Noivos' Most Wanted

The D is Silent
But Not the One You Think

The sheer mass of treasure in Abr'na's hoard took the party aback. Narunn had expected them to deliver about 100,000 GP, but at face value (excluding additional bonuses for fine artistry or historical value), Abr'na had amassed nearly five times that value.

Since Granny Jo had teleported them to Abr'na's house, they were unsure exactly where they were in relation to her spa, let alone their boat or to Noivos. Terrified at the prospect of having to split the treasure with her – and the awkwardness inherent in telling her that they had murdered her neighbor – they decided to use the Bag of Holding to make several trips to the Voluptuous Kraken. They would stow enough treasure to appease Narunn, and then return at a later time. Since they were unable to cure Dennis of his newly aquatic lifestyle, they agreed to leave him behind to guard the hoard.

However, first they needed to clear the rest of Abr'na's lair. Their first challenge was a small ginger halfling in the middle of absolutely destroying some kuo-toa with a quarterstaff. He concluded his business with an extravagant flipkick, and then introduced himself as Edd, an urchin-turned-brawler with ties to the gang's old friend, Loto. Loto was attempting to curry favor with Narunn, and convinced Narunn to send Edd to ensure the job was done. Edd had a copy of Fortune's map, and had started going to every important location. By a stroke of good luck, the first place he had come had been Abr'na's. 

After the pleasantries were exchanged, it was back to business. The north end of the structure was not heavily trapped, and seemed to have functioned as living quarters for the kuo-toa. They found some copper pieces (taken by Derryk) and old food and a statue of Blibdoolpoolp with diamond nipples (taken by Dogaeen). Of greatest interest was an unconscious, emaciated Dragonborn who they found locked in a cage. He wore serpent robes in a style resembling those in the ziggurat, and his scales were so filthy that he appeared brownish-green. They revived him, and he dramatically informed them that the treasure was cursed, before falling into unconsciousness again. Upon awakening for the second time, he attempted to dissemble, but Fortune recognized him as a fellow follower of Aureon. At that point, the bronze Dragonborn revealed that his name was Shamash, and that Fortune's organization had sent him north to investigate Narunn's illegal dig site. Some of the diggers were spending fun nights in a nearby town, and spending the money they had unearthed. Any who touched the coins began developing scales and forked tongues, among other things, and law and order was in jeopardy soon before Shamash had escaped. 

Upon receiving this news, the party wanted to investigate these claims further, but decided to touch base with Narunn first. Dogaeen used Sending, and in two terse messages, the two parties agreed that the gang would head upriver before attempting to return Narunn's lost treasure.

Stats

  • XP: 250
  • Fatalities: 0
  • Level: 9
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The Road So Far
A Summary of Summer 2016-Spring 2017

Summer 2016

When our merry first band laid eyes on each other, they had been invited to a hut in the middle of the Warren, looking for treasure. After surviving a series of obstacles – including Slow Snails and a mimic disguised as a statue head – the original crew of Woodsy, Keith, Dogaeen, and Loto were admitted into the Adventurer's Guild. 

Although its head, Dorwin Eithiriond, was initially suspicious that four outsiders could beat his traps, he soon tasked them with a mission: retrieving a locked chest from a shipwreck outside of Noivos. The ship was guarded by dozens of undead crew under the control of a beholder, who they named Bubbles. Dogaeen convinced him to call off the dead and return to Noivos alongside the chest. Unfortunately, Dorwin didn't like that too much and Bubbles was blasted to bits. The party was just able to glimpse that the chest held a conch covered in strange symbols. RIP Bubbles.

The next session, Dorwin served as their way into a very fancy party thrown by local dignitary, Nivaxalint Narunn, President of the Shipbuilder's Guild. Narunn came from somewhat humbler origins than most of his guests – or at least was more honest about how he got to be so wealthy. He hired the crew to assassinate a band of brigands who had been disrupting Narunn's trade along the Corun River. The crew also met Fortune Eniriel, a tiefling scribe who seemed to be eavesdropping on their conversation. Shortly after Dogaeen unleashed his anti-tiefling rhetoric against her, Loto discovered that she had attached a bracelet similar to Narunn's to his wrist.

Shortly thereafter, the crew was equipped with a poleboat and provisions and set upriver to deal with Narunn's enemies. They were gathering at a wedding for the brigand's son and the atmosphere was festive, until Keith killed the groom and Dogaeen decided there would be no survivors and killed the bride, too. Anyway, everyone who was supposed to die did – except Loto, who was revived – with the help of a spiteful hag and some merrow she had brought with her. The party escaped by the skin of their teeth and delivered the requisite severed heads to Narunn.

Fall 2016

With Woodsy and Loto off on their own adventures, Keith and Dogaeen embarked on a more domestic adventure: relieving the Weaver's Guild President's wife of an unwanted stalker who appeared to vanish at will. After some fuckery with the spell Dissonant Whispers, the duo managed to capture the varmint, who was a Ratfolk thief named Sneak. Dogaeen gassed him to death (accidentally), and as part of the payment, Keith received a magnificent green parrot, whom he named Monty.

However, their luck had run out. By this point, Loto thought he had enough money to quit his day job as a local crime lord's bouncer. Unfortunately, Loto's boss Aelim Kapala didn't accept his two-week notice. Kapala ransomed Loto back to Keith & crew for an exorbitant sum, with three weeks to scrounge up enough cash. Dorwin promised to help them find jobs.

