To Serve and Protect?

Session 15
File documents 136(iv) and 22-C and -D in triplicate, pay all requisite fees, request a . .

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Arriving at the town of Dreslev and the Fort of Clatsoth the group found that they were flying the flag of a mercenary group known as the Razor’s Crown . They contemplated just leaving but eventually decided to mill around instead . Hathor approached the gate and was told to bugger off . Jack snuck into town through a heavily guarded breach in the wall . Crow tried to bribe his way in with food , then refused to turn over said food, and was thrown back out of town . Max showed off his water creation powers and was let in after filling up several barrels to look around the local temple . After the looting was done the mercs took him to see their fat commander, Oligev, who offered Max a job with their crew . After a significant amount of equivocating, Max said he had to think about it . Jak infiltrated the fort and went down to the dungeons to see who was around . He found the former garrison commander Knies who told him the sad tale of how Baron Deslev surrendered the fort to the mercs and a band of plainsmen from the Hak . Jak turned him loose and as a way of thanks Knies pointed him towards a brothel called “Nectar” where he might be able to procure some illicit healing .

Crow and Hathor sat outside the gates and made a great show of their massive surplus of food until the point it seemed the drooling mercenaries might sally forth at which point they backed off , and then ultimately turned the food over for entry into the city . Crow checked out the town and decided to intervene when he saw some mercs abusing the blacksmith . Crow killed the mercs while Hathor pinned down their reinforcements with bowfire from above . Crow also critically murdered the blacksmith by accident as one of the mercs used him as a human shield . Crow then assumed the identity of one of the murdered soldiers and went on a merry killing spree of picking off mercs and taking their forms . Hathor apprenticed himself to a brewer .

Jak found that the proprietress of Nector was a fellow secret worshipper of his pagan wine god and they got along famously . At a very steep discount he was cured of the demon shakes and uncursed . He offered to smuggle her out of the city but in the end a deal could no be struck and with a hearty “Hoarded gold is no treasure” they toasted to the Laughing Rogue and went their separate ways . Ways that included Jak heading into the fort again and killing a guard and stuffing him in an oven under the guise of a kitchen inspection . Max incited the mercs to throw a bunch of homeless people into the river to be eaten by river trolls .

Various schemes are plotted and plots hatched and hatches schemed but in the end everyone got sick of this bullcrap and they stole a boat and scarpered off . ( I’ve been working 55-60 hours a week lately so I didn’t really have a chance to review my notes before the game – things should have been better . I’ll take the blame for this one . )

The party headed upstream to return to the constabulary base of Nulb , upon the way Jak split off to head for Dramshae to see what happened to Ace and Renwald . The rest of the party visited Sunrise to retrieve their chalice and then were warned by a river marshal not to go to Nulb if they were constables because it was a trap . Which it was . Max got sliced up a bit before teleporting and invisibiling away like a warlock . As the group headed vaguely towards the Kron Hills they were contacted magically by Cannoness Y’Dey who asked if they were still interested in solving crimes . They said they had to think about it as they had a lot on their plate right now .

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Session 14
Who rules Bartertown ?

Exiting the gigantasaur with a few gnoll scouts in the area the crew headed west on magically summoned steeds eating magically summoned food and drinking magically summoned water . Mmmm , magic ! Hathor spotted some people in the distance and considered murdering them but ultimately did not . Jak snuck up on them an verified that they appeared to be ragged losers of some kind . The rest of the party made their presence known and said losers told a tale of woe about escaping from a Thenolian slave gang heading to Fort Clatsoth and then being essentially re-enslaved by one of their fellow escapees who as it turned out was a half-ogre and beat any dissenter to death . They had holed up at Onyx Hall , and old abandoned hunting lodge that once belonged to a prominent Thenolian noble family . Along the way they stopped at the legendary Dragontree and partook of its magically delicious fruit . The freed slaves considered settling there as there was also a magical spring but Hathor confirmed that this sight was regularly visited by gnolls and raksata so that plan was abandoned .

Reaching Onyx hall, Jak disguised himself as one of the run away run away slaves and snuck inside , seeing a mighty half-ogre reclining amongst his emaciated and dying slaves . Jak moved in silently for the murder but the half-ogre seemed to be sniffing him out so he switched to a bow attack and summoned his waiting allies . Max conjured a swarm of celestial bees that massacred the half-ogre like a donkey eating a waffle . It was a terrible sight . The once again freed slaves fled in terror but were corralled and the group agreed to shepherd them to safety – and by safety they meant a warzone of gnoll horrors . They came across a small settlement of orcs and freed slaves by the name of Brimstone Springs where Jak purchased an up-to-date map from some local scouts and he and Hathor spread about some money to get the freed slaves established there . Max hated the town and wanted to burn it to the ground because no one there had any magic and non-magical people are worthless and should be killed . The map seller mentioned gnolls were gathering in the area so the party headed off in the opposite direction to find and kill them .
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They were spotted by a gnoll chariot team that set up to harass them from afar with their superior mobility . Instead they were slaughtered miserably by Crow’s greatbow and Max’s fireball . Crow tried to drive one of the chariots and failed . Jak tried to drive one of the chariots and kind of succeeded . Hathor started to track back to where the gnolls had come but Jak discovered that they had been trained to return home upon command and they rode the chariot to a long abandoned temple . Since Max was low on magicalness, they drove off away and set up camp . A few hours later under the cover of darkness they gnoll’s launched their sneak attack . Crow ran off into the darkness to fight off the entire force himself while Jak was beset by Twigjacks and Hathor and Max were harried by blood hawks . Also severed heads filled with ravenous beetle larva were used as thrown weapons . It was gross . Hathor was slashed by blood hawk talons and was supposed to take bleed damage but I forgot . Eventually Jak lit a lantern and Max started laying about with lightning bolts and thousand of summoned bees and the tide was turned . The remaining gnolls retreated . Falling back and setting up another camp (this time without a fire) they rested and then began the assault in the temple .

