Mr Magorium's Adventure Emporium

053 - Name - Dates 1477DR
Written by Finn

Seemed we were too bloody late. Halaster’s goons, or whatever they called themselves, had collected the ritual materials – well, the cheese – and everything was protected with some sort of spell in this gloomy little cavern in Undermountain. I figured I could maybe fill the room up with dirt, using the sweet belt I got. Got, uh, got a few cheers from Poppy, heheh, but another enchantment on the room must have stopped it from filling up, because the dirt just started piling up against an invisible wall or something before long. Thought I could still block off the entrance, but I had only half covered the entrance when we were all suddenly paralysed with magic. Wasn’t facing the room, but I heard a harsh and plenty angry voice from inside – later I was told it was Muriel, the scorpion-woman hybrid thing – yelling that we’d made a nuisance of ourselves and they’d have to get on with the ritual in spite of our presence. Boy, she knew how to run her mouth. Bloody miscreant was raving about us for an age. Something in there about not getting quite enough cheese to fully complete the ritual, hohoh am I glad I ate some before we burned it in the open lord’s basement the other day. Totally worth copping a bolt of magic from Zavra’s staff.

Uh, anyway, yes, the ritual cavern. Heard some struggling in there, too. Sounded like some poor lass was being used for the ritual – against her will. Poppy tried – of all things – reasoning with Muriel. Wouldn’t have guessed she’d try it, but it went about as well as you’d expect with an insane scorpion woman hell-bent on the resurrection of a lunatic wizard of incomprehensible power. Muriel blabbed on some more about how they were going to bring back Halaster’s spirit, then began the ritual. Heard something gory, asked Kaedri about it later, apparently she saw the shadow of Muriel’s stinger right before that stinger was plunged into the human sacrifice. I think someone said her name was Stephie1, or something? Eh, dead now, not important. Halaster’s spirit, sure enough, rose from her corpse – so I’m told. Muriel told the old bastard to take her power and do what he always wanted. Not one to refuse power, this guy. He drained the life and energy from everything in that room, all his heirs included – got us a bit on his way out, too, just after the magic paralysis wore off and our limbs unstiffened. And by “got us a bit” I mean wow did he take the wind out of us or what – I felt my body, mind and soul wither as he passed over us.
Poppy yelled, “We have a halfling!” Look, who knows what she was on about.

We checked out the ritual room again, found Halaster’s heirs – dead – and Muriel – also dead – lying near Tracy or whatever her name was. All very dead. This was when I started worrying that Poppy wasn’t feeling hersel– Ahem, wasn’t feeling her usual self. She covered Sassy – was it Sassy? I’ll get this right at least once, surely – with a cloak, like you might cover up a friend. Ah, but I immediately knew she was fine when she suddenly sliced off Tashy’s hand – chopping on corpses is classic Poppy. So then we figured, you know, enough messing around, there’s a city above us presumably in the middle of a total catastrophe, and we were off.

The denizens of Undermountain – the ones who were still alive, at least – were scattered and panicked, running all over, screeching. We were pretty close to the shaft beneath the Yawning Portal when we came across this fellow pottering about like nothing was wrong – seemed really suspicious to me, at first. Turned out he was just deaf. No idea how he survived down there for more than 2 seconds, didn’t see any magic eyes in the back of his head. Poppy started writing to communicate with him, he introduced himself as Mallow, then practically pissed himself when she mentioned Halaster. Clung to her like a scared little kid. We took him with us up the shaft to the Yawning Portal – magic lift courtesy of Kaedri, in the absence of the usual one. Metal cover on top wasn’t too heavy, but the din of panic in the streets sure was.

Found Durnan in the basement, a cowering wreck. The sight of Poppy certainly didn’t cheer him up. She told him things had gone bad – in case that wasn’t obvious – asked for information, and slapped him with Sasha’s amputated hand when he started to panic about dying. What a charmer. Well, it worked. Somehow. He suggested talking to Muriel – dead – or maybe Horton, who apparently betrayed Halaster. They had some sort of beef going on. Well, there was no time to waste, so we left Mallow with Durnan and made our way to the streets.

We headed for the open lord’s place – pretty nerve-wracking with the number of spirits in the sky above, swooping on people now and again. Luckily, we made it there without getting any attention from them. Heard Ulbrenter whimpering under his desk like a cur. Poppy, ever the tactful one, leapt over it and scared the living daylights out of him, with Tessa’s limp hand still in her grasp. She inquired about his daughter briefly, but then got directions to Horton’s quarters. We found him there, oddly calm. We gave him the details of the situation with Halaster and the spirits and the ritual, and he reckoned we ought to smash the altar. For that, though, we’d need to bring Muriel back and have her lift the enchantment protecting the whole room. No easy task. He gave us a jar of what looked like colourful, sparkling sand, told us one pinch of it would bring someone back for maybe 10 minutes, maybe an hour. We led Ulbrenter to his daughter’s room, then dashed back to the Yawning Portal.

Not so easy this time, though. One of the spirits swooped at us, cackling. Poppy leapt out of the way, I took cover in a well, and Kaedri… For some bloody reason… Kaedri stood there and tried to use the amulet to command our abomination to attack it. She managed to control it about as well as most of us had done in the past – it didn’t respond. The spirit drained a lot of energy them both, and the abomination wasn’t happy about that at all. It got hungry. It stopped obeying the amulet that Kaedri held. She had to blast it away with – eeeeghh – thunder. Then it went into a nearby house for a moment and came out moments later, seeming satisfied, back to its usual complacent self. We all still try not to think about what happened in there.

When we got back to the Yawning Portal, Mallow and Durnan were still in the basement. Poppy pressed Durnan for information again, and he mentioned that Muriel had been brainwashed by Halaster to destroy peaceful societies everywhere. Something was up with Durnan – he was hiding a lot of power. Poppy could see, with those fancy goggles, he was tougher than the rest of us. When she insisted he was the strongest person in the room, though, he disagreed. What was his deal? Well, she convinced him to come with us to help persuade Muriel, but he wasn’t pleased at all. I tried to get him more on our side, said he’d be remembered for centuries. He said he already had been. Maybe one day I’ll get the full scoop on this mysterious bastard.

Back at the altar again. Sissy’s body was gone, and Durnan said that might make more sense if she was a phylactery herself? I don’t get that arcane stuff. Anyway, Kaedri asked Durnan if he thought Muriel would try to kill him on sight. He seemed very sure she would. Kaedri handed him the amulet to control the abomination, more to free up her own hands than make him feel safe. Poppy got Muriel’s shrivelled corpse all tied down, then chucked a pinch of that powder from Horton’s jar on her. I found a safe spot in the mound of dirt I’d dug up earlier as she came to. She yelled at us a bit, about what we wanted and what was going on. Poppy dragged Durnan into view, for all the good it did. Muriel tried to reach out and clobber him. Here, again, I started wondering if Poppy was still really Poppy – she started talking with the insane scorpion woman, trying to convince her to help us. Muriel didn’t stop struggling to get free and murder us all, mind you. And she might have done, if not for the powder wearing off. Yeah, she died again. Good timing. Durnan gave us a rundown of her past with Halaster – he brainwashed her to kill her family because they successfully defied him – and Kaedri sent an arcane message to ol’ McNugget, asking him to come to our aid. Kaedri also figured she could cure Muriel’s insanity and brainwashing, so she got to work on a ritual for that while Poppy secured Muriel again. Poppy – ah, look, I was gonna say she must have been going nuts, but maybe this was just her softer side showing – she tried to comfort Durnan while he spilled his guts about bonding with Muriel over destruction and other terrible things. Poppy finally threw a little more powder on Muriel, bringing her back for the last few vital minutes of Kaedri’s ritual, and tried to keep her busy with words, but mostly just pissed her off. I was starting to feel a bit insecure, even in my little pile of dirt, as Muriel thrashed around, but the ritual killed her off again. It worked, though. Another dash of Horton’s powder and she was back. Poppy barely had to prompt her to get up and smash the altar and the cheese – I even gave a little cheer from my burrow. Muriel wasn’t so bad with her head set right. She told us we had to destroy the rest, and that the book on the altar could track the last sources empowering Halaster and the other spirits wreaking havoc on Waterdeep above us. Just as I felt we were starting to make a new friend, she collapsed again, dead as before. Poppy checked the book – mostly blank, save for a written date, and a page with some dots on it that moved about, seemingly in sync with the movements of ourselves and the sources of the spirits’ power. We could track our targets with the book! I took one of Muriel’s fingers before we left. Might be worth having Kaedri raise her from the dead later on, even if it comes at my expense.

