten’s son to hunt down the Vulture Clan dwarves that destroyed Ashmead . Renwald was taken for a dwarf and “questioned” by the count’s son and his drunken sycophants . While this was going on it was determined that a “wild man” from the Lortmils called Heartless was the real military leader and that the aide Tila was the one keeping everything organized . Although badly burned Ace recognized Tila as in truth being Meris , a maid to the missing daughter of the assassinated duchess . He seemed mildly interested but quickly gave up on trying to talk to her . Theo cozied up to the count’s son and told him about the gnolls to the south . Various contradictory and seemingly pointless plots and schemes were pushed to varying degrees . . Max agreed to invent and then build a cannon for the count’s son .

Heading away from the military encampment during his morning prayers Theo was contacted magically by Sister Ia who informed them that Deacon Hope was gathering a large number of constables for an ill-advised mission into Thenol that would likely provoke another war with Calbaria . Intent on putting a stop to it they headed to Nulb where they encountered a river troll and tormented a man with no pants . Deciding they hated Nulb they wandered aimless until they came across a group of trappers who told them where the constables were gathering . In return for this information the trappers asked for help with some poachers who were attack them . They request was rebuffed with extreme prejudice for reasons unknown . The party caught up with Deacon Hope and nearly a hundred constables . Theo cozied up to him . Crow met another mongrelman and decided to fight him to the death for some reason . Max met a fellow alchemist who told him about the hobgoblin ritual of Skinned Flesh and asked for his help in developing a way to find the Hobgoblin infiltrators . After various conspiracies and false information campaigns it was decided that the matter of “invading” Thenol would be decided by thrilling legal battle ; Ace and his co-counsel Max against the Deacon’s dream team of 7 lawyers and the saboteur Theo . The magistrate ruled in the favor of Ace and Max and the matter was settled .

Heading into the Imrdys Run swamplands the party sought out Mother to determine what had happened to Anders . After determine that Anders was “gone” they headed for Heningstbury where they sold a ton of loot and spent several days shopping and carousing . Heading towards Dockalong they encountered a party of fellow constables who had just come from Dockalong with a string of prisoners . They found that they were intent on taking the prisoners to an abandoned adamantium mine near (or maybe across) the Thenol border to sell the criminals into slavery . It was decided that the party would accompany them , feigning to go along with the plan , and then spring a trap to take them down and the slavers . Also the mine would be plundered of any remaining admantium .

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Session 4
Lil John's Crunkest Hits Vol No. 2

Heading towards Whitelily ostensibly in pursuit of Vacra the party came across a badly burned , rusted , injured and deafened women on horseback carrying another woman , also injured , poisoned , and diseased . After some shouting and bad pantomime it was determined that she was the loan survivor of an attempted to apprehend the criminal “Bruiser” Holloway in his cliffside hideout . Max dispensed some healing and she continued on towards Homlet after informing the party about the traps and layout of Holloway’s bolt-hole . She mentioned that they were about to take Holloway into custody when they were attacked by a “blinking assassin” . Ace was strangely disinterested .

Continuing on to the cave hideout Shadrach and Crow entered into violent combat with a zombie dire bat . Shadrach splattered it to revolting chunks and then spotted a putrid sickly looking worm writhing out of the corpse . He tried to stomp on it and found that it was unstompable . Slicing in half with his blade a massive amount of vile green smoke poured out of the worm’s body and sickened Ace , Max & Shadrach for several weeks . Continuing through the complex avoiding and disarmed (and occasionally springing) traps the group recovered the bodies of the two dead constables where they had been taken down by the mysterious spellslinging assassin . Confronted with the last few survivors of Holloway’s men they negotiated to take them into custody and then instead massacred them . An injured Holloway put up a brief fight before being captured . Several secret rooms filled with treasure were found and plundered . Amongst the booty was the famed portrait of Duchess Georgianne that went missing after the assassination in Vichy . Ace was strangely interested only in how much the painting might fetch on the black market .

Arriving in Whitelily with Holloway the party immediately abandoned all pretext of searching for Vacra to enjoy the Rum Punch Festival . While Max and Crow watched the prisoner Renwald and Shadrach completed in various contests with little success . Theo engaged the services of a much beloved and respected former Marshal turned “finder” to track down Vacra . Max was alerted to a murder in a tavern and left Crow with the prisoner to investigate . Finding that a domestic dispute had ended in violence Max called for back up while the murderess Lavinia Lanteri offered him a bribe in the form of information about three keys needed to secure the treasure of the legendary bandit Jemma Redclaw – willing to cut them in for half if they recovered one of the keys . Ace and Theo arrived on the scene to back up Max , Ace recognized “Lavinia Lanteri” as actually being Varossa Lycaste who disappeared around the same time as the assassination and was strangely disinterested .