A fortnight passed, and through Dorwin's help, and by taking odd jobs, they had managed to get about a third of Loto's ransom. Their next mission was an odd one to be sure: to investigate the case of a teddy bear that had grown to owlbear size, complete with teeth and fangs. They managed to defeat the foul beast, and Woodsy skinned it to make himself a fine cloak. Then, they discovered that similar cases of inanimate statues coming to life had been occurring all over Noivos. They found that, in each case, the object had been bound to a conch shard with runes in the kuo-toa language. This led them to the followers of Blibdoolpoolp, the kuo-toa goddess of death. 

They posed as some of the goddess' disciples and ventured into the marshes beyond Callweather, where they encountered kuo-toa and chuul. The chuul had evidently been supplying the shards to the human followers, but the kuo-toa had been making them. The chuul worked for another master and didn't seem to regard the kuo-toa too highly. However, the party bluffed their way into following the kuo-toa to their underground lair, where their high priest ordered the party to find a group of mercenaries within Noivos to steal a priceless artifact from Dorwin Eithiriond: the Conch of Summoning, which was the same conch they had taken from Bubbles many weeks ago. The chuul agreed to supply money and goods, but also stuck them with two babysitters: Left and Right, two humans with oddly vacant expressions. Instead of hiring anonymous mercenaries like normal people, the party made the staggeringly stupid decision of hiring Kapala to do their wetwork to cover their debts. Kapala agreed, on the condition that they would come along.

As Kapala and the chuul planned for the assault on Dorwin's well-guarded house, the party laid low at the temple of Blibdoolpoolp. They discovered that their friend, Kaados, had also been recruited by Kapala, and didn't seem too fazed about stealing from Dorwin. Finally, the big day arrived, and the party stormed the gate. It quickly went to hell, since, although Dorwin wasn't present, he had trapped his house rather effectively. His wife and kids holed up in the safe room, while the house itself retaliated against the attackers. Woodsy found a stylish pair of light-up boots, but other than that, the crew tried to refrain from overtly damaging activities. They showed their true colors when Kapala threatened to burn Dorwin's family alive; Left and Right were both killed, and the conch protected. After a protracted chase, Kapala too was killed, and Dorwin returned.

After some discussion, it was generally agreed that the party was not responsible for torching Dorwin's house, and they were free to go on their way to loot the rest of Kapala's establishments. The first stop was the Salty Mermaid, Loto's former place of employment. They stole a lot of money and fought some other looters, then went to Kapala's main digs, the Gallows. They had been beaten there by Fortune Eniriel and a gang of bookish but magically gifted tieflings, who took all of Kapala's papers for their own ends, but allowed the party to steal material things at will. They did reveal that Kapala had been in communion with the chuul prior to his death.

Given the fallout of Kapala's murder, Dorwin advised that the crew to leave Noivos for a week or so until the turmoil died down. He sent them to the origins of the Conch: a lich tomb he had raided about a year ago. The tomb was deserted, its original occupant having long since been destroyed, and a number of small, unsavory creatures had taken up residence. Dogaeen acquired the Gazer, Kane, through their mutual love of killing kuo-toa. After defeating a Spawn of Kyuss, the party read the walls and discovered that the conch had been made to summon krakens.

Spring 2017

To escape the fallout of Kapala's death, the party decided to embark once more on an adventure outside Noivos' limits. Narunn hired them to track down missing shipments of treasure coming down the Corun River from Narunn's private treasure digs up north. Woodsy, Keith, and Dogaeen set off with promises of rich reward, but Loto stayed behind to found a benevolent crime enterprise. The trio posed as another treasure barge and waited until they were set upon by an enormous frog. It was wounded and fled into the swamp; they followed and found an enormous ziggurat under heavy guard. Of course, they elected to enter.

The ziggurat was under the command of a woman known only as Green Helmet, who admitted during their fight that she was well over a thousand years old. Her bandits put up a stiff resistance, but were no match for our doughty fighters (mostly because Kane succeeded really well on an intimidation check and convinced everyone he was actually a beholder). The bandits melted into the jungle and the trio found most – but not all – of the treasure. It seemed that the treasure had been sent off to three separate locations: two in the nearby area, and one to the far north.

After such a vigorous fight, a rest was in order. Meanwhile, two mercenaries, Derryk and Dennis, snuck into the temple in search of their bounty: a wizard who had crossed the wrong person before seeking employ with bandits in the north. They discovered that the party had killed the wizard in the previous fight, but accidentally awakened them, and the party thought they were going to steal their treasure. Shenanigans ensued, near-fatal spells exchanged, and then all five banded together to beat the banderhobb. They loaded the treasure onto some conveniently located carts and beat it down a hastily made road. They were hunted by wargs, but survived until dawn, when the realized an aboleth had been watching them the whole time.

The aboleth decided to slink off and the party decided not to chase it. The road terminated at a hidden dock where Green Helmet had been hiding Narunn's stolen barges. They put the treasure (and the cart horses) on three barges and poled down the Corun. Shortly thereafter, Green Helmet appeared in hot pursuit, and they ditched the barges for Keith's folding sloop. Some kuo-toa found them later that night, but they were able to safely deliver Narunn's treasure and use a portion of it to bribe Derryk and Dennis into joining them permanently.