The first room was slimy with mud which Jak tried to circumnavigate unsuccessfully and flopped into a mudpile . Hathor climbed onto the roof (drink !) and discovered a hole in the roof . Joined by his compatriots they watched some Afridi tribesmen hanging around in a swampified nave . It was being discussed what to do when a gnoll came in and started talking to the Afridi at which point Hathor started shooting . Crow jumped into the hole and disappeared into the mud like a stone cast into water . Hathor and Jak rained arrow-death down on the men inside while Max levitated into the slime and grabbed Crow . Levitating out as much as he could with Crow’s bulk, Crow was revealed to be holding onto the tail of a mighty crocodile . Max handed him a rope and levitated away , summoning his own devil-crocodile for a good old fashioned croc-fight . Crow stabbed his spear into the melee and Hathor/Jak shot arrows into the scrum but it was revealed that the original croc was healing like Wolverine . At this point Jak and Hathor started exploring other areas while Max rained acid-death on the croc – regenerate THAT !
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Jak found another room completely flooded and started to wade in – a second croc came and he moonwalked back to dryish land . Using his rope and grappling hook and extendable spiked chain he struck at the croc which retreated under the water – although I did think about having it lunge out of the water to snatch him like that scene in Jurassic World with the mosasaur . Hathor found a hatch down to a burial chamber . Jak climbed down and spied with this little eye a couple filthy wicked gnoll clawfighters . Returning to report, Crow tried to climb down the shaft and plummeted to the ground . Hathor jumped down after him and Max/Jak followed via levitiation . Hathor and Jak caught devil shakes from the terrible claws of the gnolls but they were defeated . Continuing on they found a bigger better burial chamber with a couple gnolls and hyenas . There was fighting and whatnot , Crow again , took the brunt of the melee while everyone else attacked from range . Oh no , magic is inhibited in this room , fireball fizzles ! A huge demonic centipede was summoned however which took the starch out of the gnolls pretty quickly .

The tomb was found to be that of a gnoll ! WTF ? Jak reached into the sarcophagi to seize all the magic items and was cursed for his trouble but a gnoll’s ransom of wicked magic items were recovered .

Then they continued on to Fort Clatsoth unless we’re playing next week in which case they didn’t .

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Session 13
Jurassic Inception

(*Note and reminder, Ace went to help Renwald)
Max awoke with the party cocooned and found himself stuck to the ground by his pet cave fisher. He then discovered that his cave fisher could talk, and intended to “upgrade” Max with his own exoskeleton. As the cave fisher began the surgery, Max awoke to some Wisdom damage.
The party broke camp and continued to Bluffside by way of Latona. Max then had another nightmare inwhich he suffered even more drain bamage, and was rendered retarded. The Dragonborn then assisted Max with a Circle of Protection from Evil spell, and he was attacked by a ghost Jak stabbed it with his sweet spidersilk rapier and it clearly didn’t like that and disappeared. Then Max did some dark research, and upon further investigation, concluded it was some kind of nightmare hag. Then along the road to Latona Hathor came upon a human head. Surprisingly the head was still alive, and attached to it’s body, just buried in the middle of the road. Torg was engaged to a local girl, but backed out on the engagement, and her family (Redeemers) took it poorly and buried Torg. The party dug him up, fed him, and gave him a new pair of pants. He then followed the group to Latona.
Also the party encountered a 1/2 orc who was attempting to locate information about a plague of weird worms, that Max and Crow had encountered previously. Once the group reached Latona, Jak went to check his mail and Hathor went looking for Sir Scarpelli. Sir Scarpelli was sent to the crusades in Grassguard. So the gang packed up and went forth to battle the army of the gnolls, FINALLY.
Then unexpectedly WUB-A-LUBA-DUB-DUB! Lavinia teleported in with a full retinue of dudes and fine ladies explaining that the gnolls had a super dinosaur that was destroying the city/fort! Fort Ranick had already been demolished, and she needed the group to fly their hippogriffs on a totally not suicide mission to take out the dinosaur’s control tower so that it would wander back into the Valley of Thunders before it reached Grassguard.
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The party mounted up, and Max turned the group invisible. Lavinia also gave them all rings of feather fall, so they could death from above down onto the massive castle structure that had been built on the back of this great beast.
Several towers were infiltrated, several gnoll guard groups were either killed or tossed over the side of the great beast. A magical platform full of tentacles caused some problems, but Max’s rope of climbing and Jak’s incredible climbing skills saved Crow from falling to a crushing death. Additionally a gnoll with a decanter of endless water was both attempting to clean Crow and knock him off a rope. The party proved to be superior archers and ended that gnollish threat, however it is presumed the dinosaur now will begin smelling.
As the group neared the control tower/center, they confronted a female wizard, who then dimension doored away.. Then the group began it’s slaughter of gnolls as the towers began to be alerted. Max summoned some falcons, and sent them to find the sorceress, and they were promptly blown apart by a lightning bolt as soon as they left the tower. Many ideas were discussed about how to approach the possible landing where the wizard may or may not be. Meanwhile, Crow just snuck away and up onto the next platform. Bewildered at this stupidity, Jak snuck up to attempt to find him, couldn’t find him, and decided Crow had fallen to his death. Then Crow awaited the party’s approach to the next platform, and readied two of the ballista on the platform, in case the gnoll awoke that were “guarding” it. The party began coup de grace, and some gnolls awoke. Crow made shish kabob’s of some of the gnolls and the rest were murdered. As the group approached the control tower Max and Jak were harpooned. Hathor took the lead and started a confrontation with a spiked chain wielding dogman. Max and Jak begrudgingly removed their harpoons and made their way to the control tower. Meanwhile 4 more gnoll guards began to close in on the battle. Max blew up the bridge, and the dogman’s eyeballs were popped, and teeth extracted. Spiked chains were awarded to Jak, and Crow then rode a giant damn dinosaur off into the sunset. Unless the party can talk him out of it.

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Session 12
Shout first , shout loudest

Hathor and Max bickered (Mom and Dad are fighting!) Decisions were made, then un-made, then made, then Crow and Jak just started off down the road and eventually Max and Hathor caught up.

Dragonborn were arrested for previous mind control and possible murder, and taken to a work camp. Appeals were filed. Dragonborn were broken out in the interim. After more arguments regarding the lawful process vs the smuggling criminals over borders, the party split with Max going to appeal the case of the mind-controlled Dragonborn, and successfully acquiited the Dragonborn, and then paid some clerics to fly him to the rest of the groups destination in Alphaas. Months long journeys were taken through the Desolation of Alphaas. Hathor revealed that he was a billionaire and bought a city’s worth of goods and services to give as presents to the people of his homeland.
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Then a Spiny Triceratops ate some giant termites, and the circle of life was ended via part involvement. Queen termites were killed and rendered into potions. Triceratops were killed to make into decorative outfits.

A bird flew over, dropped some pheromones on one of the Dragonborn. In an attempt to cover the smell many poopy/muddy casts were created to cover the Dragonborn chemical spill, alas—-
HUGE MANTIS ATTACK!
Battles were had, mantis were defeated, insect organs were harvested, stomachs were gutted and spider web swords were discovered.

Final decisions were made to head to Bluffside or Green-Nest? (why those decisions were made I do not recall)

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Session 11
Elvira is still alive ?