Deciding that Lavinia would be dangerous to arrest it was determined that she had acted in self defense . Her bribe was rejected . It was discovered that Lady Mytara and her crew were in town and Hollway and the bodies of the dead constables were turned over to her keeping . Renwald won the annual Rum Punch Festival race and there was much rejoicing . The next day the group rounded up and healed some horses left running free after midnight jousting . The Marshal informed them that Vacra was heading towards Dramshae . Deciding that pursuing him would be “lame” it was decided to return to Lantona to reap the glory of solving the Homlet triple murder .

Heading out of Whitelily the group was approached by a talking bluejay who asked for their help on behalf of a talking rainbow trout who was having trouble with some kind of repugnant pale skinned humanoids that had come out of the ground . The party investigated and found some of the Gollum looking mofos building a damn to try and capture the fancy fish . Charging into combat Shadrach found the spindly creatures to be surprisingly strong and that killing them resulted in a Tiamantic curse . Destroying the damn Max was left with the wagon as the rest of the group headed for a tree under wish the creatures were reputed to be staying . The three tunnel turned out to lead to a brewery , which Ace and Renwald spent time trying to empty out while Theo , Crow and Shadrach tracked the creatures through the woodlands . Max was attacked by two of the creatures mounted on dire wolves and captured , the wagon was destroyed and the horses slaughtered where they stood .

Renwald drank some of the foul black mushroom beer and became incredibly nauseated . Ace picked him up and a barrel of the beer and headed back towards the (now ruined) wagon . Theo wandered off as Shadrach and Crow found the camp of the creatures and attacked – killing them all except for one that escaped on a dire bat . The party gathered back together as the two mounted creatures appeared holding Max as a hostage . They started to offer to exchange him for something , but before they could say what the party attacked . Theo’s spells saved the day and the dire wolves and their riders were killed . In return for helping them the fish gave the group a plethora of potions and invited them to swim in his magical pond which strengthen and fortified Shadrach and Crow .

Max recovered the journal of one of the spellcasting morlocks and learned that they were the descendants of humans who had fled underground to escape Tiamat and ended up as regressed Tiamat worshipping monsters .

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Session 3
The unbearable truth about butterflies

Following the trail of blood to Shadrach’s room Theo found him unconscious on the floor , backstabbed . Shouting for help eventually Max and Renwald reluctantly entered the room . Spotting a man outside the inn holding a knife Theo rushed down and confronted him . Drunk and confused the man confessed that he could have attacked Shadrach and not known about it as he blacks out sometimes .

Meanwhile , Crow and Ace who were staking out blackbird’s paddock saw a figure moving clandestinelike through the night . Ace moved in for a closer look and saw a youngish man feeding Blackbird’s sheep something out of a druid’s bag . Ace followed the boy back to his home deciding along the way that he was not acting of his own according but was under the influence of some kind of supernatural force . Crow determined what was being fed to the sheep was hemlock . Awakening blackbird by nearly smashing his hovel to pieces Crow helped the crusty old war vet to do what could be done to save his sheep .

Ace continued on to the inn where the drunken knife wielding hobo was being prepared for slaughter . Strangely reason carried the day and it was decided that his fellow , Elm (the former constable of these parts) was merely a down on his luck idiot in the wrong place at the wrong time . Max went to help Crow and Blackbird with the sheep hospitaling while everyone else went to sleep . The next morning the investigation into the Shadrach Incident continued in earnest . It was determined that a fellow by the name of Furnock who had he a run-in with Shadrach the day before was the likely culprit and that he had likely felt into the Welkwood Bog to hide out in the old moathouse tower where he liked to lay low when the heat was on . Elm agreed to lead them to the tower , warning that along the way they were likely to be attacked by the ravenous giant frogs that have infested the swamp since the moathouse was abandoned .

Several massive frogs did assault the party but were slain by Elm and Crow . Max harvested their precious slime for his alchemical works . Arriving at the tower it was found to be filled with spider webs of the giant variety and Furnock was spied caught in the webs along with another burly looking individual who Elm identified as Kobor – a strongman who wandered into down and hung out at the Welcoming Wench trying to join parties of “adventurers” . Renwald crawled under the webs to a treasure chest and tied a rope to it , whereupon it was hauled out by Crow and found to contain a magic shield and a few potions . After discussion various ways of torturing and burning the men caught in the web to death it was decided that Max would be allowed to make an alchemical solvent to dissolve the web .