Their next adventure found them in Woodsy's stomping grounds: the swampy district of Callweather, where many of Woodsy's friends had been disappearing. He discovered that many of them had been taken or eaten by rats, which led to Ratfolk, and a Ratfolk bar called the Mousetrap, and a warehouse owned by Ratfolk which had an entrance in the Mousetrap. However, Ratfolk were not its only occupants. There were also three driders, tending thousands of eggs laid along the walls. The party destroyed the eggs as well as many rats, and scared off the driders. The eggs were full of premature spider/drow hybrids, and they also found a picture of baby Kapala.

Although Dorwin had never heard rumors of driders in Noivos, the party insisted on hunting them down. They visited the Temple of Lolth in Parishtown, and then decided to sneak in. Within, they found a small part of the Underdark. They asked Dorwin for his help, which he granted, and Narunn to search shipping records for anything especially odd. Narunn's friend Fortune delivered news of a suspicious shipment some months back which likely carried driders to Noivos. Then, the gang plus Dorwin infiltrated the temple and prepared to beat the silky shit out of whatever driders they found within.

As it so happened, one of the driders was Aelim Kapala's mother. She gave several people near-death experiences and managed to escape alive, even as her other two drider companions were slain. The City Watch as well as the local paladins were called in to investigate the scene, and detain any drow worshipers of Lolth. 

Few conclusive leads came from this search, so the party decided to follow up on Narunn's assignment, which was to recover his missing treasure. Once more, they sailed upriver and returned to the ziggurat. This time, they were joined by Fortune, who had spent many months translating papers the party had recovered during their first exploratory mission. On their way to the temple, they spotted a mysterious cloud several miles in the distance and decided to investigate. They found a nice spa packed with interdimensional beings, apparently suspended in time since Noivos' dimension doors had been sealed by a massive spell hundreds of years ago. This information was conveyed to them by Granny Jo, the spa's proprietor, and resident Extra Powerful Mage. She told them that Narunn's treasure had mostly been sent to her neighbor, an ornery aboleth named Abr'na. Since Abr'na and Granny Jo were no great friends, she agreed to teleport them (and Dennis' horse) to Abr'na's hideout in the swamp.

The party crawled, swam, and jumped its way through Abr'na's hellhole of a lair, which was trapped to the gills and filled with kuo-toa. Some members of the party failed to conceive that since Abr'na was aquatic and most invaders were not, it was perfectly normal for all the dry areas to be trapped. At long last, they faced Abr'na himself. He spent a lot of time bragging about himself and was angered into revealing that Granny Jo was in fact a hag.

Then the party fought them, because of course they did, and killed him. Fortune delivered the killing blow, in retaliation for Abr'na's murder of her family years before. Then, the party delved into Abr'na's treasure room, where they found Narunn's missing treasure and more. They also discovered a stash of books and artifacts, mostly centering around summoning the Kraken….

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Netflix & Probe
The Requisite Semester-ending Boss Battle

Abr'na is dedededed

Treasure Collected

  • Anti-Shapeshifting Manacles
  • Bag of Holding
  • Books (mostly about the kraken)
  • Bottled Wind
  • Bracers of +2 AC
  • Cutlass of +1 attack/damage
  • Immovable Rod
  • Jar of Bees
  • Lens of Tracking
  • Snoblet
  • Spell Scrolls (Goodberry, Divine Favor, Hero's Feast)
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To the Window! To the Wall! A Good Ol' Dungeon Crawl!
Jet Fuel Can't Melt Steel Nipples

Granny Jo was kind enough to teleport the brave adventurers to Abr'na's doorstep. They arrived in a maze of mist-shrouded ruins. In the distance, the party could see a large, domed structure made of red brick rising out of the swamp. The back end was sinking into the mud, but the beautifully sculpted front revealed some of its past beauty – and the kuo-toa guarding the door.

Fortune revealed that, through years of diligent study, and by piecing together hints from Kapala's mother's letters, that she had sketched a rough map of the interior. She estimated that the map was no more than 80% accurate, but the party decided to take the risk and enter the structure. She led them around the side of the building and into a side door. Unfortunately, the door opened up into a kuo-toa den. The party immediately set about murdering their asses. Dogaeen and Kane did it with particular relish.

  • Greg got sucked into a gravity trap
  • Dogaeen got sucked into a book

Stats

  • Fatalities: 14 kuo-toa, plus XP for disarming traps
  • XP awarded: 4,500
  • Level: 8
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Now You're Thinking with Portals
a.k.a. Gushin' Granny

Since a search of the city was unable to turn up any side of Kapala's mother, the group decided to begin their assignment from Narunn. However, Keith decided to chart his own course. He sailed off in the folding boat, chasing the wreck of the Flying Pussyfoot (and possibly starting to build his very own pirate lair). 

Narunn provided them with a barge and hired two people — a human named Dave and a half-orc named Grohl — to man the pole and tiller. Grohl and Dave would have gladly worked for free in service of Woodsy, but he, in his magnanimity, graciously offered them 3 GP for the whole experience.