Ace disappeared to check in with his contacts about the location of the mask . Shadrach wandering through town trying to entice the Red Claw into a duel . The remainder of the party decided that participating in a manhunt was boring and talked to Anders about his treasure recovery opportunity . After almost frightening him off from the expedition entirely Anders took them to the man who he thought had built the vault that the supposed treasure allegedly was inside – Kantle . For a small fee Kantle divulged the secrets of the vault and how to best go about opening it . He also did a small dance for the amusement of the party . Also there was a monkey but it was old so Hathor hated it .

Armed with this knowledge the party headed to the abandoned town of Thornhill (know by some as Thornhell) . Jak headed down the well followed shortly by Max and Crow . Hathor spotted a wolf spying on them that ran off . Finding several deceased cave fishers they attempted to harvest some cave fisher eggs with varying degrees of success . Crow tore one on half to make his own makeshift Apparatus of Kwalish . A merry time was had with that .

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Hathor joined the rest of the group . Continuing on into the vault room they found several more dead cave fisher and a dead dark naga . Jak started working on the vault as Anders sent back word that the wolf was back with a person . Hathor returned topside , the wolf disappearing again while several additional thugs came out of the woodwork . Hathor took to a rooftop while Crow also came back up . Crow attempted to sneak upon the gathering as Max and Jak also came topside and Anders hid in the well . It was revealed that a minotaur was giving the orders and he charged Crow – who charged right back at him . They met with a might clash , Crow’s mortal blow being turned aside by the minotaur’s magical breastplate . Hathor fired several arrows at what he assumed was the weakest, least threatening thug; but said thug turned them aside with his bare hands . Hathor was highly impressed . As Crow and the minotaur exchanged mighty blows a dozen men swarmed Jak and Max . Jak nimbly ran away and took cover in the well with Anders . Max was battered half to death before he was able to summon the Four Dancing Spiders of Sacrad to help protect him . Crow disengaged with the minotaur to go to Max’s aid , which resulted in him being gored to death by said minotaur . Things looked grim but between Hathor’s archery and Jak’s sneak attack the tide was turned , the minotaur was slain, and the thugs were run off . During the melee the wolf was spotted peeking into the well before running off again . Hathor shot at it but the wolf caught the arrow in its jaws and ran on .

Gathering up the Crow-corpse the party returned to the vault and opened it . Anders rushed forward but Jak warned him against traps and then pocketed a few gems for himself . Once the remaining loot was collected a lengthy debate incurred on whether to take the money or return it to the noble family to which it belonged as Anders had intended . In the end no decision was made and the party headed back into town . Along the way Max came to the conclusion that they were being followed and Hathor broke off to investigate . Eventually he was able to speak with the wolf trailing them who was upset by the death of the naga in the well . Hathor professed innocence but the wolf didn’t buy it . They went their separate ways .

Back in Lantona they were met by Ace who was annoyed to find that they had gone off without him yet again . Nevertheless he graciously took them to the home of one Gaddock Teeg who promised half price resurrections . Crow was strapped to a table , filled with alchemical reagents , and hooked to various strange bellows and pumps . While waiting for him to marinate Teeg , Hathor and Hak worked on mixing up some Demon Rum from the cave fisher eggs , chatting over a spot of tea and played a few hands of the Maiden and the Castle . Crow was indeed brought back to the land of the living and after a few minutes of screaming and thrashing on the table he was back to his old self . Mostly . Teeg mentioned he may have been briefly possessed by a devil but not to worry about it . Max entered into negotiations for the alchemical formula involved in the process but a deal could not be reached .

It was decided in the end to return the booty to its “rightful” owners , the Coatsta-Grimgain family of the Lantona Gainways . Jak disguised himself in the manner of the local nobility and the approach was made . Things were a little rocky at first but eventually a deal was struck (via underling) and the treasure was returned . Jak was awarded a Medal of Gallantry and then made to endure several hours of polite noble chit-chat . He did manage to weave in word of the gnolls to the south . Hrazeon Coatsta-Grimgain asked him to keep an eye out for Count Bradenton’s son who was last seen leading an army south in direct contradiction of the Count’s orders . Anders used his share of the money to secure a home for his family , Hathor and Max seeing them safely installed . Hathor then sought up the knight who had killed the naga Ser Scorelli and after terrifying his maid told him about the wolf scenario . The knight was sympathetic but had nothing to offer as a way of remediation .

Ace informed them that Shadrach had been confronted by Red Claw who claimed to be controlled by the sword and asked for his help – they left town together . Ace further went on to say the mask thing had been “taken care of” . The party then began considering a offer made by Teeg to fight against Ironwolf’s champions in a 100% illegal underground pit fight , at which point Ace remembered that Max was supposed to go see Bishop Terjen . He did and after disproving Theo’s accusations that he was a Tiamat worshipper Max and the Bishop had a long conversation about the temporary constable program and its many failings . Everyone else was probably kind of bored .

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Session 10
When are we going to fight the god damn gnolls ?

After a lengthy discussion of the potential for arresting Lavinia with Kraye the party decide that the best thing to do was to head to Green-nest (AKA Greenlight , AKA Greeness AKA Greenmass AKA Green-whatever) to continue looking for Furnock . Skirting the foothills of the Lortmils the group neared Green-nest where Max spotted a four people hiding in the underbrush looking nervously the other way . Jak crept into position near them, where he saw they were hiding from a wicked looking fellow with three dragon dogs sniffing about . Max approached them to parley while Hathor and Crow took up sniping positions . In the meantime several crossbowmen and a couple mercs joined their commander talking to Max . At this point Jak revealed himself to people hiding which startled them and they tried to run , prompting the dragon dogs to be released on them. One of the mercs hacked a prisoner in the face. In response, Hathor fired at that man. Max was sliced to pieces as the crossbowmen began trading shots with Jak and Hathor while Crow and Shadrack charged into melee . Shadrack was briefly charmed but the spell was ruined by one of the dogs spewing flames on his belly and groin . Many of the party were badly hurt , but they prevailed , one dog sneaking off and one merc being wrestled into submission after trying to surrender .