Once the web was destroyed the party tried to place Furnock under arrest but he turned invisible and was heard to be climbing up the tower . Trying to track his movements the party believe that Furnock made it to the top of the tower and them made an incredible 50-60 foot leap into the bog . Seeing no sign of him surfacing it was assumed he was devoured by fresh water piranhas . Renwald mentioned that all piranhas are fresh water . In interrogating Kobor he was convinced to kill himself with his greathammer , which was seized for use in future suicides . At this point it was decided to continue on to the abandoned Tiamat temple to the north which Elm had helped attack a decade ago . Arriving at the temple it was determined to watch for a while and see if it was inhabited but upon spotting a man guarding the door Crow , Renwald , Theo & Ace decided to initiate independent solo missions to scout the temple while Elm and Max took cover in the woods . After several attempts of varying levels of success Crow and Renwald snuck into the vicinity of the man guarding the door . Then he snuck away and the party regrouped in the forest . After some discussion that they needed a plan of some kind Ace , Renwald and Theo again embarked on independent solo stealth missions without any clear goals . Eventually the people in the ruined temple were alerted by all the attempts to skulk about and the fight was on .

Upon being confronted by superior forces including mages and clergy of Menoth the party threw down arms and asked for parley . After an agreement was reached of secrecy the leader of the “bandits” Sister Ia explained that they were illegally making raids into Thenol to free slaves , using this forbidden zone as a base of operations . Asked for aid in solving the murders Sister Ia used her magic to determine that the boy who was poisoning blackbird’s ship was being possessed in the same manner as had happened years ago by a Tiamantic cult leader that Elm had arrested and put to death years ago called Vacra . She further reveals that Telena is going to be the next victim .

Rushing back to town the party finds that Telena has been abducted and blackbird has left town (and is presumed to be the abductor) and it being pursued by Brother’s Calmert and Rinrythi . Elm , Crow & Theo head out of town looking maybe for Telena and maybe for blackbird and maybe something else . In the meantime Ace , Max and Renwald witness a horrifying demonic hydra claw and clamber its way out of a hellvent and attack the church . Max determined that the hellfire wyrm was being controlled by someone and as he tried to help the wounded Renwald and Ace began searching nearby buildings . Ace spotted two women inside the temple who had incapacitated Cannoness Y’Dey and were using her body as a focus for some kind of ritual . Presuming them to be the ones controlling the demon-hydra Ace shot one of them directly in the spinal column . The other struggled to maintain control until Ace pointed his crossbow at her at which point the hydra disappeared just as Max attacked it – making the townfolk think he had destroyed it with Menoth’s holy power .

Blackbird and Telena were encountered heading back into town , Blackbird having rescued her from two hired Freedomtown goons . Blackbird admitted to the murders and was taken into custody . Max healed Cannoness Y’Dey and it was determined that Telena had infiltrated the Tiamat cult and was feeding the information to Blackbird , which he then used to take out the cultists when they were about to perform a sacrifice . The two remaining cultists agreed to rat out the cult leader in return for exile rather than death . Naming Rennos and Gremag of the trading post the investigation began on them . No evidence was found that they had been involved with the cult but it was determined that they had very possibly rubbed out a few local merchants who refused to join their “guild” . Their witless half orc servant confessed to one of the murders but could not implicate the two . Rannos and Gremag were arrested anyway and the magistrate summoned .

Eventually it was wrung out of the cultist with the spinal injury that the real cult leader , they claimed , was Vacra returned from the dead who was hiding out as a flour mill employee named Sart . Heading to the mill they found “Vacra” long gone along with a taunting note . Various other people were arrested for various other things . In the end the cultists and the orc were put to death , Blackbird was exiled , and Rannos and Gremag were found innocent of all wrongdoing . Various others were sentenced to beatings and labor camps and the like .

It was determined that Vacra had probably headed for the Rum Punch Festival in Whitelily and the party would follow .