We left the abomination with Durnan at the Yawning Portal inn and navigated towards the nearest target with the book. As we came toward a house that seemed to be the spot the book indicated, the house fell apart as a massive goliath barbarian grew to immense size from within, right before our eyes. He seemed a little dazed, at first, but then started taking swings at the spirits, yelling in pain each time he hit one. The spirits must have been the ones feeding him power. His name was Frank. Poppy gave him a talking-to, and even got him to stomp on one of the other sources of the ritual’s power – a goliath paladin apparently called Boggywog. I told Poppy to get Frank to keep swinging at the spirits – he’d made himself useful, now we just needed to weaken and kill him, and he seemed foolish enough to do as she said. My, ah, my memory fails me after that. Hold on while I grab another drink.

1: Stacey

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052 - Say Cheese - 18th-25th of Uktar 1477DR
Written by Young Lauren

In this episode of “Themventures”: stubborn abominations, heated debate, Undermountain antics, and mountains of cheese! Will our heroes make it out alive? Or will the emotional pressures of hoarding cheese lead them to tear each other apart? Find out now!

The team makes short work of the winding and frustrating dungeon they had retrieved the abomination from. Throughout the exit, Artorius, Sky and Zavra juggle both the abomination amulet and Bangle of Hope between them. Finally back on the surface, our heroes head back in the direction of Waterdeep, striking up a vigorous debate as they travelled. No one can seem to agree on how to deal with the abomination. Some want to return it to its previous owner, others to scope out the situation with all interested parties, but in the end Artorius and Zavra win out with taking the creature to the authorities (hopefully for a profit).

Them stops over at Daggerfart on the way to Waterdeep. Most sleep in an inn, but ever vigilant Zavra takes up position on a nearby grassy knoll with Fred the owlbear, holding the abomination amulet as she meditates. It is certainly a picture, and unsurprisingly she gets through the night undisturbed. Perrin and Kaedri are not so lucky, however. In the middle of the night, Perrin is awoken from sleep after an intense dream of being crushed by rocks inside a collapsing tunnel. His fast breathing wakes Kaedri, who tries to make sure he’s not going to die or something. Satisfied he’s only a little terrified, she goes back to sleep, and eventually Perrin follows suit.

The next day the group sets off on the path again, and finally back in Waterdeep they immediately head to the Open Lord, minus Kaedri who stays at the city gates in protest of not taking the abomination back to the original owner. Zavra introduces the creature to the Open Lord, who offers 5,000gp for it, however neither Zavra nor Artorius are pleased with such peanuts and decide to keep the abomination with them until further notice. Sometime during this meeting the Open Lord mentions rumors that Halaster’s Heirs are planning an attack on the city, and asks the group for their help in containing the situation.

Them goes straight to their tight-lipped old friend Durnan to ask about Halaster, and while he is (as always) difficult and evasive, Zavra eventually breaks him down with a mixture of verbal abuse and coaxing. He tells the group about his past with the Heirs, and how he left after Halaster died. He also tells Them a juicy little nugget about how the Heirs will need cheese to complete the ritual – thus explaining the great Fearun-wide cheese shortage of 1477DR.

Our heroes are happy to take Durnan’s word and begin a great crusade against cheese that terrorizes the nearby Sword Coast. While the group eventually convinces the Open Lord to illegalise the generation of cheese, the crusade begins before it is technically supposed to, leading to an unconscious farmer with a suspicious lack of cheese. Whoopsie. Perrin takes a more gentle approach and buys up all the available cheese in nearby Neverwinter. By the time the group returns to Waterdeep, the farmers have surrendered all their cheese to local authorities, and it is being stored within the Open Lord’s residence. Unsatisfied with the level of security surrounding the cheese, Zavra demands it be destroyed permanently. The Open Lord puts up resistance but eventually acquiesces and the cheese becomes soup.

Having finally dealt with the cheese situation, Them sets off into the Undermountain in the hopes of mapping the lay of the land and foiling the Heirs’ plans. The first obstacle our heroes encounter is a misty room with a hole in the middle and a plank leading across. As Sky attempts to cross, a specter of what seems to be Halaster appears and challenges Sky, Poppy and Zavra to solve a basic logic puzzle before progressing. Unsurprisingly, they pass with flying colours, and continue on. Sky plonks herself on a throne up the other end of the room and is treated to a vision of a large scorpion lady pouring over a filthy, disgusting, almost destroyed ritual book.

The group next encounters a room full of hobgoblins surrounding a normal goblin and bugbear as they fight gladiator-style in the middle of the room. Artorius attempts to challenge the bugbear, but is ignored. He instead ends up beating the goblin to death after it defeats the bugbear and being presented with an enslaved dwarf girl. In retaliation for participating in slavery, Artorius and Zavra decide to slaughter the hobgoblins and free the dwarf girl along with two other prisoners in the next room (a dwarf and rogue hobgoblin). Them clothes and arms the new arrivals so they might die less quickly in combat. Before moving on. Various other doors lead to dead ends, and the group explores, mapping as they go. After a while, they locate a door which, when opened, leads to another door a few feet away. The moment they open the next door they are pelted with a collection of random potions that alternatively help and poison them. The potions are being flung by a kobold sitting behind a desk in a small room. Eventually Artorius manages to intimidate the creature into ceasing and he and Zavra move forward to talk to him. The kobold turns out to be severely depressed and very lonely, so Them tells him to pack up his things and they will take him out of the Undermountain with them on the way out. He seems reluctant, but finally agrees.

Down another corridor the group finds a next with lizard-esque eggs. Artorius takes one, but Zavra (ever the adventurous soul) takes all the remaining ones. What could go wrong? And now finally our heroes find something relevant to their quest. Behind another door is an altar dedicated to Halaster. It is covered in cheese and a very bloody, feces-covered book sits on the altar. They can just make out the words “We will bring Halaster back on [obscured], meeting at the agreed location, to perform the ritual, Murial”. However, the altar is magically sealed and unable to be disturbed. Nothing can be disturbed and the group does not have the magical ability to break the seal. Disappointed, Them turn away from the altar in search of something less difficult.

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Diary of Val
Written by Jack

Diary of Val. Leave this alone, Tal, you won’t understand and it will be awfully awkward.
So where was I? Ah yes, the box. I voted against it but with Sorrow’s vote the majority wished to forgo our dignity and ruin our employer’s good wishes to leave the box unopened. Anabethabellapolymerastarfireperiwinkle went ahead and tore the lid open. Well, off. Inside lay a curious book. Covered in what appeared to be dried blood, some of our party members were put off by it.
“We will bring back Halaster.” Was written inside it. I wonder if it’s some kind of diary? “Bringing back milk, home by eve,” type thing.
A strange woman wanted to come with us, except then she was a goat. Then a dragon. We liked the dragon, so she’s coming with us. Wonder what her name is? I don’t wonder enough to ask though.
We decided to get a decoy book, which obviously needed blood to coat it. Stacey thought that she found an exact copy. Cute. Anabethabellapolymerastarfireperiwinkle went to take some fresh human blood from Stacey, but Stacey was very quick and protected herself. It looked cool. Then Tal punched himself and got himself stabbed. That still hurts. Thanks Tal.

SHE ATTACKED ANA! SHE DIDN’T GET A SCRATCH ON HER! YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED BECAUSE I HAD TO STEP IN AND PROTECT THE GROUP!

And that went so well, now didn’t it? You punched yourself. And isn’t it that much more impressive that she fended off two assailants?
Anyway we departed and it took like, three seconds for us to be attacked by Halfling scum. Not that all halflings are scum, just that these ones in particular fit the picture that everyone has of Halflings; that is, lying thieving scum.
Anabethabellapollymerastarfireperiwinkle and I were walking down the path when we were mobbed and robbed. Riswynn behind us threw fireballs and got them off us, while Stacey picked off one after another with her shuriken.
They were clearly after the book and they took off as soon as they had the real one. Guess there wasn’t enough blood on the original. They had many friends. Many many friends. It was all I could do to keep Anabethabellastarfireperiwinkle healthy and conscious while she took beating after beating. It must be that they were jealous of her magnificent height. Riswynn picked off stragglers and Stacey just spun her dance of death through the crowd, an unstoppable deadly force.
Anabethabellapolymerastarfireperiwinkle charged ahead and finally caught up and grabbed the book and threatened to tear it in half. Some strange man appeared and cast foreign magic, choking Anabethabellapolymerastarfireperiwinkle. Anabethabellapolymerastarfireperiwinkle is a trooper, though, and she began tearing the book in half. We were all thrust away by magic, except for Anabethabellapolymerastarfireperiwinkle who held on to the book. The man took the book and the halflings fled. Anabethabellapolymerastarfireperiwinkle took her revenge by tackling the old guy to the ground, headbutting him with her horns and decapitating him. Anabethabellapolymerastarfireperiwinkle is rather barbaric.
So we trekked through the forest, tracking the latrinestains across the country, until Stacey led us to a river. It was scary crossing it but Stacey helped us all cross safely. I assume, I wasn’t there.

It was hell, dear Val, simply terrible hard work. I could have died. And our polymorphic friend is called Esme, for your information. Do make an effort to befriend your company, or at least maintain appearances. I have to deal with being unable to woo them.

You probably just flew across, Fal. Why are you coming out now anyway? I have no romantic interests at this current point in time.