The merc was variably threatened , beaten , tricked , and argued over . He revealed that he had been hired to attack Green-nest by some Tiamantic type people . The survivors of the people they were chasing, told them that Green-nest had been assailed by a large force . They were sent on to Briarwood for safety and to get help . In the end the merc agreed to help the party and was instantly beheaded by Crow . Max took up the robes of the spellcaster while Jak disguised himself as a crossbowman and Crow as a merc . They proceeded on the road to Green-nest trailed by Hathor , trailed by Shadrach . As they approached the town they came under fire from Green-nest partisans who assumed (reasonably) that the disguised members of the party were the people attacking their town . Jak sent his messenger raven back to get Hathor and Shadrach . They charged up to find that Max had convinced the people firing from the trees that they were not enemies . The husband and wife duo (Linan and Adda Swift) informed the party that many people in the town had been captured by the attackers but that the rest had fallen back to the keep and were resisting the invaders . They agreed to lead the party on a daring rescue mission to the temple via secret tunnel – many people had taken to the temple for shelter and it had been breached just as they were leaving .

Jak adopted his disguise again and exited the secret tunnel saying that he had found it while taking a piss outside of town , spinning tales of fabulous treasure within . To the disgust of the dragonborn commander several of his men ran into the tunnel looking for treasure . They were waylaid by Shadrach and Crow . The commander called down to his men and when no answer was received Jak stuck him in the kidney sneak attack style and the battle was on . One of the dragon dogs unleashed its fiery blast on the captives who went down in a crispy heap . Shadrach and Jak massacred the dragoborn while the rest of the party took down the dogs and crossbowmen . The priest (Haroun) was unfettered and with Max’s help was able to save most of the burned captives . They evacuated out the tunnel while the party barricaded doors , crept around , fired out windows , looted , decapitated dead bodies , and looked for magic items . It was revealed that the dragoborn was wearing a cursed amulet and was likely being mind controlled . No one felt bad about killing him or desecrating his corpse .

Once the church was on fire the party retreated down the tunnel , jamming it full of debris to the best of their ability . Crow stayed behind for a suicide mission while the rest of the party escorted the refugees to Briarwood . Jak tried to get Lavinia to put up the refugees while warning her and other rich folk about the attack on Green-nest . Meanwhile Crow watched as the dragonborn leader of the attackers faced off with the champion of the Green-nest defenders and killed him , after which the attackers left . Crow trailed them . Jak headed back to Green-nest to gather intelligence while the rest of the party caught up to Crow . Jak discovered that a goodly number of Green-nesters had been taken prisoner and when it became apparent that the invaders would not be able to breach the keep they offered for their leader , Cyan to face one of the defenders in single combat – if he was defeated they would let the prisoners go . Jak caught up to the rest of the party and they trailed the Tiamat force for several days and argued about what to do . Thinking that the hamlet of Bluffside might be the next attacked , they road ahead to warn them . Upon finding that the tiny settlement did not have a massive army to fight the invaders Crow beat their one guardsman senseless while the rest of the town evacuated . While milling around the town a large force was observed approaching from the northwest .

It was revealed to be a mercenary force from Imir of Thenolian pit-fighters hired by the Spicer’s Guild to head south and help fight the gnolls at Fort Bradenton . Hathor bribed their commander a princely sum to have them divert to fight the Tiamat force instead . Upon facing a superior force the mercenary contingent of the Tiamat force retired from the battlefield , resulting in an easy victory by the former pit-fighters . Cyan and two other dragonborn were taken captive and transported back to Briarwood where Haroun and his fellows broke the curse that prevented the amulets from being removed . Free of their mental domination Cyan revealed they had fallen prey to a scam perpetrated by the cult and while they would have liked to have pledged their blades to the group for helping them they felt they had no choice but to head north to save others who had been taken as well . The party discovered that as Hathor had suggested Lavinia had used the mysterious absence of the mayor and guard captain to install herself as the mayor (and guard captain) making her first act to rob all the rich folk in town and bring in thousands of fighting men to protect her city against the Tiamat worshippers . Informed they were no longer coming she figured she might as well take over Enstand as long as she had all these soldiers . Everyone said (for the 700th time) they wanted to go south and take on the entire gnoll army but Ace turned up at this point and persuaded them to head back to Lantona instead to try and retrieve the mask he had given away in the Deklo Grove , for he did not realize its die power . Perhaps more persuasive was the map Shadrach had found in his used armor that promised treasure to the north (FAR to the north) as well .

Arriving in Lantona they were immediately dragooned into a city-wide manhunt for a duelist who was using the Claw Runesword that Shadrach had sold to cut a bloody swath through his competition . In the course of this manhunt they happened across Anders . In catching up with him they found they his wife was pregnant again and Anders was in need of money , he unveiled a money-making scheme that seemed pretty promising . Ace went off to search for the mask while Shadrach spread the word around the city that he was the new duelist in town and none could defeat him .

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Session 9
Fear is a place

Note through all these events Hathor tried to dissuade Max from any decision he made .

After a shopping spree the remaining party members , Max , Hathor and Jak matriculated to establishment of Ann Li – Mage for Hire . Max kicked in the door and burst in , terrifying the startled young man behind the counter . Max started interrogating the frightened young fellow and then unbidden went to look through the back room where the wares were kept while Hathor took up the questioning , employing the age old “bad cop , confusing cop” routine . Jak searched the building and found that Ann Li was not in the facility . Eventually Lyle (the clerk) admitted that she had been kidnapped by bugbears the day before and asked for their help , offering up Ann Li’s spellbook as an incentive with Max insisted on getting up front . They party started combing the shop/office/home for clues until Lyle asked them if they wanted to check out the crime scene .

Heading to an out of the way crossroads Hathor established that Ann Li was attacked by owlbears rather than bugbears and once subdued she was loaded onto a wagon . Following the wagon trail back to a wagon rental hutch Max invoked the power of the church to get the proprietor to talk . Before he did though Hathor convinced him instead to murder a bunch of hookers . Jak pointed out though that really it was the pimp he wanted to murder and that pimps often had protection – and also that he was a deputy of the law and he probably shouldn’t be talking about murdering anyone . Confused and frightened the man gave them the information they were after and went inside and closed up shop . The trail led to the Black Dog Brewery .

Max demanded answers in the name of the law . Jak said he wanted to talk to the owner about a business proposition . Hathor purchased beer and fed it to his dog . While trying to comply with Jak’s request Max threatened the clerk with arrest and murder . Confused and aggravated the clerk return with the owner Vurm . He too was quickly confused as Jak laid out his (false) offer to have this establishment sell his wine while Max simultaneously question him about the wagon . In the end he agreed to do business with Jak and gave Max a list of all the place that wagon had made deliveries . Ace then turned up and he agree to break into Vurm’s house and search for clues . Jak then made mention of Ann Li in regards to his business dealings and Vurm said that he shouldn’t be in business with her as she was a terrible dentist and everyone hated her because she owed money all over town . After further conversation they learned that the #1 loan shark in town was a fellow by the name of Baklanog who operated out of a seedy gambling hut down by the riverfront . Once there Baklanog admitted to hating Ann Li because of her lousy dentistry but said that she DID NOT owe him money and that it made no sense that she would be borrowing from a shylock as she was rich . When informed that Vurm had been impinging on his good name Baklanog closed down his establishment (Hathor helped kick out the poor souls there to gamble) and along with three of his goons got greased up real nice and took up their whackin’ sticks to go teach Vurm a lesson . Hathor got in on the action also .