They were about to disembark when they saw someone running down the docks toward them, begging them to stop. It was Fortune, dressed in traveling clothes and carrying a rucksack. She threatened to tell Dorwin — or worse, the authorities — about where they were going, and informed them that she had advanced knowledge of what was ahead. The group just shrugged and let her aboard after she promised not to demand a cut of the treasure. They noticed that she wasn't wearing any armor, nor was she carrying any weapons.

They poled upriver for a few days, generally relaxing and taking in the beautiful coastal rain showers. In Keith's absence, the captainship was heavily disputed, with Dennis/Dovak winning. Derryk became first mate, but refused all responsibility. Fortune spent most of her time sitting on the wheelhouse roof, reading her books.

On the third day, Dogaeen requested that they make a detour to One, the settlement they had leveled a few months earlier at a particularly ill-fated wedding. Dogaeen's intention was to see if any of the children remembered Fortune's necklace, which one of them had been playing with the last time he had visited. The woman at the door remembered Dogaeen and yelled at him for disturbing the peace once more. Dogaeen cast Friends on her, then went inside and bribed the children with candy until they told him what he wanted to know: that one of the missing children had had the necklace, and that he had gone missing weeks ago. The caretaker — now even angrier at having been magicked into compliance — chased them out, but Fortune had noticed Dogaeen's interest in her necklace.

Fortune and Dogaeen returned to the boat and they quickly floated away. Everyone looked for signs of recent disturbance. Keen-eyed Woodsy noticed three ravens watching them from some nearby trees. Ravens were not native to the Corun River, so he became suspicious and decided to follow them in Wild Shape. He followed them for a few miles, until they flew into a massive column of clouds to the west. The unnaturally large and still cloud bank was about 40 mi wide at its largest point, and impossible to see into. Woodsy turned back and told everyone else what he had seen.

The party sailed up the mangrove, through the channel they had exited when fleeing the temple. They reached the beachhead and found it abandoned, then decided to camp there for the night. It was fairly cozy with seven people inside the tiny wheelhouse, but no one was murdered except Dogaeen's efforts to mount a coup against first mate Derryk.

 


  • Party sailed up the mangroves and left the barge with Grohl and Dave (warded with runes) before traveling on foot on the road (bringing Dennis' horse)
  • Managed to reach dropoff point for treasure 1 and treasure 2
  • Camped a half mile down the road and accosted by awakened trees that Derryk could not see; killed by Fortune and Woodsy
  • Decided to go towards the cloud column in the morning; did some Water Walking to reach the edge
  • 1/2 mile of 5 ft visibility mist, before reaching the ruins of a massive red brick structure (4 stories high, 300 ft long, roof in need of repair, newly weeded cobblestones)
  • Crows were watching; fled when Woodsy wild-shaped
  • Decided to knock and met with a wash of steam as the door opened
  • Sebastian, the firenewt majordomo, brought them inside; PCs asked to interview Granny Jo
  • Sanctuary full of beings: flumps, xorns, deep gnomes, galeb duhrs, elementals, magmins, darklings, etc. nothing too violent or bloodthirsty (e.g. illithids)
  • See xorn eating treasure without paying for it
  • Summoned to meet Granny Jo on the top floor
  • An old and friendly woman with dark, weathered skin, white hair, and a huge walking stick; wears a shapeless and plain grey dress
  • Tells party she has been in business for 2,000 years and maintains building as sanctuary for inter-dimensional travelers who got stuck on the Material Plane when the portals were shut 
  • Massive ceremony involving human sacrifice needed to shut the planes; blasted off the entire center of the continent
  • No one ages while living inside the walls
  • Granny Jo mentions she gets gold and gems from neighbor, an aboleth named Abr'na; doesn't seem to have anything nice to say about him
  • Agrees to teleport company to Abr'na's doorstep in return for sewing thread for her daughter, Jenny
  • Gives them a slug to communicate with them; stroke three times and one messages can be sent between Jo and the holder; slug lives in a jar and is mildly acidic
  • Teleported to doorstep (with horse)
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Tangled
A Fun, Spider-filled Fight
  • Fought Kapala's mother, four quaggoth, and two driders
  • Quaggoth and driders are dead
  • Dorwin helped out and was the only one still conscious at the end of the encounter
  • Dennis strummed in the corner
  • Portal to the Underdark was created, but didn't have any entrances or exits into other parts; Kapala's mother fled into Noivos
  • Dorwin alerted the Paladins of Helm and had them clean up instead of alerting the authorities
  • The party went Magic Shopping and bought stuff
  • Keith decided to check out the wreck of the Flying Pussyfoot while the others went upriver
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Of Mice and Men
When Plans Go Awry

After their encounter at the warehouse, the party took a much deserved long rest. In the morning, they regrouped and Dogaeen returned from his kuo-toa hunt. All told, he bagged forty-three of them, having gone back to the village where they had first met the kuo-toa and killed many. The group decided to investigate the driders, as they assumed the spider folk had come over recently, since it would be difficult to hide one in the city. Their first idea was to find the barkeeper of the Mousetrap, but this was ruled out because finding him in a city of forty-five thousand would be difficult. Their second plan was to contact Dorwin and pick his brain about driders.