HAHAHAhahahahahaha. Dear blind Val.

I don’t understand. Anyway we found a crazy guy in a field with a rabbit he said was his wife. We took the man’s wife. The straggler shapeshifter (Esme – Fal) tried to look cuter than the real rabbit and accompanied Riswynn, but Stacey and the real rabbit cannot be beat. I think Stacey is making the rabbit a little bonnet. Fal stayed in control during this time and that got me in to trouble when he was enamoured with a naked lady from a pond. The things I have to put up with….
Riswynn got caught in a rope trap, but Stacey got her down AND caught her. I’m sure it looked amazing. Plants attacked us and Fal had to concede to me so I could get us out. For I am superior. Fly all you want, if you can’t move you can’t escape, and I will always be able to.
We next came upon a disgusting road full of vermin heading to town. Unable to trust any of the halflings, Fal flew over for me. Anabethabellapolymerastarfireperiwinkle walked through the crowd with Stacey atop her shoulders and the bunny atop Stacey’s head.
We finally came to their hideout and this is where things get messy and…. Hazy. There was fire and arrows being shot, Stacey, the bunny, Anabethabellapolymerastarfireperiwinkle and I got down the hatch quickly and painlessly. Riswynn… Wasn’t so lucky. She fell through shielding the shapeshifting rabbit (ESME – Fal) riddled with arrows and burning.
Anabethabellapolymerastarfireperiwinkle burst in to the next room to find a guy very similar looking to the decapitated mister from before, like, ten halflings and four big scary ogres. We peered in after her and she compared the man in front of us to the head in her possession. Upon seeing the head the man freaked out. Anabethabellapolymerastarfireperiwinkle laughed at him, then she was filled with daggers and spears. I immediately began applying medical care to her and in a fit of mild annoyance I HURLED the severed head at the man. It didn’t go very far. At our suggestion, Esme (See what that so hard? – Fal) morphed in to a lookalike of a headless corpse and took the head towards the man.
Meanwhile Stacey essentially took over one side of the room, taking on eight or nine foes at once by herself. I helped Anabethabellapolymerastarfireperiwinkle back to her feet and stayed back, cautiously helping from afar. Stacey brought an ogre down all by herself, flipping magnificently and keeping the bunny atop her head, not a drop of blood landing upon it. She turned to fight another ogre, she held a hostage and faced down like six halflings, but they closed in on her slowly and her back was to the wall. Riswynn rushed forward to back up Esme, the bad man cast a spell and Riswynn jumped in front of Esme, being polymorphed in to a rabbit. It looked bad. It got worse. I was stabbed by a Halfling, then by another. And another. I was riddled with daggers and I fell backwards to the ground. I thought that maybe if I played dead I would live. Then the ogre came and slammed his club down on to me. That’s the last thing I remember.
I awoke in the previous room, sounds of battle filtering through. Someone had pulled me to safety. I was on the brink of dying. I looked in to the room to see Esme holding a rabbit above the bad man’s head. As I watched, the rabbit morphed, expanding, forming a large ungainly ogre shape, before falling straight on to the bad man. He splattered.
I staggered in to the room to see a gruesome sight of victory. Anabethabellapolymerastarfireperiwinkle knelt amidst a circle of dead halflings, painting her face with their blood. Probably religious reasons. That or she’s just weird. Esme stood, covered in blood, shocked and exhausted. Riswynn executed the final ogre. Stacey stood atop a mountain of bodies, twirling a shuriken between her fingers. Beneath her cowered a few halflings. I rushed forward to fight them but she halted me.
“It’s done, it’s over. Sleepyhead,” she said with a hint of a smile.
We interrogated the halflings but they knew nothing. We took all of our stuff back and sent the halflings away and locked up the place for the night, and here I am finishing writing this recollection of recent events (Just call it a diary – Tal). I got a whiff of a terrible stench coming from the book. It… It looked like it had feces on it? And urine? And more fresh blood. And it’s half torn. I hope our merchant friend isn’t mad at us. When I asked about it Riswynn had a…. Dare I say satisfied look? I shan’t enquire further. I’m going to sleep.

End.

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Wow A Badass Must Have Come Through Here, I Wonder If Stacey Saw Them?
Written by Bec