Arriving back at the Black Dog Brewery Baklanog set his three goons to beating on the helpless counterman while Hathor started smashing up the place . Jak and Max went into the back office where Vurm was seen in conference with a priest of Menoth , some hulking monster stood in the corner passively .

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Once Vurm became aware of what was happening outside he sent out his monster . Jak closed and barred the door behind it , resting his hand on his throat-slittin’ knife . Seeing the monster appear Hathor discarded his beating club and quickly exited the facility . Vurm accused Jak and Max of being part of an ill-conceived attempt to rob him . As they conversed they could hear on the other side of the door the hideous sounds of 4 men being crushed to death . Violence seemed immanent in the back room but the presence of the priest confused the issue somewhat . Meanwhile Hathor climbed onto the roof of a nearby building , startled to find someone already hiding up there watching the brewery with a spyglass . Drawing his back-stabbing knife Hathor crept up on the fellow and whispered breathily in his ear . In return the small rag-clad man produced his own hidden dagger , which prompted Hathor to attempt to shove him off the roof . The man countered with a judo throw and tossed Hathor off , where he landed safely on his feet thanks to his Boots of Landing . Hathor climbed back up but found the roof deserted . Upon spying the approach of the guard Hathor leapt down and took off on horseback to wash off his incriminating body grease .

Inside Jak opened the door to the office to reveal a startled guardsman with hand in mid-knock . They determined based on witness statements that Max and Jak weren’t involved and Baklanog and his men had been killed in self defense . Max then invoked the power of the Writ and commend them to help him search the facility . The guards got comfortable and searched several barrels of beer while Jak and Max searched the facility . Max commanded Hathor’s falcon to find the blood and surprisingly it did , falconing out a hidden door , behind him Max found a bound and bloody woman . Setting Ann Li free max escorted her our , shouting for the guards to “put your pants back on and arrest someone !” The guards hopped to and the monster was deployed , crushing the life out of one of them before Max could short-circuit its brainpain with a bolt of lightening . Vurm was taking into custody and it was determined that the priest was the victim of mental domination . Max was able to temporarily free him from the control and the priest ran off to the temple to get help , trailed by Jak . Meanwhile the 3 remaining guards took Vurm into the back alley and decapitated him for his crimes . Max searched the office and found a ledger of Vurm’s tallies for loan sharking . He took the ledger to the church where they thanked him for his role in saving their brother .

What about the owlbears said no one . Who was controlling the priest asked no one .

Converging back at Ann Li’s shop Max healed her a little and then copied some spells out of her spellbook while Hathor and Jak enjoyed the royal tea service as they often do . Ace returned with the news that Vurm was a loan shark ! Then a very lengthy conversation ensued regarding if they should head to Grandil to look for Furnock or to Briarwood to arrest Lavinia . At least once Max lay down to wait for death . Ace headed for Grandil while everyone else headed for Briarwood . Searching the town they found Lavinia’s former companion Warvil who told them they had retrieved the three keys , claimed the treasure and were now rich beyond their wildest dreams . Unfortunately Creed had died fighting the horned wyvern that guarded the treasure and his wish was for his money to continue his research into detecting reincarnated Hobgoblin spies . Max was on board with this and with Warvil’s backing he was able to perfect the formula , testing it on an old man they dug up and brought back to life with documents forged by Jak . Max was awarded the alchemy lab . Jak was awarded the land it was built on . On which it was built I mean . Jak attempted to penetrate the security of her palatial home and was defeated by magic . Another lengthy discussion took place about what should be done RE Lavinia . Jak wandered off and went to her house and asked if she wanted to be arrested for the murder of a church official . She politely declined and signed her resisting arrest form .

The party then invited her to a tea party the next day . She declined but invited them to her mansion instead . A good time was had by all . She presented them with a business opportunity to go into the foothills of the Lortmil Mountains , braving the savage wildmen there , to recover a sword and figurine of wondrous power in a cave complex inhabited by rust monsters . They agreed and after equipping themselves with the finest leather armor , a flint axe , and some bone knifes they headed out accompanied by Lavinia’s man Shax . They met some “wildmen” , a tribe called the Shends , who traded them some sweet , sweet moon melons and told them about some big game hunters that had come up this way and then disappeared a few days ago . The group found their camp , looted it , and then found the hunters dead at the claws of some mountain cat . They were also looted and their dead bodies left to rot . Swapping out their gear the group headed into the cave system , Shax refused and stayed at the campsite . They saw a few rust monsters but had no problems recovering the sword and figurine . Upon their return they found Shax mutilated , perhaps by some kind of mountain cat . They returned their items to Lavinia and divided up the score . Upon finding out that Hathor had good relations with the “savage” Shends Lavinia asked him to parley with them on her behalf , trading a wagonload of consumer goods for the sweet , sweet melons they had harvested . For some reason , Hathor , a man who had days before wanted 100 gold to dig a hole performed his activity free of charge . He also recovered the body of Shax , who was reincarnated by Max as a half-orc , much to Lavinias’s amusement and his dismay .

Once the loot was chopped up they group returned to the alchemy lab and awaited the constabulary High Threat Response Team , which turned out to be headed up by Kraye . Max agreed to go with them on the raid . Jak did as well , and once it was determined that the HTRT mage could suppress the magic alarm the idea was bandied about of Jak going on a solo mission to take out Lavinia . A NIGHT mission .

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Session 8
A dungeon ! And a dragon !

Arriving in Bogsbridge the party found a festival in full swing . A county-wide day of celebration had been ordered by Count Bradenton due to his son’s glorious victory over the Vulture clan dwarves responsible for the massacre at Ashmead . A handful of wounded soliders who had been at the battle and were left in Bogsbridge to convalesce (Max thought about healing them but didn’t) said that the Count’s son (known to the party to be a effete and feckless moron) was completely transformed into a forceful and effective leader soon after the arrival of some “truly ugly” female archers led by a hideously ugly priestess . They hailed it as a miracle , Menoth reaching out to give the young man the courage and wisdom to carry them to victory . The Count’s son and Heartless trained the conscripts relentlessly while the newly arrived archers , woodmen (women) of some kind searched out the dwarves . After they were located the Count’s son personally led the charge and the dwarves were routed . After this victory they turned south to confront the gnoll threat , which according to rumor greatly angered Count Bradenton as his son’s orders were to disband the force and return home .