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Session 2
Sick of it all

Theo fell ill with dysentery . Renwald and Crow arrived in Brindinford and were grudgingly admitted into the group . Very grudgingly . Constable Reginald dragged a man into the town square accusing him of trying to break into his house . The man’s wife ran forward pleading for mercy and was dealt a rough blow . Renwald delivered an impassioned speech proclaiming the man’s innocence . The crowd was swayed by unsure what could be done about it . Under the supervision of Father Lazlo Reginald began savagely beating the man as an example . After a while Ace stepped forward and confessed that is had been himself and Theo who broke into the house . After some discussion this was allowed to slide . The man who had been falsely beaten was offered to take it out on the deathly sick Theo as “compensation” . This offer was declined in disgust . Sick of talking about all the various people being falsely accused and what to do about it the party collected Anders and headed out of town with Aliana sort of in custody , leaving Theo behind to recuperate and catch up with them or die and never be heard from again .

On the road towards Waybury Anders was hit with a sling stone and fell off the wagon . As the wagon very slowly careen out of control a small green scaled dragonborn was seen covering the group with a very fine darkwood stock crossbow while a human compatriot was taking out some kind of net or binding apparatus . Everyone abandoned the wagon and a wild and chaotic melee/screaming match ensued . Shadrack smashed the expensive crossbow to bits . Crow wailed on the defenseless human mercilessly . Renwald’s pleas for some kind of parley were ignored until the two dragonborn began talking and decided to call a halt to the hostilities . Crow got in one more vicious attack on the human after he dropped his guard . These two turned out to be bounty hunters trying to return Anders to Oakhurst so that he could be forced to marry the maid he impregnated there . There was no bounty , this was a favor for a friend . It was determined that once they had completed their business in Homlet that Anders would be returned to Okahurst and forced into the union . The dragonborn , Scray said that if the party wanted to get in touch with them in the future they could leave word with their associate at Rook’s Pawnshop in Lantona .

The next day the party crossed paths with Trandamere , who quickly established that Alaina was indeed innocence of the charges against her and took it upon his own authority to lease her . Trandamere said that he was heading to Brindinford as the third priest as he had been in Waybury when the runner arrived and felt that the local priest wasn’t up to the job . Alaina accompanied him back to Brindingford hoping this new development would work out for Melora who was still under arrest .

Arriving at Waybury (to a surprising lack of anyone being on the verge of execution on a trumped up charge) the group was told that Hickory Branch is quarantined due to an outbreak of pestilence . They joined a caravan taking the old Elf Path around Deklo Grove to Hommlet . Due to the poor condition of the track the caravan moved very slowly . Stopping near the south end of the grove Daro the caravan master offered the party some coin to enter the grove and harvest a few Deklo trees to be sold to the woodcutter Tarim . They agreed and Renwald was able to convince a few of the caravan guards to come along to do the work while the party stood guard . Almost immediately one of the woodcutters was ambushed by a giant spider and went down . The others fled while the party sprung into action fighting against several other attacking giant spiders . Once defeated Shadrach recovered a platinum ring from the carcass of one of the spiders . Shortly after the fracas a voice from the woods offered unmolested harvesting until sundown in return for Ace’s mask . Ace said he needed to see who he was speaking to and a human corpse came out of the trees suspended from spidersilk – the voice issued from its unmoving mouth .

The deal was struck and the mask taken away by a silver thread of spidersilk . Renwald again convinced several guards to come and harvest but could not convince them to keep working until close to sundown . Nevertheless a significant amount of wood was taken . Daro , the caravan master paid and amongst his coin were several of the type that the party was looking for . He knew only that they came from Tarim , the woodcutter in Homlet . Arriving in Homlet the wood was sold and the profits divided . Tarim said that he had gotten the coins from the trading post run by Ranos Davol and Gremag . The party proceeded to the church and met with Cannoness Y’Dey who told them that three girls had been murdered in the same wooded area by a bowman – their tongues had been removed and later all three tongues were found together in the woods as well . Each bore a crude marking that Y’Dey felt was a Tiamantic symbol .

The investigation began in earnest , focusing initially on Blackbird , a shepherd and a skilled archer . When that didn’t go anywhere they next avenue of inquiry was with any “suitors” that had come calling on each of the girls . There was one common link found , a young bounder by the name of Otell , who additionally was missing and his house had blood on the floor . Considering this a promising lead the party scoured the town looking for Otell . Acting on a tip they found him hiding out in the back room at Terrigan’s Bar nursing a broken jaw . Max healed him enough to speak and Shadrack took to intimidating him real good like . It was determined that he was a loser who had done nothing .