Frank and Entropy dove through the door just in time to avoid being crushed by the falling rocks, there was a moment of tension when they realised that there were others in this room with them, but it quickly became apparent that they had simply run into another pair of adventurers like them. Frank straightened up quite a bit when he realised that these new friends were both ladies. Stacey, the blonde bombshell with pigtails and a bat, and Iranae, the very uncomfortable looking elf with a longbow, barely had time to introduce themselves before the rumbling began again and cracks appeared in the ceiling above them. The four of them ran together as the crumbling roof chased after them.
Stacey sprinted out ahead of the group rounding the first corner quickly, so quickly she didn’t notice the dart flying at her until it was already embedded in her shoulder. Much to her chagrin she began to move as if in slow motion, slower than the rocks were falling anyway. Entropy was the next to turn the corner, seeing Stacey in her predicament, he quickly ran around to the front of her, reached out, and grabbed her hand. “Nice meeting you” he said cheerfully before sprinting off. The slow-motion curses Stacey directed at his back must have been effective because around the next corner in a large recessed alcove in the wall stood a blank faced human with a dart gun, and now it was Entropy’s turn to slow down. Iranae displayed her loyalty as after kinda trying to heal Stacey but not trying hard enough, she just ran ahead after Entropy. Frank was gentlemanly enough to stop to pick Stacey up, but also kind of dumb enough to move her out of harm’s way by throwing her face first into the ground ahead. Iranae experimented with different healing techniques on Entropy as he managed to sluggishly shoot and kill the human, she might have done something to help, as he then managed to shake off the slowness, but maybe not, as Stacey achieved the same thing at the same time.
Casting wary glances at the still falling ceiling the group took the next corner all together. Thankfully there were no darts or dart guns in this next alcove, there were however, about eight screeching harpies. Stacey, thoroughly out of patience, stomped right up to them and, swinging her bat about her head, unleashed a devastating blow, knocking over all but two of the harpies. Entropy added insult to injury by unleashing a load of crackling fire. Iranae just missed… twice, and Frank buried his hand axe into one of the standing harpies. Surprised, and clearly very annoyed, the two standing harpies shrieked as they flew right at Stacey, talons first. She managed to duck under both before turning her attention to the rest of the harpies that were scrambling to get up, she took a moment to line up a wicked shot, before swinging her bat in a line across all of them. They all stopped trying to get up after that, one of them stopped moving at all. The rumbling in the background grew louder, the rockfall wasn’t stopping, and it was getting closer. Without hesitating, Stacey ran forward, squeezing through a space in the tunnel where the rocks were closer together, Entropy and Iranae followed right behind her, Frank paused for a moment to push the only standing harpies backwards into the falling rocks, before following suit. The four of them took a moment to breathe, but began moving again as they heard the sounds of harpies being crushed behind them. Stacey led the way, crouched low and for some reason holding a jar of dirt ahead of her like a mighty shield. Peering around the next corner she saw yet another raised alcove, this time with five hypnotised humans with dart guns. Entropy strode up behind her but stopped and crouched low when he saw Stacey frantically signalling him for quiet. Iranae followed her companions’ example and hid behind Entropy. Stacey snuck to the other side of the alcove sticking close to the wall underneath it, remaining out of sight. At this point, Frank, utterly clueless, stomped up behind Entropy and Iranae and loudly asked, “Hey! What’s going on?”. The tiefling and the elf both cringed and just stared at the confused, blinking goliath for a while before Iranae let out a small “shhhhhhhh” between gritted teeth. Entropy leaned in close to Frank’s ear and whispered “quiet, like a mouse”, “but mice aren’t quiet! They squeak all the time!”, Frank replied, making no effort to lower his voice. Entropy’s mouth opened and closed incredulously several times as he tried to think of a reply to that, “you…you know what fine”, he snapped before crawling around the corner, hiding from the humans. Iranae did the same, carefully moving forward, Frank just stepped out from around the corner, all eight feet of him clearly on display.
Immediately, five different darts flew through the air and buried themselves into Frank’s shoulder. Angered and slowed Frank pulled the darts out and threw them back in the direction of the humans. The others, safely on the other side of the alcove anxiously gestured at him to duck, but at this point he began to feel an itch building at the back of his mind, starting to drive him insane. Without the barest hint of hesitation, Stacey turned her back and hurried on to the next room. Looking slightly annoyed, Entropy scrambled back to Frank and, with all his might, pulled the goliaths legs out from under him, pulling him behind cover. Meanwhile, Stacey stood in the next section where the tunnel opened into a cavern, whose floor was almost entirely covered in moss. Cautiously, she stepped forward but as her feet touched the moss, a fog filled her head, accompanied by a voice that sounded disturbingly like, and unlike her own, repeating over and over like a mantra, “you want to die”. Iranae looked on anxiously as Entropy struggled with Frank, a good slap to the face seemed to bring Frank back to his senses, but he was still moving painfully slow and the collapsing ceiling was catching up again. In the next section, Stacey managed to fight through most of the fog in her head, and, in a rather desperate move, angrily set fire to the moss she was standing on, as well as herself, but at least her head cleared up. Back at the alcove, Frank let out a cry as a large boulder fell onto the back of his legs. Entropy managed to shove the boulder off in time to drag Frank out of the way of several more. Against her better judgements, Iranae anxiously ran out to help Entropy drag Frank back to safety, Frank’s smile at this was only a little bit creepy. Stacey had managed to cross the fiery moss room and made use of her makeshift shield, pouring the dirt over herself to douse the flames. Looking around by the light of the fire, she found herself in a mostly empty room with a single chest sitting in the middle. Stacey cautiously moved toward the chest, pulling a convenient second jar of dirt from her bag to use as a shield. A quick whack of her club verified that this was indeed, an inanimate chest, and further investigation revealed that it was filled with three enormous gems. It quickly became apparent that the gems were too heavy to carry all together so she took the most expensive looking one, a diamond, and carried on without a second thought for her companions.
Back on the other side of the fire, the elf was despairing at the sight of the only greenery she’d seen in a while, completely on fire. There was no time to linger, however, the ceiling continued to crumble, crushing the humans, who barely seemed to notice. Taking a deep breath, Iranae ran as fast as she could across the flaming moss, managing to run fast enough to avoid being set alight. Gritting his teeth, Entropy hauled Frank over his shoulders and began scuttling along the wall above the fire. From the other side Iranae called out to Entropy to check on him, he could only respond with a barely audible wheeze. Thankfully, by this time Frank managed to shake off his slowness and jumped off Entropy’s shoulders to quickly run to the other side on this own. Once the three were safely together on the other side they approached the now open chest and found the gems that Stacey had left behind.
Speaking of, Stacey herself had moved on to an area where the cavern opened further into a huge space. Looking ahead, Stacey could just see the other end of the cavern where the rock closed in again into an even narrower tunnel than she had travelled through before. Luckily for her, Stacey made it across the cavern without incident, however, when she reached the other side, the ground began to rumble and shake. She managed to scramble to the relative safety of the narrow tunnel, as the ground in the cavern began to crumble away. Within moments, what had seemed to be solid ground fell away into pools of dirty looking water, leaving only a few small rock islands behind. Relieved that she had managed to avoid all that, Stacey continued down the increasingly narrow tunnel.
Meanwhile, further back, Frank, Entropy, and Iranae had only just avoided falling into the newly appeared pools of water that reached all the way to where they had been patting down the fire that had caught onto Frank’s clothes. Taking this as an opportunity, Frank jumped into the water to put himself out, which did work, but also resulted in him getting nibbled by the fishys that also happened to be in there. Entropy continued to employ his wall scuttling abilities, making it across to the next island. Iranae made use of some impressive acrobatic skills, executing a couple of wall jumps and flips to make it across two whole islands, which made her feel super badass (like, for a minute she felt like she could reach the Sky… or even BE the Sky!). As Frank pulled himself up out of the water he realised that he had begun to feel kind of sickly, doing his best to fight through it, he ran and leapt over to the next island to join Entropy and Iranae.
Much further ahead, Stacey slowly squeezed her way along the tiny tunnel until it finally started to widen just before a final corner. The jar of dirt peered around the corner just before Stacey did, at first the room ahead seemed entirely empty, but a loud creaking sound warned her just in time to dart backwards as a giant boulder suspended on a chain swung down toward her. With a resounding crash, the boulder came to rest at the tunnel entrance almost blocking it off save for a small space at the top. Letting out a sigh at this grave inconvenience, Stacey busied herself with climbing up and over the boulder.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, (the ranch in this case being a rocky tunnel mostly covered with water), the other three were struggling to make their way across the rest of the small islands. Entropy had managed to leap to, and balance on a small ledge, but when he tried to jump to the next island, he lost his footing and splashed down into the brine. As he struggled to pull himself out, Iranae tried her luck, but didn’t even make it to the ledge before falling into the water. After some struggle, they both pulled themselves up onto land just in time to roll out of the way of Frank who had just decided to jump, with much more success. Pausing for a moment, they all took stock of their surroundings. They had made it to the giant cavern, there were only three or so islands between them and completely solid ground.
Meanwhile, back at the other ranch, Stacey had found an honest to godsness door, excited at the prospects of an exit, she eagerly peered through the keyhole tom the other side. Disappointingly, it wasn’t an exit, it was another room filled with five dart gun wielding, hypnotised humans. After a moment of uncharacteristically deep thought, Stacey pulled out her dagger and carefully began unscrewing the hinges of the door. Carefully, she began to creep into the room, holding the door out in front of her. If the humans noticed it, they seemed unconcerned by the encroaching door, Stacey snuck right up to the three humans in the middle and, in a display of what can only be described as pure badassery, she leapt into the air, raised the entire door above her head and brought it crashing down on the poor souls beneath her, crushing them instantly. Not content to leave it at that, she quickly sprung up again and, with a deft flick of both wrists, sent a shuriken into the neck of each of the two remaining humans, they didn’t stand a chance. With a sassy flick of her pigtail, Stacey busied herself with looting the corpses of darts and guns, and searching through yet another chest that the humans had been really badly guarding or something. Seeing that it was full of pitons, she scooped up a few for later and carried on her merry way.
Meanwhile… back at the ranch. Entropy decided to just stop screwing around and started spider-scuttling along the wall to the other side of the cavern. Iranae however, had spotted a lever sticking out of the wall at the far side of the cavern. Curiosity piqued, she pulled out her grappling hook and threw it right at the lever… and completely missed. Dejectedly, she reeled the hook back in from the water and, careful not to touch it, tried throwing it again. This time the hook stuck and a quick tug on the rope caused the lever to flick downward. At first it seemed like nothing happened, but as she looked closer, Iranae realised that a small square of ground had disappeared from beneath the lever. After a moment of deliberation, she turned to Frank, “How far can you throw me?” she asked, Frank puffed out his chest and grinned. Hoisting her above his head, Frank grunted with effort as he let Iranae fly… right into the water. Sputtering and a bit annoyed, Iranae just swam the rest of the way to the lever island. Frank, a little sheepish, decided to just jump over to where Entropy was waiting. Further inspection of the lever hole on Iranae’s part revealed that it was just a spike trap, much to her disappointment. All this swimming was making her feel tired, or was it the water itself? Or the mist rising from it? Had that always been there? Blinking through the fatigue, Iranae retrieved her grappling hook, and this time, hooked it onto the ceiling above her, luckily, she managed to swing across to the others successfully.
As Entropy, Frank, and Iranae squeezed their way through the narrow tunnel, they were relieved to find that they began to feel less lethargic and healthier the further they got from the water. At the end of the tunnel they found their exit blocked by a large boulder with only a small gap at the top. Without wasting any time Entropy climbed onto Frank and over the boulder to the other side. Frank turned to Iranae and confidentially declared that he would smash the boulder out of her way. After two mighty swings of Frank’s fists, it became apparent that he could do no such thing. Iranae just decided to use the embarrassed goliath to climb over the boulder. After a moment, Frank followed his companions over the rock to the other side. “Wow!”, Entropy’s voice echoed from the next room, he stood gazing admiringly at the five corpses laying beneath and beside the door. “Some kind of badass must have come through here!” he concluded. “Huh,” remarked Iranae, “I wonder if Stacey saw them?” she continued, “maybe they killed her too?” she said with a wry smile, not entirely joking.
While the other two looked around, Entropy moved on to the next room. There he found a large cliff stretching up to a raised ledge. Extending along the cliff face, creating a makeshift ladder, were series of thick pitons, and right at the top, looking rather impatient, was a pair of pigtails attached to a Stacey. Genuinely surprised, Entropy called up to her, “How did you avoid whatever killed those humans back there?” Stacey raised an eyebrow at this, “I killed those humans,” she replied haughtily. Entropy laughed, “Haha, no, but really?” he grinned. Baring her teeth in anger, Stacey ripped the top piton from the cliff and threw it straight into Entropy’s face. Acting on instinct, Entropy retaliated by setting Stacey on fire, but only for a moment until the grin came back. “I like you” he said staring up her, she just shrugged like she already knew and strode away from the edge of the cliff, disappearing from view.
Frank and Iranae came into the room just as Entropy was getting to the top of the cliff. “Anyone found Stacey’s body yet?” called Iranae as she began to climb the pitons. She got her answer when she reached the top and had to immediately dodge the shuriken flying at her neck, it was probably a good thing that her retaliatory arrow completely missed its mark. Frank looked kind of worried, but the two women decided it was best not to fight in front of the children. With the situation calmed and the group reunited, they all turned their attention to the heavy looking door sitting at the back of the room.
On the other side of the door, the group stood for a moment, letting their eyes adjust to even further darkness. Then, from the shadows a giant, hulking figure emerged. Before them, stood a monster, a hideous creature with the body of a large scorpion and the torso and head of a human. Raising herself up to an intimidating height the… creature spoke, “Who are you?! What are you doing here?!” she demanded. “Uhh, the whole cavern’s collapsing” said Frank, the creature blinked, “WHAT!?” she snapped. Stacey answered with a hint of impatience, “Exactly what he said, we came here looking for the exit”. The scorpiontaur looked much less intimidating when she was this confused, “There is no exit, we are trapped”
“So why the hell do you live here!?” cried Stacey,
“I’m trapped here! The guardian would not have let me escape!”
“You mean that guy that just let us walk past him?” Iranae chimed in.
The creature was starting to get angry again, “The guardian would not have let me pass!” she insisted, raising her stinger high in preparation for an attack. Before anyone could react further, with a crash that reverberated all around them, the wall next to the scorpion collapsed to pieces, leaving a large opening in its wake. “At last!” the creature cried excitedly, forgetting all about the others in the room, “I am free! I can finally bring Halaster back!”. Without another word, she scampered through the opening at tremendous speed. By the time the group ran through the hole after her, she was already disappearing into the distance. As one final act, Stacey triumphantly pulled a dart from her bag, and jabbed it into Iranae’s neck, confirming that it was indeed, a slow-down dart. Maybe she can use it next time or whatever…