The group establish that Redeye’s grave had already been robbed but they did find the discarded false leg and sold it for two silver . The rest of the day was spent arguing about buying horses and mules . The highlight of the festival was a tournament of blood hawks that had drawn the best breeders from all across Cymril , Vichee , Vardoon and even a few from Thenol . One of these breeders was an acquaintance of Furnock’s who approached Ace , recognizing his hat . This touched off a firestorm of controversy as it was believed that the hat had been stolen back by Furnock during his attack on Renwald . The entire incident was called into question . It was suggested that Ace had been replaced by some kind of shapeshifter . Or what he was just a lying jerk . In any event the breeder confided to Jak and Max that if Furnock’s abandoned tower hideout was “blown” he was probably hiding out in the abandoned city of Grandil in the Crate Ridge area (a hobo camp of sorts) or holed up with his Red Claw buddies in Greennest . Shortly after his Lady Mytara contacted Max and told him that Lavinia was wanted for the murder of a church official and has taken up residence in Briarwood . Max swore that he would let nothing distract him from either taking Lavinia into custody , killing her , or dying in the attempt .

The first distraction was a few days later on the path to Briarwood . Hathor and Jak set up a nightly counterintelligence operation to see what Ace was up to . One night Ace was able to slip away without Hathor noticing until he was already gone . Hathor woke everyone else up and they followed the tracks for a short distance until they disappeared . Searing the ground all about they found a stone plug in the ground at the base of (and covered by the roots of) a tree , said stone was marked with Tiamantic script . After some dithering and the discovery of a pit trap Hathor started to climb the tree and was assailed by arrows . He jumped down and Max tried to parley . Due to language barrier Jak and Hathor took over the parley , never being quite sure who or what they were talking to . In the end they decided Ace might be down the hole , Max levitated the stone up and tied a rope to it , sending Crow down with an everburning torch . The found the floor directly under the shaft to be illusory leading to a water-filled zone inhabited by an undead anaconda . Avoiding that nonsense he held the rope for the rest of the party to climb down to the solid ground beyond .

Heading down a passage to the right they were assailed from front and back by opponents that stayed out of the range of their torchlight and vexed them with spells and ranged attacks . Eventually Hathor was able to get enough light forward for Crow to smash the spellcaster to bits – who turned out to be some kind of undead who has been covered by an illusion of life . The rear attacker fled , climbing on the walls “like Spider-man” and then locked itself in a room . Jak picked the lock but the creature inside held the door shut , mighty Crow failing to knock the door down . As they messed with the door , another door opposite opened up and a fellow with a sword came out , slashing Hathor with life-draining power . A short wild melee ensued and the first door opened again for a flanking attacking , but it was too late and the door slammed shut again . The defeated swordman was also revealed to be undead with illusion of life . This time Crow , Jak and Max slowly forced the door open while Hathor shot the fellow inside repeatedly in the face , eventually killing him and revealing him to be undead as well . Both rooms were looted of a significant amount of jewelry .

Continuing down this path they encountered an area of magical darkness . After much consternation Max turned invisible and started working his way along the edge of the wall through the darkness . Hathor charged through heedlessly , interrupting something stabbing Max in the kidneys . Hathor’s unintentional bull rush carried him and what was revealed to be a skeleton through the darkness . Hathor grappled with the skeleton as Jak , roped to Hathor , used that to find his way through the darkness and Crow charged in to blindly fight the remaining skeletons in the darkness . Hathor and Jak were able to take down the skeleton and eventually Crow got tired to trying to fight blindly and exited the darkness as well . The party continued on and found a room of empty barrels . Much conversation was had about what could , should , and would be done with said barrels . In the end they were staged near the darkness for potential rolling into skeletons .

The next room was filled with dead miners and had a crudely dug shaft down . Rolling down a few barrels it was determined at the bottom of said shaft was a Flaming Skull and three Huecuva there was brief parley where it was determined that this was a “sleeper” cell of Tiamat cultists that had turned themselves into undead centuries ago to wait out all the various forces that were after them . In talking with Max they determined now was a good time to return to the surface and resume their evil ways . Max reminded them the party could rat them out , for which they thanked him and attacked with a fireball . A deadly battle ensued but the party was victorious and seized a king’s ransom of silver , gems , and jewelry the cult had stashed to fund their wicked works . Jak returned to the campsite while Hathor , Crow and Max barricaded themselves in one of the rooms . Jak found a hysterical and sobbing Ace at the campsite thinking his friends and companions had been killed . Jak watched for a while before revealing himself and claiming to have been answering “nature’s call” . Ace asked where the rest of the group was and he made some vague comment . Ace deciding they all had UTIs went to sleep . The next day the party searched the rest of the complex and found nothing much of interest .

Moving on the next distraction they came upon was the scene of a titanic fight between a bear and a wyvern . Following the tracks of the seemingly victorious bear they did indeed find a bear feasting upon a dead wyvern . Jak and Hathor were detected and the bear turned into a man , they chatted for a bit and determined that he was an exiled from the Lortmils called Grom-gil-Gorm . He presented them with their next distraction , asking them to head into the nearby town of Enstad to talk to Ann Li Mage for Hire who he commissioned to make him magical armor that would protect him in bear form . Dragging Max along the party entered the town and set about selling their loot and buying new implements of destruction .

Also at several points Jak and Hathor had tea parties with a silver tea service that once belonged to King Macar himself .

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Session 7
Death from above

Shadrach caught up with the rest of the group returning from his pilgrimage with a pair of newly formed semi-functional wings . Theo declared this to be a miracle , Shadrach’s reward for his unflinching opposition to enemies of Menoth’s good works . Shadrach delivered a message from Lantona that Theo was to report back for Officer Candidate Training School . He eagerly drove off , glad to leave the band of heretics and monsters he was forced to work with behind . Shortly thereafter they were approached by Hathor and Jak , old acquaintances of Crow’s. They joined the party without comment . That night when Hathor awoke to relieve Ace from watch Ace was nowhere to be seen . Hathor and Crow started looking for tracks while Shadrach found Renwald lying in a pool of blood , the victim of multiple stab wounds to the chest . Max healed Renwald but he was also suffering from the same kind of poison that had effected Shadrach in Homlet when he was attacked by Furnock . Hathor found a hatless Ace sleeping in a ditch a short distance away . After being awakened Ace told them he had seen someone sneaking into the camp and tried to sneak up on them but was taken down by a sleep spell . Crow and Hathor tracked the intruder for a while , finding a spot where it seems he met up with another party and they both rode off . Returning to meet with the giant eagle and the hippogriffs the party asked if they would help them search the area before proceeding on to the dwarven weaponsmithing operation .