They headed down to the Lusty Priest and waited around until Dorwin arrived. Dorwin appeared troubled at the notion driders could be hidden in Noivos and had never heard of any sightings before now. He suggested they look into the drow temple of Lolth in Parishtown, as Kapala - while nominally distant from his past – had poured hundreds of gp into their coffers over the years. He also warned them that the drow were wealthy and well-connected, despite their unpleasant reputation, and that their goal was ultimately to open a portal to the Underdark. These portals are impossible to open in Noivos, but Dorwin and the Adventurer's Guild has been keeping a close eye on them in case they succeed. Derryk also wrangled himself an invitation to play his lute at one of Dorwin's bangers.

The party's next step was to contact Narunn to see if it would be possible to examine shipping records from the last few months for any oddities. This time, the young shipbuilder's apprentices treated them with much more respect, and the party was swiftly conducted to Narunn's office. Narunn was mildly irritated they had not already embarked to retake the other two-thirds of his treasure, but he realized that their problem was worth the delay. They learned that the last drow-majority ship (meaning one where the whole crew were drow) landed in Noivos about five years ago. Since then, drow had arrived on mixed-race ships. Narunn promised to send a request to the library on the condition that they soon return to the task he had assigned them.

Next, they decided to investigate the Temple of Lolth in downtown Parishtown. The Temple is an imposing block of black granite, standing two stories tall. (Across the road is the tiefling Temple of Lolth; it is known that the two groups will occasionally brawl in the middle of the street.) The front was open to the public, but they didn't want to raise suspicion by poking around for driders. Instead, Dogaeen's mouse self (Raziel) and Woodsy, cunningly disguised as a spider, snuck into the temple. The chamber open to the public was decorated with an enormous statue of a drow standing upright, trying to fight an enormous spider off their face. The interior was almost completely dark, with only a few torches to make the rubies set into the walls glimmer dangerously.

They passed the statue and entered the anterior chamber, which was a sitting room. A few drow lounged on couches and ate or read books. Woodsy and Dogaeen successfully snuck past them and into the next room, which was a combined library and shrine. The library on the left side housed about a hundred dark-colored tomes on artistically dusty shelves. The shrine on the right showed another image of a spider, this time with a drow female's face. Beneath it was a rock from the tunnel where the drow first contacted Lolth, which hummed with infernal magic.

Dogaeen decided to attempt reading whatever the drow were, and climbed up the side of a bookshelf. Unfortunately, he wasn't sneaky enough to evade them, and was Eldritch Blasted off the side. He escaped by falling under a shelf and skittering away as the drow searched for the body. Woodsy, meanwhile, landed on someone's book and began to tap-dance. The awestruck drow attempted to decipher what message Lolth was attempting to send them.

The two of them reunited in the temple's final room, which was the sleeping quarters. There was a trap door leading down, so Dogaeen used Thaumaturgy to open and close it, trapping them inside. The moment he entered the tunnel beneath, he felt at home: he was in the Underdark. He and Woodsy crept along the left side of the tunnel and arrived in a chamber holding several half-eaten bodies suspended by webbing. Woodsy recognized one as a friend from Callweather, but failed to recognize that the person was dead. They continued onward until they heard the sound of voices, then saw two driders arguing. Convinced they had all the proof they needed, the returned to the Material Plane to tell the others what they had learned.

In the meantime, everyone else (including Dogaeen's body) had chilled at home. Keith debated the benefits of buying an apartment.

After hearing of driders beneath the Temple of Lolth, the party decided to act as soon as possible. They returned to the Lusty Priest to tell Dorwin what they had found. Dorwin wanted to help them, but wanted more definitive proof, such as a piece of a drider, before risking the wrath of the drow. Ultimately, he reached a compromise where he would be Polymorphed into a spider and the party would agree that he had never been there.

The party had been about to depart when Narunn's information arrived, carried by none other than their old friend, Fortune Eniriel. Fortune was initially angry that she had unwittingly helped Dogaeen and it took a moment for her to recover enough self-control to deliver her message. The shipment that had piqued her interest was the captain's log written by Tordek Starkhelm, Captain of the Flying Pussyfoot, which had embarked on its final voyage with a cargo of livestock. Mid-voyage, the livestock began disappearing, then the crew who went down to check on them. Convinced the ship was haunted, Captain Starkhelm ditched the ship on a sandbar two miles off the coast and rowed to shore. He survived long enough to write his account, but shortly thereafter, he and his crew began to disappear or die in mysterious accidents. Keith vowed to visit the ship as soon as he had time. Also, Fortune had no idea who Derryk and Dennis were.

The plan shook out to be three people (Keith, Derryk, and Dennis) using Gaseous Form to enter the Temple of Lolth, Dorwin being Polymorphed into a spider, Dogaeen going as Raziel, and Woodsy Wildshaping into a spider. It was Dogaeen's responsibility to cast Gaseous Form, so he positioned himself on a bench outside to cast it on his waiting companions. Woodsy and Dorwin went first and waited at the door. Then, as Dogaeen was waiting for someone to enter the temple, a few tiefling punks came up to him and commented on the Lolth breastplate he was wearing. They were from the tiefling Temple of Lolth and wanted to pick a fight with the drow. Dogaeen bought time by saying they needed more tieflings than that to have a chance of winning, so they went away to scare up more hooligans. 