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A Stacey (and Friends) Cometh
Written by Young Lauren

Today we follow the story of three new heroes, not so bright of mind, but bright of intention. A Stacey of the great Stacey dynasty of human rogues is accompanied by Frank, the enormous goliath barbarian and Boggywog the ‘Great’, a goliath paladin. The day begins with our great heroes receiving boundless riches of cheese from their innkeeper friend Durnan, who promptly set them another challenge of legendary proportions: escorting a creepy, neurotic cloaked and voice obscured individual through the Undermountain.

At the break of the next day they set out, dropping down into the Undermountain and being faced with a room obscured by blue smoke. Stacey falls down a hidden pit, but gracefully leaps back out before the two goliaths could offer any assistance. The group finds their target by Boggywog tactlessly walking into him in the smoky room, however the dark figure seems unperturbed and asks if the group is ready to go. They take up protective positions around the figure and progress further into the dark depths of the Undermountain as he begins to chant.

Not too far into the journey, some strange small humanoid creatures charge once they see the cloaked figure. One runs into one of the shuriken that Stacey wears on her wrists, and Frank tackles two. A battle ensues, with the lethal Stacey taking down most of the assailants, but not before stealing their valued jars of dirt from their pockets, even kindly returning one jar to the face of it’s owner. Once their numbers have dwindled, the creatures disengaged and ran off, allowing the group to proceed.

The next encounter is a room containing several large boulders, that unrolled and revealed themselves to be golems at the groups approach. Frank runs forward, eager to smash the rocks, however he’s grabbed by one of the enemies and encircled by its rocky body. Meanwhile, Stacey and Boggywog make short work of another golem, and the golem in possession of Frank. The barbarian, at this point, had rage in his little pea brain and decided to attack the golems that had rolled back up into rocks, seeming to lose interest in the group, however the one he smacked immediately unrolled and attacked. Stacey, unimpressed, quickly finished off the creature before Frank could be goliath-napped again.

After a few more minutes of travel, the group encounters a room filled with seemingly harmless moss. Not one to take a chance (or ignore an opportunity for mindless destruction) decides to set the moss on fire. The moss was then on fire. The group left.

Next, our heroes faced the terrifying prospect of some giant beetle-looking things. Boggywog and Frank, both wearing and wielding metal objects, found that their possessions quickly rusted and fell apart when bitten by the creatures. However ever-ready Stacey, with her leather armour and wooden club, had nothing to fear, and quickly jumped in to the battle to take out some of the pests. The beetles, fed full of metal, retreated after consuming Frank and Boggywog’s beloved weapons and armour.
Not to fear though! In just the next room our heroes (conveniently) find some weak-looking goblins wielding exactly what the group had lost. After quickly dispatching and looting the goblins, the group continued.

The last opponents the group face were a pair of large fuzzy bears. For once, instead of jumping into immediate battle, Boggywog pulls out some meat and lures the bears out of the way, avoiding bloodshed.

Finally our heroes arrive at what seems to be their destination. The dark figure moves up to a newly discovered shrine to someone named ‘Halaster’ and announces: “ALL OF TORIEL WILL BOW BEFORE –”. However, he doesn’t manage to finish the sentence, as a large piece of the roof dislodges and crushes him dead. After shaking off the shock (and amusement), Stacey walks over to take the book that who they now assumed to be Halaster had been chanting over. She dips her finger in Halaster’s blood and writes ‘Hello?’ on a page, but to no response. In frustration, she soaks almost all the pages in Halaster’s blood. With nothing left to do, the group returns to the Yawning Portal Inn and is pulled back up to safety.

So ends the story of the death of Halaster, and the birth of the Stacey dynasty.

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051 - Name - Dates 1477DR

Waiting for Brett to write it

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050 - Bedtime Intruders - Dates 1477DR
Written by Jack

We slammed open the door and hurried in to the inn to take refugee from the persistent rain, which would have soaked us if we weren’t already as wet as could be from swimming through the canals to get here. Water came off in rivulets to pool on the floor, some kind of marble maybe, to disappear down barely noticeable drains inset in the floor. A young genasi at the front counter hurried out the back and within seconds she returned with a weathered, imposingly large male genasi in tow.

“Welcome, travellers. We would be happy to accommodate you for the night in our humble inn. In fact, our penthouse suite is available and we would be happy to host you for the night, free of charge. We’ve heard of the good you have been doing for us.” The older male genasi’s voice was warm, welcoming, almost regretful.

We accepted his offer wholeheartedly, though we should have known something was up. Anyway, we dried ourselves off in the foyer and headed up. The room was on the top floor, the only room on the whole floor. It was very nicely furnished and we got comfortable, most of us changed in to drier clothes but Perrin thought he’d like to watch the sunset over a bottle of mead and Artorius refused to change out of his armour. Zavra made some cookies and I made some sad imitations while I learnt from her. Kaedri read in the corner. We hung out, bantered. When everyone began retiring to their rooms I sought out Perrin to let him know everyone was retiring. I found him up on the roof.

The rain had subsided to a light drizzle and he sat there with his legs dangling over the edge, swigging from a bottle. Three empty bottles lay at his feet. “Oh boy,” I muttered under my breath. He was pretty incoherent and uncooperative. I told him that it was time to drink in his room now. He was still being drunk and a pain so I picked him up and swung down and carried him down the side of the building. I’m lucky he didn’t throw up all over both of us. I got my window open easily enough, took him to an empty bed and deposited him before returning to my own room and changing in to some light sleeping clothes, a welcome change from needing to sleep in leathers just in case we’re attacked on the road. A dagger under the pillow and the crown of thorns set upon the bedside table, I settled in to sleep. Not ten minutes later I heard a thud, some shuffling, and then Perrin’s muffled voice whisper-shouting “sneaky sneaky sneaking…” I thought about going to mother him, but then decided I couldn’t be bothered. I drifted off to sleep…

My door slamming open jarred me awake and in an instant my dagger was in hand and I was setting my crown atop my face. My assailants were genasi, crowding in to my room. Past them I saw Zavra already blasting away, before darkness erupted from under her robe and filled the room. I swung in front of me to hold them off but they didn’t seem bothered by the danger and pressed forward. I kicked out and they tumbled backwards but more assailants stepped over their fallen comrades. A loud “wake up!” echoed throughout the halls in Kaedri’s voice. Backing up, I jumped on to the bed and fumbled with the window behind me. Once it was open I turned and swan dived out to the cold waters below, easily clearing the lower level roof.

Looking upwards a couple of genasi stuck their heads out of the window but none followed me. I circled the building and on the far side I saw Kaedri crouched in her magical flying hand, floating out of reach of some genasi reaching for her from her window. One reached too far and fell out. As the genasi tumbled down to hit the lower roof I noticed Perrin holding on for dear life to the shingles. I realised the genasi was falling towards me and I ducked underwater and swam quickly to the door. Bursting in to the foyer I found it empty so I charged up to our room.

Rushing in to our room I saw a mess of a fight underway. Thorny tendrils snaked through our walkway, ensnaring multiple genasi. On the far side Artorius fought what looked like ten genasi as he kicked and fought and… healed? Zavra stood on my side of the thorns, backed in to a corner about to be overwhelmed. I ran up and began subduing genasi with quick hits to the backs of their skulls, but I couldn’t make it to Zavra, I readied myself for one final desperate slashing swathe to reach Zavra, I screamed a warcry and began to charge but then Fred leapt in and saved Zavra, pushing her assailants back. Relieved, I cut my screaming short. The sound kept ringing in my head, though. I realised everyone was looking at me, they temporarily stopped fighting. I don’t know why.