A few hours later one of the hippogriffs returned and the crew mounted and flew to a small stream where a riderless horse was drinking . Presuming it to be mounted by an invisible personage Shadrach launched himself off his mount and unfurling his new wings executed a devastating diving attack that sliced the horse in two . The rest of the party landed and Ace looked around with his magic , seeing no invisible corpses laying around . Crow and Hathor picked up some tracks – their theory was that someone had dismounted , walked a short ways and then was bushwhacked . Only one set of tracks lead away from the site of the scuffle and they were quickly lost . It was determined that whomever had left the tracks had initiated some fairly sophisticated counter-tracking measures .

The eagle suggested that they continue on to the dwarf-hold and some of the hippogriffs would search the area in the meantime . Upon hearing that the only known entrance to the operation was a smelting chimney guarded by two manticores abandoning the mission was discussed . Ace took charge and outlined a plan . Shadrach would attack from above then retreat to a spot where Ace was set to spring an ambush . They would briefly engage and then retreat again , leading into a killzone where Crow and Hathor would rain down arrows . Shadrach mounted up again and then executed a HALO jump , catching the manticores completely by surprise and gravely wounding one with a channeled Shocking Grasp/Blade of Blood attack . He then Expeditiously Retreated with one manticore in hot pursuit while the wounded one fled . Ace sprang his ambush but missed and was pounced upon by the manticore and mauled badly . Hathor began firing as Shadrach and Crow rushed to save their precious leader . They battered the beast to bits and Ace commandeered all Max’s healing for the day – because without the leader, all is lost .

Searching the area they found (and shot and beat up) a slave that had escaped with the help of a elf-maid who was pretending to be charmed by the overseer and doing what little she could to help the other slaves . He had a Censor of Sweet Air that helped him climb up the chimney without succumbing to the fumes . It was seized and he was offered a ride on one of the hippogriffs down the mountain . He accepted and immediately fell to his death . While Ace discussed his plan to climb down the chimney and scout, Jak climbed down the chimney and scouted .

Ace formulated a plan that he and Jak would use their stealth to assassinate the dwarf overseer . This plan was changed several times which necessitated climbing back up and down the chimney several times . Eventually Ace lost his grip was about to plunge into the molten metal below but was saved by Max’s Levitate spell . Shadrach contemplated jumping down on top of him but ultimately was dissuaded . Ace told his compatriots to block the chimney with the manticore corpse and they would use the distraction to make their move . While Jak and Ace were studying in area in preparation for the assassination they could not resist pushing a careless bugbear into the smelter . No one seemed to notice so they did it again, but this time Ace was seized . He was taken into a shack and shortly thereafter came out and climbed back up the chimney , telling them to remove the corpse because they had “won” . Hathor chopped the body up enough to the point where it slid down into the molten ore . Seeing that Ace was assisting the dwarves and bugbears, Jak stealthy flicked some of the molten metal into the pocket of one of the dwarves . Ace found this hilarious and was dragged into the shack again .

Jak took his opportunity to climb back out the chimney . Negotiations were attempted but quickly reached an impasse . Max contacted Lady Mytara and they said backup could be there in a few days but no one wanted to wait so it was decided that the best thing to do was to block up the chimney and kill everyone with poisonous vapors . They tried boulders but they were transmuted to mud . They tried cloth and it was burned . Then they just started throwing crap down there, hoping to splash the slaves with molten metal for some reason . In the meantime Jak had found a crevasse that lead into one of the slave-pens . It was decided they would rest and recover and then attempt an assault in the morning . In the night Hathor’s dog started barking its head off and while everyone else ignored it Hathor fired blindly into the night . It was a bugbear night-raid . After a furious battle the bugbears were defeated and one taken captive . He told them about a secret entrance into the cavern . He promised that he would get all the other bugbears to leave before they attacked . He also promised to feed the slaves an elixir that would break the magic binding them . He further promised he would arm and free the slaves to coincide with the attack . Shadrack killed him .

The next morning ready for the attack the party saw the slaves making their way down the mountain lead by an elf-maid . Asking them what happened the former slaves said that the bugbears had broken the spells on them , set them free and armed them . They rose in revolt and the dwarves bugged out . Strangely no one seemed to wonder how this plan was enacted since the bugbear who proposed it was slaughtered . A few of the former slaves offered their magic items to the group in gratitude but they were refused . The party continued on to the smelting operation and freed Ace . They tossed the few Massog blades that had been left behind in the smelter to destroy them . In thanks the eagle granted them the fabled Spear of Phractos known sometimes as the Red Mist . The hippogriffs returned them to their campsite and they continued on their way to Bogsbridge . In the Forest of Trolls they encountered a wizard from Sundown who wanted to make sure that a wand of stone to flesh that he had purchased worked before it tried it on the petrified villagers in his home but was afraid to face a troll . A troll was buried headdown and Hathor prepared a bonfire and torch in case . The wand worked but the troll could not struggle its way out and suffocated . They continued on to Sundown prepared to face the fury of the basilisk that Arim the wizard said was there .

Ace scouted the area and saw no basilisk . The party sent Arim forward to use his wand while they kept watch . Arim used the wand and the statue turned out to be a petrified Vrock . Arim took off running and turned invisible . Using his magic Ace pursued and Crow followed . Hathor hid while Shadrach prepared to face the demon alone . Ace shot at the fleeing invisible mage and said that he killed him so Crow turned back to aid Hathor . The demon smashed some of the other statues while Crow and Shadrach assailed it . Once injured the demon teleported away . Shadrach searched the area and found a giant constrictor snake . He was about to kill it but it spoke to him in Draconic and there was a parley instead . The snake lead them to Arim’s body (whom he had killed) and then to the villagers hiding in the woods . Father Nolo said if they were willing to face the demon again he would aid them with this magic . He anointed them with holy oil to protect them from the Vrock’s deadly spores , enchanted their weapons to overcome its physical resistance , and went with them . The demon had smashed most of the rest of the statues when Shadrach came swooping down to attack . Nolo prevented it from teleporting away while Crow and Shadrach battered it . Ultimately it was brought low by Hathor’s arrows . The last three statues were turned back to flesh and Nolo told them the demon had attacked them and his acolytes had performed a ritual that would turn the demon (and themselves) to stone to protect the village . Shadrach recovered a Chalice of Blood from the demon corpse and Nolo said that he would work on turning it into a Chalice of Blessings that they could have if they ever returned .