Meanwhile, the party regrouped in the Underdark. They did not escape notice for long: two quaggoth came down the tunnel to investigate their conversation. The quaggoth were easily defeated and the party made towards the dead bodies. This time, Woodsy identified them as dead. 

They reached the end of the tunnel, where Dogaeen and Woodsy had seen the driders. They were still there, in addition to a huge drider with a face very similar to Kapala's.

Stats

  • Fatalities: 2 quaggoth (450 XP each)
  • XP awarded: 1,000
  • Level: 7
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I Ain't a Rat!
The Bounty Bites Back

While returning from Narunn's palace, their pockets jingling with treasure, Dogaeen received word that the kuo-toa were once more infesting the sewers of Noivos. He dashed off to stop their spread, leaving the party at the mercy of several children who wanted their autographs. Keith managed to scratch his name onto one's wood cutlass, and Woodsy presumably did something, although he is probably not literate. Drew a picture of a bear, maybe? Derryk and Dennis are still personas non grata.

Then, Woodsy was accosted by a desperate tiefling begging him to save his community from a rash of mysterious kidnappings. Although Woodsy failed to place the name, he did remember that he mooched off the tiefling's hospitality on several occasions. The tiefling was happy to explain that several people who had housed Woodsy in Callweather had begun to go missing, starting a few days after Kapala's untimely execution.

The gang trouped over to Callweather to investigate. Callweather is the westernmost district, haphazardly pasted onto a series of limestone islands onto the landward side of Noivos. The buildings are small and crooked, and patches of civilization are accessibly only by bridges, ropes, or just wading through the shallow water. Callweather is the home of hundreds of low to middling income laborers who pride themselves on their close-knit community and strong sense of hospitality. This attribute was undoubtedly what Woodsy targeted when choosing a district to leech off.

Anyway, Woodsy received a warm welcome. He has been staying here for years, and has performed a number of valuable acts, such as Sleet Storming over a cesspit so the children could ice skate across (completely blind and often falling over, but whatever). The tiefling, Norr, brought the party to the house of the latest victim, a half-orc carpenter named Aly'n. Along the way, Norr explained that he and the other inhabitants of Callweather had been inspired by how Woodsy teamed up with friends to accomplish his goals, so he had instated a Neighborhood Watch. The Neighborhood Watch had initially attempted to find the culprit, but their investigation had only succeeded in destroying any hints potentially remaining at the house. Aly'n's wife, also a half-orc, informed the party that he had been taken on his way to the outhouse, about forty feet away.

Sensing no leads remained at the house, the party moved to the outhouse. Most of them discovered only a fantastic smell, but the most observant saw that there were no rats. Callweather had its share of pests, all of which seemed to be absent in the area. Woodsy used Speak with Animals to network around the local rat population, eventually determining that a new, very mean clan of large rats had moved into the area.

They went to a house where the Big Rats had recently been seen. A few Mage Hand pokes around the trash heap revealed a giant rat the size of a small dog, which Keith promptly killed. Further searches revealed another giant rat, which revealed it had been eating these people, and yet another, which they were able to literally squeeze for information. However, the rat really only spilled his guts in return for a souffle, telling them that its boss, "the Big Cheese", wanted them dead. The boss could be found in Seaside. Then, the party bundled the rat in a sack and handed him to a halfling woman, who promptly beat it to death with a meat tenderizer and made a delicious giant rat goulash. Derryk abstained.

Later that night, they made their way over to Seaside. Woodsy talked to the rats again and found out the big rats were common near a huge trash staging area to the north. (Noivos collects the trash and loads it onto a barge, then dumps it farther out into the ocean. Ecology!) They went there, finding a dive bar called the Mousetrap. They attempted to ask about the local pests and were only met with suspicion from the barkeep. However, three men sitting around the tables recognized them from their wanted posters and attempted to capture them. They were overcome due to everyone's efforts. Two of them were run out of the bar, killing themselves as they sprinted over Woody's thorns. Keith captured the last one. Derryk did stuff but it was under-appreciated as always. They looted the corpses, gaining wanted posters, a 50ft rope of spider silk, 2 sp, and several belt buckles with the design of an Ouroborous rat around a map of Noivos.

They interrogated the remaining man, who turned out to be ratfolk after he attempted to slip his bonds by turning into a rat. He told them that the secret entrance to their hideout (located in the warehouse adjacent) was behind the casks in the bar. Keith killed him because lol.

They entered the tunnel (Dennis bent double because the ceilings were 6 ft) and walked for a quarter mile before finding a ladder leading up to a trap door. Along the way, they encountered several rats, which quickly dashed off to inform the others. As a result, by the time Dennis poked his head above the trap door, the ratfolk were in the midst of packing up their whole operation.

Of greater interest were the lines of eggs along the walls and the presence of two driders aiding in the packing. At the far end of the warehouse were two thrones. One was made of humanoid bones and occupied by a woman shouting orders. The other was shrouded by a thick layer of webbing.