The next few minutes were hazy, I remember just suddenly feeling very… Hungry. Like I needed to consume. I remember Artorius’ face in front of mine, and wanting to join him. No…. Have him join me. It must have been a curse from the genasi.

I came to when a bucket of water was thrown in my face. A great many genasi were leaving the room, carrying their friends. They were all doused with water. The innkeeper stood apologising to the party. Disoriented, I struggled to follow along. The genasi were cursed, something about Halaster, and cheese? They weren’t able to warn us because they were compelled to do a series of actions. I didn’t really understand. I was tired, though, so very tired.

Luckily we all seemed content to sleep the rest of the night away and I fell deeply asleep before I could hit the bed.

I dreamed I was a cloud, soaring through the blue blue skies.

We awoke to a lavish breakfast and an apology note. It was nice, I guess. Still, we moved on pretty quickly and set sail for Waterdeep.

Some drunkards hit our boat but they paid for the repairs. In Waterdeep we investigated this magical bangle and the priest told us that it’s powers ebb and flow, and that it was not cursed or dangerous for the wearer. Perrin got a cryptic and mildly concerning fortune told. The lords of Waterdeep would like us to help them reconnect the portals between major cities. We still haven’t agreed to a solution there yet.

At the Yawning Portal Inn we had two messages seeking to employ our services. I tried to talk to Durnan about the curse connected to Halaster but he grew pale at the mention of that name and he fled.

The first of these jobs included the very serious crime of stealing apples and we spent a few hours following this worthy pursuit and at the end we hired the child orphan thief as part of our future house staff. Lowering crime, improving employment rates one orphan at a time, we are paragons.

The second job was a bit more involved. It involved the recovery of an abomination, a living weapon. We debated the ethics of it but agreed nonetheless. We were given an amulet that supposedly controlled the being by Eldin Edenmire, our employer. Regardless of our ethics, eighty thousand gold is still eighty thousand gold so we set out for Trollbark Forest.

Perrin found us a suspicious tree in the area we were to look for the abomination and revealed a hole leading underground. Poor Fred had to wait outside. At the end of a tunnel was a large room with a chequered pattern and monoliths stood at the far side of the room. A large voice boomed out something in a language we didn’t understand. We experimented a bit and found that moving incorrectly hurt us a LOT. Kaedri used her magic to learn the language of the voice and we realised that it was a large game of chess and the monoliths would transform in to the relevant pieces to attack or be attacked. After a battle of wits and shenanigans (such as me traversing the battlefield’s walls) Zavra murdered the enemy queen and a door appeared, which she charged through. We all hurried after her in to the belly of the beast. I feel… Hungry.

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049 - Name - Dates 1477DR
Written by Finn

Jacaman. Maybe it was nice once, before some Thay tossers stuck a mile-wide corpse pit there. One by one we descend on our giant eagles – courtesy of the wondrous Kaedri – and Zavra’s top priority is to start poking the dead bodies to see if they’re dead, and Poppy finds something shiny on one of ‘em. Me, I could see these things were dead long before I landed. Hardly matters when necromancy is involved, though – some of the dead Tieflings get up and cling to them before bursting into flames. Or, well, frost, in Poppy’s case. Bursting into frost? I dunno. Anyways, Zavra teleports right out of the pit looking almost unscathed – sorcerers are unnerving like that – and the Tiefling corpses put the chop on Poppy. She loses her mind. I mean, she actually starts going nuts. They gave her Lunatic’s Fever. Then they disappeared. Artorius tries to help out, but it turns out recovering from Lunatic’s Fever is something you gotta try and do yourself. Yeesh. She starts clambering on him, clearly not faring too well. Kaedri calls out the positions of the invisible Tieflings and hits them with some colourful beams, and that’s all I needed to sink an arrow in one of them after I landed at the pit’s edge. Zavra’s chaos magic has her switch places with one of the Tieflings and it ends up in control of her eagle, soaring through the air. Great work. Just as Poppy was starting to get a hold of herself, Sky catches Lunatic’s Fever. Yikes. A cloud of darkness, a few blasts of magic, a couple arrows and a bit of chopping later, the Tieflings are dead again.
Poppy and Sky were still a mess when we heard the footsteps – one massive Eladrin lich appeared at the edge of the pit while Artorius tried to comfort Sky with limited success. It had scarcely begun blasting Sky when Artorius froze it in place and gave our two feverish lunatics a chance to recover. I sized this thing up and figured it’d be easy enough to disconnect the limbs and watch it fall to pieces, so I made sure everyone else knew. Artorius blessed most of us with divine power and boy, I gotta say, that blessing gives each arrow a lot of extra kick. With a bit of help (and luck, maybe), Poppy and Sky got their minds in order and we finally got around to bringing down this towering lich. Poppy even managed to have it blast itself with its own accursed magic. Things were going more or less fine until it started draining Artorius’ soul from his body in a long trail. I couldn’t break the flow of… Soul… Or whatever. Sky, though, having scaled this abomination, managed to cut its arm off, and the rod it was holding fell to the ground. That stopped it from carrying on with the soul-sucking. Poppy shredded its tendon after the rest of us landed a good number of blows and that sent it toppling to its death – with Sky and Poppy still clinging to it. Ouch.
Apparently, for Poppy, killing a Lich, like many things, calls for celebrating by throwing a disembodied tongue at the nearest Halfling. Which is me. It’s always me. We headed for the food stores and found some terrified, probably-enslaved humans. Before long, they started freaking out and collapsing – Lunatic’s Fever. All dead. Oh well, back to the ship, and off to Branestria. It’s never safe sailing on the Sword Coast, though – tentacles came up through the hull. We sprang into action and dispatched the tentacles in no time, then Kaedri – absolute life-saver – started a ritual to mend the holes in our ship while Zavra made a shoddy attempt at temporarily plugging them up. No trouble the rest of the way, and fine weather to boot. After the corpse pit, any town would have felt like paradise, but Branestria? I felt my worries unravel like they never had, even though we’d come to check up on the place after hearing it might be in trouble. All was well though, as far as anyone could tell. Everyone went about their business in town while I relaxed at the inn, puffing out smoke rings and blowing off steam. That unnaturally powerful bangle just keeps getting stronger, though, like it wants to cater to all of us in some way. Eerie.

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048 - Name - Dates 1477DR
Written by Young Lauren

We return to our story with our heroes toddling around Waterdeep. Artorius decides to go down to the ocean to fish, Poppy and Sky go to the Yawning Portal Inn to talk to Durning, Zavra takes off to the market to pawn more viscera to the alchemist, and Perring and Kaedri are both hanging out on BoatBoat. While fishing, Artorius is approached by a strange, brightly dressed woman that gets weirdly face-touchy and then offers to tell him his future. Artorius is all for it and followers her to her creepy old shop. Sitting in front of her crystal ball and waving her arms all mystically she says some strange disjointed things to Artorius. She warns of drowning and his wrist, travellers and Sky being not herself. It makes just about no sense, but she gets worked up about what she sees and insists that he leave.

Back at the Yawning Portal Inn, Drook rushes in with a message for Them and runs into a drunk Sky. He tells her that he has something important to tell the group, and so Them assembles on BoatBoat to hear it. Drook presents the group with a centuries old ring and tell Them that it is part of a set of four. He throws it into the air and it falls to the ground. Drook explains that the three gems on the ring point to the position of the other rings, and that the wild movement of the gems probably indicates the rings are either destroyed, or on a different material plane. Drook tells Them that when assembled, the set can be used to recharge portals and make them strong again. Them is happy to take the ring and the quest of reuniting the set.

Just before setting off to the Feywild, Sky informs the rest of the group that she came into contact with the screaming blue legged cloud. Nobody is impressed. Artorius determines with his goggles that Sky has contracted a mysterious disease known only as ‘Blue’. Artorius also discovers that (luckily) the disease is not contagious until symptoms present, but also that it is not curable until this time. During the journey Zavra checks in with her daughter on the status of House DeVir, and Artorius pulls some Surge-ical tools out of the Handy Haversack.

Two days into the journey, BoatBoat is stopped dead for no reason the crew can seem to understand. Poppy dives into the ocean to locate the obstruction, but finds only a silver bracelet floating on the waves. She retrieves it, and when she put it on BoatBoat begins to move again, and she finds herself to be newly invigorated, and vastly more dexterous. Them are suspicious, and Zavra makes sure to mark the location on the map.