Tired and at a dead end the party looked to secure lodging at the Welcoming Wench Inn . The innkeeper said they could stay for free if they got rid of a fellow in a fancy red hat running confidence schemes . Shadrach tried to get him to leave and when he wouldn’t punched his lights out and threw him out bodily . Everyone went to enjoy their free rooms . The next morning Theo arrived and crossed paths with Furnock (the man in the red hat) having just taken Shadrach out with a cowardly sneak attack with a poisoned dagger . They exchanged polite hellos . Theo noticed a few drops of blood and followed them to Shadrach’s room , where he was unconscious on the floor .

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Session One
The Choppening

Ace , Theo , Max , and Shadrach started out in Lantona signing up for constabulary duty , were given a speech by Bishop Terjen about how this needs to be a non-church operation because some people are worried this signals an end to civil jurisprudence and an enforcement of church law . You were all issued a piece of paper that called a Writ of Relemensea that is supposed to help you get supplies – good given to the bearer of this writ will be reimbursed upon blah , blah , blah , and were warned it probably wouldn’t work out in the countryside .

Your first assignment was given as heading to Homlet to investigate three murders , you were also told to keep a look out for any coins with a blank face on one side and the comedy/tragedy masks on the other . Not counterfeit in the traditional sense because they are real silver/gold they are not known to be minted by any of the 4 Kingdoms and are appearing too often to be the result of the limited amount of foreign trade through Imir .

Theo set about soliciting local merchants and received – a old broken wagon , wagon repair , two draft horses , a set of manacles , a small coin chest , and the services of a young horse thief (Anders) working off a sentence to care for the horses and drive the wagon . He was also told about a caravan heading to Holmet that there was some discussion of catching up to and joining .

First stop Oakhurst – arriving to a kerfuffle in progress , wherein a fellow in vaguely priestlike robes was preaching to the townsfolk and handing out literature about Menoth’s will being that women submit to the dominance of men . You observed as a woman wearing a mix of fine hunting leathers and expensive traveling clothes and a shoeless threadbare looking half elf (or elf – hard to say) moved in on the man while two half-orcs (one with a spiked chain the other with a waraxe and spiked shield) held the crowd back . They identified themselves as constables and took the man into custody ordering the crowd to disperse . When it looked like a few people were gearing up to rush them Shadrack joined them and the troublemakers were dissuaded .

A discussion ensued on what do with man , who explained he was preaching the gospel of Kayvan the Cudgel which he had heard from someone doing the same thing in Waybury , the other constables agreed to relinquish custody as they did not want to be involved in executing someone just for speaking out in public . They left and the local priestess said that she would decide his fate after seeking guidance from Menoth . She stated his sentence was to work with her in the temple until she felt he had been re-educated and that his hand would be severed to prevent any mischief . Shadrack carried out the severance and the hand was sold to a local dire rat farmer (rancher ?) and ratwurst seller . Anders banged some farm girls .

Moving on to Blesingdale you arrived in town at the scene of a hanging . Interfering , it became clear that the town had been stirred up by someone preaching the Litanies of Kayvan and were fixing to hang a woman as a Tiamat worshipper who’s only crime seemed to be being unpopular . You took her into custody promising to execute her once you had the required 3 signatures from church officials to do so . Theo (and Ace ?) found a hidden panel in her house that was mostly nothing interested but did allude to an affair with a woman in Brindinford . Sharach caught a guy trying to sneak into traveler’s room of the temple intending to kill the prisoner . He enspelled and defeated him . He was then charmed by Theo and it was discovered that Anders was banging his wife . He abandoned his family and set off for Lantona to become a constable . Once out of town the prisoner was released and you agreed to take her to Brindinford .

At Brindinford there was no immediate shenanigans apparent but you found out that they had a woman in custody accused of penning glories to Tiamat in secret by her husband . The “real” constable had arrested her and the town elder was working on getting the signatures needed to burn her at the stake – the priests from Blesingdale and Waybury were coming in to sign . It was presumed by some and “proven” by others that this was a trumped up charge manufactured by the husband who discovered that she was having an affair with said previous lady . Theo and Ace tried to break into the constable’s house and set off an alarm . The constable and the aforementioned husband (who was staying there) grabbed weapons and charged . Theo summoned up some fog and leisurely strolled away , only to find out he was being tracked – whereupon he hid and then doubled back to the house and briefly looked around – finding nothing of interest . Anders banged some farm girls .

Blesingdale lady was put back in manacles anticipating the arrival of her parish priest .

It was undecided if the plan was to wait for both priests to arrive or to continue on to Waybury and try to intercept the inbound priest on the road .

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