Although Dennis was the only one on the ladder, he went last in initiative, much to everyone's frustration. Eventually, after a few Spiritual Weapons, Hastes, Lighting Strikes, Vicious Mockeries, and double-weapon attacks, the party gained the upper hand. Woodsy escaped the fray and set about destroying the eggs, first obscuring the ratfolks' vision with Sleet Storm, then destroying the eggs with Wall of Fire. When it seemed they would win, a drider crept around the warehouse and ambushed them from behind, right in front of Derryk. Rather than flee like the squishy mage he is, he bravely stood his ground and Viciously Mocked her, finally reducing her to gales of laughter with Tasha's Hideous Laughter. Between himself and Keith, she was seriously injured. At the same time, Woodsy blocked off the exits with Erupting Earth and the ratfolk fled out the only remaining exit: behind the drider. She attempted to stop them, but seeing that it was inevitable, fled with them. 

The party celebrated their victory by looting the corpses and destroying the remaining eggs. The eggs contained half-mature spider/human hybrids, more uniform than driders, with eight eyes and hairy bodies. They attempted to find the Plot Hook, but were somehow struck temporarily blind. Fortunately, Monty came in at the clinch and located a Shiny, which turned out to be a bejeweled portrait of a young Aelim Kapala.

Notable discussions and Quotes

  • Rat testicle size
  • "I'd rather you vore me than talk me to death"
  • The Big Cheese
  • "What have you done to big rats?"
  • stabs someone he had promised to let go "What? I have a reputation to maintain."
  • aRACKnids

Fatalities:

  • 15 ratfolk (450 xp each) 
  • 5 giant rats (25 xp each)
  • 1/2 drider (500 xp)

    • Total xp: 7,500 
    • Level: 7
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O Captain My Captain
Adventures in Boating

The aboleth, clearly having had enough of nosy adventurers, began the session by sinking back under the swampy water. No attempts were made to communicate with it or find it again, which was probably for the best.

The party continued down the road, eventually reaching its terminus: a stretch of beach with three barges tied to posts sunk into the mud. There was a makeshift crane for lifting supplies, and a path cut through the mangroves just wide enough to let a boat pass. The barges were identical to the one the party had taken from Narunn's men. 

Their treasure fit comfortably when stretched between two barges, but they decided to bring along fourteen horses (twelve from the wagon, and Dennis and Derryk's mounts) on the third barge. The horse barge was lashed to a treasure barge, and Woodsy was in charge of keeping them calm as Keith navigated. Dogaeen took the other barge with Derryk, and Dennis was with Keith.

They began to pole off the beach when some noticed scouts watching them from the mangrove. Woodsy was able to trap one in a Sleet Storm, but the other fled deeper into the woods. They were briefly stalled on underwater detritus and reached the main body of the Corun River after thirty minutes of poling. Once on the water, they immediately noticed there were two boats about a mile upriver, poling towards them quickly. Woodsy got into the water as a crocodile to investigate. It was Green Helmet and her men, trying to close the distance. Since both parties were traveling downriver and Green Helmet had more men, it seemed that they would soon draw within bowshot.

Due to his superior knowledge of the Corun River, Keith realized that they had 10 miles (20 minutes) before they would reach the river delta, which split the 100 ft wide river into thousands of tiny channels. If they could reach the delta, they could lose their pursuers in the watery maze.

Keith immediately procured a faster ship by unfolding his boat, which transformed into a 70 ft double-masted sloop. (The DM is not sure if she specified it could turn into a sloop, because that's not in the manual, but 1) it sounds like a dumb thing she would do, and 2) it will be convenient later on.) Then, Dennis used his superior strength to haul two 1000 lb crates per minute (Derryk Hastened him), and Dogaeen assisted Keith. They put all fifteen crates on the ship and were in the process of loading the horses when Green Helmet finally draw near. They fired a few arrows at Woodsy, but he then hit them with Sleet Storm. The horses were loaded and the party successfully reached the river delta.

As they sailed away, they felt a scream of rage from the aboleth's lair rattle their bones.

The seasoned pirate, Keith, took charge of navigation and, in the heat of battle, completely forgot when the tides were coming in or out. Near dusk, he sailed them into a huge sandbar, lodging the ship firmly on its crest. The tide would not come in again for six hours, so they mounted a watch and settled down for the evening.

In the wee hours of the morning, just as Keith and Derryk were switching watches, Derryk noticed a scrabbling sound on the side of the ship. He went to investigate, and was immediately netted by kuo-toa and dragged into the water. Keith raised the alarm. None were as excited as Dogaeen and his hellish companion, Kaine. They leapt into the fray, eager to take more kuo-toa hearts for their collection. Kaine developed a particularly good slam tactic, where it used its telekinesis ray to lift the kuo-toa 30 ft in the air before dropping them for bludgeoning damage. Dogaeen stayed with his tried and true Eldritch Blast.

Meanwhile, Derryk escaped the net and Woodsy entered the water as a crocodile. Keith hauled Derryk aboard, where he was able to Viciously Mock the kuo-toa. Just when it seemed they had won, Dennis felt a worm latch onto his skin. The party turned to see the misshapen, worm-filled corpse of a Spawn of Kyuss. 

A short battle ensued, where some of the kuo-toa were frightened off or killed in Woodsy's jaws, and the Spawn of Kyuss killed without cursing anyone else its form. Dogaeen gained four kuo-toa hearts for his hook, and Raziel was presumably pleased. 

The rest of the night passed peacefully and they successfully sailed their sloop into Noivos and delivered their cargo. Narunn awarded them 300,000 gp, which they split into 60,000 gp shares. They split a share between Derryk and Dennis as thanks for their help. The bounty hunting duo also claimed their 50 gp bounty, and decided to join the party in return for better loot. 