Upon arriving at Oman, Them notices that the island has changed dramatically. It is now overrun with vegetation, however none of it seems to be the siege plants that they had to deal with last time. Reardless, the group sets off through the forest and manages – with the help of Kaedri’s compass – to find the portal that is now much smaller, and seems to be shrinking fast. By Kaedri’s calculations, the portal will be too small to fit through in about 8 days. With no time to lose, Them head through the portal and into the Feywild and set off to Leuthilspar. Kaedri immediately throws the portal ring, and finds that the sapphire, emerald and ruby rings are in the hills, city and at the gates respectively. The group tracks the green ring to a museum, where they find it under a glass case and also have the luck to find a phylactery just nearby. Anticipating a heist, Zavra goes to the public library to find information on the museum security system and any local thugs that might be willing to perform the act for Them. She found out the museum had minimal security, but unfortunately found no thugs. Deciding on a new course of action, she hurries back to the museum and marches into the building, finding the ugliest painting in there are arguing loudly with people that it rightfully belongs to the Drow. During the ruckus, the rest of Them gets ahold of the ring and the phylactery and make their way out as newly minted burglars.

Having acquired the green ring, the group then goes after the red one. They track it to a tree just outside the gates, and determine to their inconvenience that it is buried under a tree. Not wanting to raise suspicious from the gate guards, they set up a camp to block the view while they excavate the area and speedily reach the red ring. Them prepares to pack up and go find the last of the rings, but on the way out Poppy notices that the ring now bolsters her psychic damage abilities. Having none, Poppy realizes that the new power would be much more helpful to Zavra’s chaos sorcerer abilities, but keeps the new power to herslf.

During the journey to the hills, Perrin notices something that makes him stop dead in his tracks. Each of the party members, even Fred, now has two shadows. However the group had faced these foes before and were not to be caught by surprise again. They easily dispatch the shadows and while Kaedri and Artorius take some minor strangling damage, nobody finds themselves acting against their will.

Further along in the journey, Perring spots a shiny object halfway up one of the eagle mountains. The party members that can fly go up to see what’s happening, and find a lever, which Zavra immediately pulls. A display is revealed and a strange riddle reading: “time is money, or so they say, so don’t waste much, as you now must pay, three transactions, that’s all you get, lest this device should be reset. Coins in the slot, the lever you’ll pull, until you decipher the total rule”. It takes the group a few minutes but they realize that all that is required is to place 12 gold coins in the device and pull the lever to reveal a previously hidden door leading into the mountain. Them continues into the hallway, and finds themselves in a gnome village. Much to the groups surprise, some of the gnomes seem to recognise Sky’s glowy predicament. The gnomes explain that it is a gnomish curse, and act suspiciously of Sky that she has contracted this curse. She explains the situation and luckily they seem to believe her story, elading the group to the town elder to shed some light on the situation. He tells the group he con release Sky of this curse, but he will need ingredients for a potion. These ingredients include stones, sapphire, a depleted sunrod and some owl bear blood. To the groups surprise, he offers his ring of sapphire to Them as an ingredient and the group immediately recognizes it as one of the set of four. They immediately take him up on his offer. Before leaving the town, the group buys a sapphire to use instead of the ring and Zavra lights a sunrod to begin the process of depletion. Then the group sets off to find some owlbears, which have reportedly been acting very strangely of late. Them finds some owlbears fairly quickly, and determine even faster that something is wrong. Artorius discovers that the creatures have a disease known as awoken agony, causing them to act like lunatics during their sleep period. The group quickly dispatches one of them, not without Poppy taking a hit though, and Artorius manages to restrain and cure the other before Zavra takes the opportunity to collar it and bring it under her control. The basilisk is put down. Zavra collects up some owlbear blood and the group heads back to the gnome town, where the elder is waiting for them and quickly brews up the potion for them. The ingredients all melt in the process, however when he hands the potion to Sky, he warns her that it is cold. Skeptical, she takes the bottle and downs the entire contents, suffering serious brainfreeze from the inexplicable cold. Once consumed, she begins to feel a burning sensation move up her body, and when it reaches her mouth it leaves her body, taking the light with it. The elder then warns Sky that the potion has the side effect of weakness that should last about a ten-day, which would’ve been nice to know beforehand.

Them hastens back to the portal, to find that it is almost disappeared, however Kaedri uses the rings and it returns to its orginial size. Having completed their task, Them decides to revisit some old locations that they had not had the chance to deal with eventually and goes to Jakaman to find out what happened to the Thay invaders. On the journey there, Poppy is overtaken by awoken agony, but luckily she misses her attacks on Kaedri and is easily restrained and cured. Back at Jakaman, Them ride Kaedri’s magical eagles back to the pit where they first saw the invasion forces, but find it to be full of dead Thay. Kaedri investigates the scene and finds it to be Lich magic.

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047 - Da Ba De Da Ba DIIIIIIIIIEEEEEE!!! - Dates 1477DR
Written by Bec

Them stood in a huddle around the haversack they had taken from the Baenre treasury, the group exchanged furtive glances, minds racing with endless possibilities. Zavra was the first to step forward, she paused for a moment before plunging her hand into the bag. Her eyes glinted as she drew her arm back and revealed a wicked looking, spiky, red collar, accompanied by a gold ring beset with a blood red ruby. A cruel grin spread across Zavra’s face as she donned the ring and turned her gaze to the runaway elf husband who wanted to date her daughter. He seemed too terrified to do anything but stand there as she fitted him with the collar, however after a few moments of intense staring during which the elf just stood there, she gave a disappointed sigh, retrieved the collar, and turned her eyes towards Perrin, who promptly ran away.
Ever curious and happy to help, Sky stepped forward and put the collar on herself, at which point she felt the inexplicable urge to jump up and down. Not feeling the need to resist, she obliged, much to Zavra’s satisfaction. Zavra then busied herself fitting her shiny new basilisk with her shiny new collar. While this was happening, Kaedri grabbed the haversack for herself. When she reached in, she pulled out a small amulet, engraved with swirling symbols reminiscent of ocean waves. After putting it on, Kaedri found, as she had intended that she no longer needed to breathe in air in order to survive, although not doing so was an uncomfortable feeling regardless.
Zavra, at this point was gleefully riding her basilisk mount, whom she had dubbed Fred, and who was, thanks to the collar, following her every command. Poppy decided it would be fun to jump on the back of Fred, everyone else walked as them made their way back to Mithral Hall.

Upon entering the dwarf city proper, Sky made straight for the dilapidated building where she had left the 10 slaves Them had found and left on their first trip here. With all the opulence of a true mistress, Sky swooshed dramatically into the building, unfortunately her entrance was somewhat overshadowed by a very large basilisk entering at the same time, by way of smashing through a side wall, still being ridden by Zavra and Poppy. The slaves cowered in their places and looked to Sky for direction, “Well,” said Sky, “What do you want?” the slaves just looked confused, Sky sighed, “Are you willing to live independently?” she tried again. This time the slaves just looked utterly befuddled. Sky sighed again, “I hereby pass my ownership of you onto this drow,” she stated, indicating toward Zavra, before turning and leaving the building. The slaves turned their gazes now toward Zavra, who seemed pretty satisfied with this turn of events. “Very well, you may follow me,” she declared, before directing Fred to leave the building through the other, previously intact, side wall.
Them made their way toward the Mithral Hall inn, after some warning statements from some other members of them, Zavra did not direct Fred to break any walls, instead she and Poppy dismounted and she ordered Fred to squeeze through the door. The group was immediately approached by an employee of the inn. The “innployee” (huehuehue) pointed toward Fred disapprovingly, “No pets allowed inside,” he said, “You’ll have to take it to the stables”. Zavra narrowed her eyes at this, pushing her shoulders back she stated bluntly, “No, Fred will remain inside by the fire because he gets cold at night”. At this point the rest of Them dispersed to different points of the inn to sit back and watch the show. The dwarf did not back down, “No pets allowed!” he snapped, “It has to go outside!”. Zavra straightened up even further, “If Fred must go outside then you will have to bring the fire outside too. The dwarf gaped a bit at this, “Impossible!! I tell you it needs to go outside!”. “Fine!” snapped Zavra before directing Fred to go outside the inn and curl up directly in front of its door. “The stables! Outside in the stables!!!” yelled the dwarf, behind him another dwarf whispered to another, only Perrin heard the whisper was an instruction to summon the authorities, he smirked a bit. Luckily Zavra didn’t feel up to burning down an entire city right at that moment, so she turned on her heel and stalked out of the inn, Fred in tow, rather than paying for a stable stall, or restraining her basilisk she, and the slaves spent the night in a different dilapidated building from the first, one without basilisk sized holes.
The rest of Them spent the night in the inn, Poppy, Perrin and Sky getting particularly drunk. However, before they went to sleep, Sky asked for the handy haversack of Baenre, Kaedri obliged, handing it to her. This time, Sky carefully lifted out an intricate crown of sorts, seeing the other’s inquisitive glances, she explained, “It’s the Crown of the Righteous, if I wear it, it will compel me to seek out and destroy evil”. Sky’s unusually sombre demeanour and serious look indicated that there was a very personal reason behind this choice of object, that went beyond a propensity to do good, however no one wanted to interrogate her.