Continuing on to Dramshae they stopped to see if they could pick up the long cold trail of Vacra . The only person in town was a old one legged man who was mending clothes while everyone else was out working in the fields . Max talked to him while Crow , Shadrach and Hathor went to work with the villagers (and terrify them with their nudity) . The old man told them that someone they assumed to be Vacra had come into town about the right time looking for a magic sword . Said sword has been wielded by a wicked elf who ran afoul of Old Scorchbark , the treeman who lives in Hollow’s Heart . They headed into the hollow and Shadrach was prepared to fight the treant but Hathor was able to speak with him instead . An irda did come into this area looking for the sword and Scorchbark pounded him into the ground like a nail . The body was exhumed and his stuff looted . The mayor/priestess of Dramshae agreed to cure Renwald but in return he had to stay and work off his debt . And so it was . The party continued on towards Bogsbridge without him .

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Session 6
The one where it all started to fall apart

En route to the abandoned Cigar Lake Mine , Shadrach left the party on a holy pilgrimage to be in the Seat of Law during a minor church holiday celebrating Bahamaut’s victory over the dark terrors of the Far Realm . In the outskirts of the Hickory Branch area Anivar found a family trying to escape the quarantine . They claimed that the quarantine was a cover and that the town had been taken over by hobgoblins with the aid of many human collaborators . They were taking people from their homes and performing rituals on them at an alter to Tiamat erected in the center of town – after which people did fall sick but it did not seem to be contagious . Kraye took this to be an outrageous lie , but agree to stay with them family while the party went to check out Hickory Branch .

Crow tried to sneak into a sniping position and was spotted by a lookout – who summoned reinforcements . Crow took to ground and was not discovered . Theo snuck close to another lookout and tried to stealthily take him out with magic . When this failed and he was discovered he was presumed to be a villager trying to sneak away and was forced back to his “home” where he proceeded to terrify the already frightened family cowering within . Next Max approached the town with Crow , Ace & Renwald watching from hiding . He was welcomed as a healer coming to aid with battling the sickness at which point Ace sprung from hiding and shot one of the welcome party in the stomach . Following suit , Renwald and Crow also peppered the welcome party with arrows .

The badly injured men hustled Max to safety while their fellows (skilled unarmed fighters) turned to face the threat of Ace , Crow & Renwald . Max and the injured men took cover in the house where Theo was and which point Theo and Max launched a sneak attack and slaughtered them both . Outside two of the fighters were taken down by Crow and the third took up a defensive posture throwing poisoned shurikens and buying time as archers reinforced his position . A badly injured Renwald fled . Crow continued to wrangle with the last unarmed fighter as Ace was taken down by a barrage of arrows . The terrified family with Theo and Max made a break for it and was cut down by a volley of arrows well . Using a table for cover Max reached Ace and healed him as Theo momentarily distracted the archers with an illusion of Shadrach plummeting out of the air like a comet . Crow took down his final melee opponent and was injured by an arrow attack . As more reinforcements continued to arrive the party fled under the cover of an obscuring mist , taking a few more arrow hits .

Kraye and his crew didn’t know exactly what to make of this , and spent a few days watching the town from afar while the party recuperated and spent some quality time with the violent felons that the other constables had captured . Maramus was able to confirm that a few times in the dead of night they had seen hobgoblins in the town and they seemed to be giving orders to the armed humans maintaining the quarantine . Armed with this information Kraye and the party headed for Dockalong . The local government was informed of the situation . Theo convinced Kraye not to continue on with his plan of selling the prisoners into slavery and the two groups parted on good terms .

A significant disagreement arose about what to do with the prisoners . Ace favoring secular law , Max and Theo wanting bloody slaughter . Max found three priests willing to sign death warrants for the criminals on spec and Theo expended considerable time and effort making sure the criminals would be massacred in exactly the way he wanted as Ace’s pleas for some kind of sanity fell on deaf ears . All eleven men were put to death and Ace resigned his commission in disgust whereupon Crow was heard to remark that being a constable was for “retards” in any event .

The party continued on to Latona to tie a few loose ends – finding that Anders did indeed return to Oakhurst to marry the girl he impregnated and that Oakhurst has since been abandoned as it was being terrorized by seemingly supernatural killing force that was strangling people in their beds . Renwald speculated that it might have been an animated severed hand that had claimed enough lives to become a druj – a powerful undead spirit of malice . In Latona they went to see a “werewolf” in a crow cage . Max was able to speak to him in High Celestial and he claimed to be a traveler from the far south who had come north exploring . A priest was fetched who could also speak High Celestial but that parley fell apart when the wolfman reacted poorly to the idea of Menoth having been mortal . Crow started wildly attacking the cage , frightening the wits out of the wolfman as Theo and Max got into a shoving contest . The operator of the freak show tried to intervene and Crow savagely beat him as Ace picked the lock to the cage and the wolfman ran for his life . Theo tried to raise a mob to go after the wolfman as Renwald asked “What the hell is happening right now ?”

Ace tried to resign again but remembered that he already had .

With tempers frayed the party decided the best thing to do was to head for Bogsbridge to begin the quest for the three keys that had previously been deemed “stupid” . On they road they overtook a large party of Thenol pit fighters who freedom had been purchased in Imir who had been organized into a mercenary company to head south to Fort Branten to hold off the alleged gnoll threat . The mercenary captain stated that some “pipehead woman” was down their blackmailing the Spicer’s guild into funding this boondoggle . Arriving back in Hickory Branch they found that the town had been pacified by the efforts of a collection of constables under the leadership of Lady Mytara who they learned also ran the “bad element” out of Nulb and had the town up as a headquarters for the southern district constabulary .

Continuing on their way towards Bogsbridge the party was approached by a hippogriff who flew them one by one to a tower on an island in the river . After springing several traps and chasing after a couple homunculi the party discovered that the owner of the tower had been possessed by a demon after trying to unlock the secrets of a magic book . They negotiated with the homunculi to come back the next day to try and help their master . The homunculi brought out their bound and chained master the next day and Max , although thwarted at first , was able to break the hold of the demon – which manifested . As the party watched on in horror the noble hippogriffs attacked the foul created and were torn limb from limb , although one managed to flee . The wizard Felzor thanked them for helping him and rewarded the group by teaching Max a few spells and giving them a matched pair of magical scimitars and a potion of heroism . Ace remarked “we’re no heroes” and tried to resign his commission again .

The next day the hippogriff returned with a giant eagle who was able to converse with the party – he said that a group of evil dwarves had set up a smelting operation near their aerie using slave labor and that the slag and fumes from said operation was harming their eggs and chicks . He asked for aid .

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