The only loose end was the matter of the missing treasure's final destination. Narunn tasked them with scouting the three locations upriver that the treasure seemed to be going towards. He let them make a copy of the coded ledger and map to aid in their search.

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Derryk Bonbarrion, OC Do Not Steal!
And Dennis

Even before taking a well-deserved long rest, the party decided to scope out the rest of the abandoned temple. They also found more treasure stored in another room, but it was about a third of what they had been expecting from Narunn's report.  Near the exterior, they found three wagons and twelve draft horses, as well as a coded ledger appearing to detail the schedule of Narunn's shipments. Keith was able to figure out the symbols for numbers and just enough to realize that the temple was just a temporary holding facility for the loot. Upon reaching the temple, the treasure was divided into three portions of different sizes. The largest and smallest portions were being brought 5 miles downriver. The middling portion was transported 40 mi. north, past any civilization and into the desert. Keith knew that not many people returned from exploring that far away from Noivos.

The party then decided to take their overdue long rest. Dogaeen and Razael took first watch with Kaine, positioned near the rubble pile at the entrance, and Keith and Woodsy slept in the room with the most treasure.

Meanwhile, an erstwhile pit fighting pair — the goliath Dennis and his hype man Derryk — rode through the underbrush towards the temple. They were chasing a 50 gp bounty on a wizard wanted for blackmail in Noivos. The wizard, Royce, had been a freelancer until he had joined a gang of questionable morality and skipped town. They had traced him back to this ruin.

Dennis and Derryk climbed the temple steps and rappelled through the skylights into the central courtyard. The rough stone proved easy terrain for Derryk, but Dennis' hands, slick with sweat, slipped on the rope and he fell to the ground. Shaking this off, they crept through the tunnels and found their mark, dead on the floor with his heart missing, with two sleeping people nearby. They decided to try to swipe Royce's body out from under their noses and almost succeeded, but Dogaeen had heard Dennis' fall and woke Keith and Woodsy. Derryk and Dennis attempted to run for it, and Woodsy stopped them with a Sleet Storm. Dogaeen unleashed the Hunger of Hadar into the Sleet Storm, pummeling them with the slimy black tentacles. Keith decided to head them off, and ran out of the temple, back up the steps, and found their ropes. He cut one and slid down on the other. 

Meanwhile, Derryk and Dennis managed to escape the Sleet Storm and continue fleeing towards their ropes. Keith was there to stop them. A somewhat civil discussion followed, during which Dogaeen managed to convince them that he was not responsible for the tentacles. Dogaeen also refused to hand over Royce's body for some macabre reason, and before the talks turned nasty again, the party heard the unmistakable squee of an angered bullywug. Keith quickly promised to pay the bounty hunters a hefty share of his current contract and let them keep (most of) Royce if they would stick around to fight off the bullywug. 

Derryk and Dennis agreed, and in the nick of time. The bullywug teleported from thin air and began to attack. Woodsy was swallowed for a time, but they managed to defeat it and beat a hasty retreat. They loaded the treasure onto the wagons, hitched up the horses, and fled into the forest. They made good time, especially considering the poor construction of the road, and had gone three miles by sundown. They stopped, satisfied with their progress. Before they turned in, Woodsy watched a lizard drink from a pool of water, then immediately die. This was considered an ill omen, and they posted a watch.

As night fell, eerie sounds began to float in from the trees on either side of them. They doubled the watch and prayed for the best. A little after midnight, they received their first visitor: a fawn with a baby's face sewn onto its skull, walking on broken legs with bones protruding from the knee. It wanted them to leave. Keith killed it. Shortly thereafter, they were visited by a rat with a human hand growing out of its back, who carried the same message. Now sufficiently spooked, they readied the horses and woke up everyone. The next surprise was a swarm of wasps. And then another swarm of wasps. 

At this point, they were driving twelve horses in total blackness on a rough road bracketed by creepy forest. It was no surprise, then, when their horses began to stumble and break their legs. They had to stop several times to heal them before continuing their reckless pace. The most observant of them noticed six worgs — three undead, three alive — chasing their caravan. At this point, Derryk and Dennis were riding in the back on their horses, Woodsy was controlling one wagon, Keith was controlling the middle wagon, and Dogaeen drove in front. 

A worg jumped onto Derryk's horse and Dennis attempted to strike it off, but accidentally hit and seriously injured the horse. Derryk and Dennis fell behind and killed the worg by themselves, then healed the horse and caught up with the party. Woodsy turned into a bear and launched himself off the wagon, hitting the worg and sending them both under the hooves of the last wagon. Dogaeen killed the others with Eldritch Blast and Keith killed another that had jumped into his wagon.

Finally, the worgs were defeated and they were able to continue at a slower pace. At dawn, they reached a point where the road left the forest and bisected an enormous swamp for half a mile. There was no cover, except for a thin layer of pearly mist covering the fetid waters. Keith realized this was where Green Helmet's bandits had been bringing two shares of Narunn's treasure. 

Then, those with sharp eyes noticed an aboleth watching them from the water…

Fatalities

  • 1 banderhobb
  • 2 insect swarms
  • 6 worgs

XP

  • 2400 xp
  • Level 6
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