The next day was spent briefly visiting the market place in preparation for leaving, however, during the shopping montage, Perrin noticed a shadowy figure lurking behind a building, seemingly staring at Them. Without drawing too much attention, he pointed the figure out to the rest of the party. Zavra dismounted Fred and tried to loop around the figure, and Poppy climbed a building to try and get a higher vantage point, but the figure was gone before they could investigate further. Zavra returned to the group but Poppy stayed on the roof for a while, observing the crowd. Just as Them were making for the exit, poppy spotted a mysterious, shadowy figure weaving through the market crowds. Quick as a flash, she was on her feet, running the length of the roof she was on, she leapt of the edge and, using another rooftop as a springboard, landed heavily on the cloaked figure. Triumphantly, she turned the figure around, to reveal the face of a very elderly, very surprised, very injured dwarf woman staring up at her. With a disappointed sigh, Poppy healed the woman just enough for the old crone to begin yelling her newly un-collapsed lungs out, before joining the rest of Them at the exit, and leaving Mithral Hall.

The next few hours were largely uneventful, with the group only stopping to examine, and laugh at, the body of the guy that took all of their stuff in the past. They were pretty sure he had died of the Jacaman fruit they’d given him as toll. Lol

Approaching the exit of the underdark, Them paused as they heard the sound of something moving up ahead of them. Stationing the slaves, elves, and oh yeah Zen, at the back of the party, everyone prepared themselves for a potential fight. Then, ahead of them, from around a corner, walked a pair of very shapely legs, supporting a strange, blue, gelatinous, yet misty cloud… thing. Everyone, including the cloud, stopped in their tracks, before the cloud tucked its legs up underneath itself and began to float, as well as beginning a long, loud, drawling moan that rang in the back of everyone’s heads.
“What the fuck it THAT!?” Poppy, exclaimed, before donning her goggles to try to answer her own question, “Err, its infected with something called ‘Blue’”, she yelled above the noise, “I’ve never heard of it but it looks contagious, don’t touch that thing!”. Sky stepped forward, and dramatically donned her Crown of the Righteous, “Whatever that thing is, its evil” she asserted confidently. Poppy joined Sky at the front and tried to compel the creature to attack itself, it only quivered slightly and began to moan louder. Everyone winced a little at the intrusive sound, which was getting more deafening by the minute. Perrin and Kaedri tried to examine the blob further, but could ascertain nothing from that distance. Poppy, getting rather annoyed now, shot her crossbow straight at the cloud, the bolt shot straight though, leaving only a tiny hole that quickly sealed over. Gritting her teeth in annoyance, she covered her ears with her hands and attempted to yell “UUUUUUUUHHHHHH” back at the blob, she got no response.
Sky tried to yell over the noise again, pointing her dagger at the cloud she proclaimed “I can see your true nature!” at this point her crown briefly retracted, then reinstated its statement of the blobs evilness. “Umm” said Sky, unsure, “I know… that you’re evil… I think… I’m really confused right now… this is my first time doing this… can I change your mind… about… being evil?”. She got no response except for the blob moving closer and getting even louder, at this point everyone instinctively blocked their ears from the pain. “We need to hit it harder!!” yelled Kaedri, while stuffing bandages into her ears, but at this point, no one could hear her. Zavra freed up one hand by getting Fred to stuff his tail in her other ear and attempted to fire off an attack, it did little. Perrin, needing his hands to fire his bow, wet some dirt and stuffed the mud into his ears, securing it with bandages. The Eiffel 65 blob got even closer and louder, Poppy followed Zavra’s example and stuffed her own tail into her ear to free up a hand, she tried to fire off a shot through the ringing pain but completely missed, she growled in frustration. Sky ran straight up to the cloud and slashed with her dagger across its surface, the gash healed over immediately. “Aha!” yelled Sky, jumping back, “You like the taste of my blade now!?…Uh I mean… I challenge you!!” she couldn’t even hear herself over the noise. No matter what kind of physical or magical attack Them threw at this creature, nothing seemed to affect it, all the while it grew steadily closer and louder. At this point, Zen who had been getting more and more agitated, flew into a rage. He released his ears, and reeled for a second as the noise deafened him, before running forward and slashing maniacally at the air. Deep gashes appeared on the blob cloud for a moment, but they closed over like the rest of its wounds. Zen yelled and collapsed to his knees, Perrin sighed and took a swig of ale.
Poppy had also been getting steadily more pissed off, but now, the cloud took another step forward and everyone in the party, except Kaedri and Perrin, were immediately deafened. Poppy, shaking with anger, screamed in frustration, and stamped her feet in a manner akin to a toddler throwing a tantrum, unleashing her infernal wrath on the creature in the form of a ball of hellfire that ripped through the jelly and, this time, did not heal over. Sky and Kaedri both saw a chance, Sky ran forward again, aiming to drive the creature back with her dagger. Just as before her dagger passed through the blob without affecting it much, however this time, due to the disorientation of being suddenly deafened, as Sky leapt back, her knuckles briefly brushed the surface of the blob. Kaedri, who didn’t have blown out ear drums, unleashed a more precise attack, aimed at the underside of the creature. This attack hit its mark and, much to the relief of everyone present, the Blue infected cloud dissipated, leaving nothing but ringing silence in its wake.

It took a while to calm Zen down and for everyone except Kaedri and Perrin to come to terms with the fact that they were, presently, incurably deaf. Moving more cautiously now, the party stepped out of the underdark, blinking in the unfamiliar sunlight.

It took 2 days of travelling in sullen silence to reach the nearest town, a picturesque village of the name ‘Silvery Moon’. The deaf people waited on the outskirts of town while Kaedri and Perrin went in to inquire about wagons to carry the not slaves, and basilisk, as well as some kind of ear doctor.
Coming upon a vendor selling wagons, they asked for a price. “It’s 15 moon per wagon” said the merchant. Kaedri raised an eyebrow at this, “We have gold” she said. The merchant ‘tired’ but didn’t really try to muffle his haughty laughter, “You can exchange your… gold… at the economy building” he said snootily. The pair did just this before going to a magic community centre/library to ask about an ear healer. They were told they could go to see Abracadaniel in room 3, upstairs from the library. With this in mind Kaedri and Perrin, bought two wagons plus horses, and returned to the rest of Them with news of Abracadaniel.
Zavra, Poppy, Sky, and Zen all went to room 3 of the magic centre, inside they found a reedy old wizard standing behind a desk. Zavra stepped forward and yelled far too loudly, “WE NEED OUR EARS FIXED”. Abracadaniel started in surprise and began to speak, before realising that he could not be heard. Instead, he spoke to the group mentally “I see you’ve lost your hearing” he said, “Yeah” said Zavra sarcastically, “there was a whole thing with a blue cloud that had legs now FIX ME”. Abracadaniel started again but agreed to heal everyone for a fee of 50 moon each.
With great relief, Them were back on their journey towards Waterdeep, after a few days travel, they arrived on the 3rd of Uktar.

Finally back home, Them went to visit the construction site that was soon to be their house on the Open Lord’s property. While there, Poppy enquired about possible slave rehabilitation centres. To her dismay she found out that the “rehabilitation” of slaves in Waterdeep was little more than imprisonment in the jail system. Zavra tried to help by first offering to hire a teacher, and then a nurse to care for the slaves, but they only seemed suspicious of the drow riding a basilisk through town. Luckily, when the group went to the Open Lord, he agreed to handle the slaves’ rehabilitation himself and assured Them that it would not involve the jail system.
After their meeting, Sky slipped away to have a private chat with the Open Lord’s physician, who had never heard of Blue and assumed Sky was deeply confused, before ushering her out.
Meanwhile Poppy, remembering what McNugget had told her about his artist friend went in search of any paintings that resembled those she had seen in the underdark. She found one, hanging in the room of the portal expert. It depicted a magician standing in front of what was clearly supposed to be a portal, but looked more like an artist’s impression of what a portal might look like, had that artist never seen a portal, in one corner there was a distinctive symbol marked on the canvas.
Poppy waited until the magic expert came back and questioned him about the portrait. He believed that the artist had known what a portal looked like, and was in fact, very old, but had painted the picture from the perspective of a young man who had never seen a portal, as a way of expressing his longing for the days before the spellplague, when portals were common and the weave was strong.
Later that night Sky and Poppy asked Durnin at the Yawning Portal about the symbol in the painting. He seemed to recognise it but, as usual, refused to answer any questions. However, when McNugget was mentioned, Durnin brightened up considerably, “You’ve met McNugget” he exclaimed excitedly, “That’s wonderful! McNugget is a great man, a great friend”. Poppy raised her eyebrow at this, “I must say you’re looking well for your age”, she said with a smirk. Durnin smirked back, “how old do you think I am?” he said,
“Old enough to know McNugget”
“I suppose so, but the again so are you”
Poppy chuckled a little at this, before trying a more sensitive line of questioning, “McNugget said he and the man who used this symbol used to be friends” she probed. Durnin frowned, “Perhaps… once” he said quietly. Sensing Durnin was about to close up, Poppy raised her cup in honour of McNugget, Durnin smiled again, and raised a cup of his own.

Them happily drank the rest of the night away.

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