Ninety-Nine Problems

Session 11: Ambush & Arson
"There are plenty of gains for everyone."

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Emboldened by Irador‘s sigil, the party began their investigation in earnest. Their first stop was to the warehouses in the Eastern Cross. Before they could meet with Jinn’s contact they were intercepted by a young busker named Alphalon. The gentleman seemed quite well-versed in both Micah’s exploits and, somewhat more inexplicably, lore surrounding the cult the party had been pursuing. He informed them that the cult they pursued were not, in fact, spreading the Silent Rot. Rather, the Rot was the entity behind the disease. According to legend, both the Rot and the Punishing Wind were entities whose purpose was to sow chaos throughout the land. This, in turn, would allow them to usher in an unimaginable, terrible force upon the world.

Perhaps the stakes were higher than they thought.

After receiving this sobering news the group met with Jinn’s contact, Isabella Driftlace. The harbormaster’s assistant agreed to provide them with information on the dealings between the Qamol Company and the elusive Malcolm, but would need some time to review the books. She met them later that afternoon at the Crossed Staves armed with a name—Locha Frye and word that Malcolm was still in Jarrow.

Bartleby suggested the prudent course of action might be to visit the Temple of Kord in the Iron Hills. If anyone would be prepared for impending conflict, it would be the Kordites. After speaking with Erix, the head of the order, the group headed back down to the docks to confront Frye. There they overhead a conversation between the Qamol Company trader and Malcolm himself indicating the latter’s displeasure with current affairs. However, before they could hear more Chari crashed through the ceiling of the warehouse in a spectacular turn of bad luck. A scuffle ensued and Malcolm escaped, leaving Locha to fend for himself (poorly).

Through creative use of their Bag of Holding the group was able to bring Frye back to the Crossed Staves for interrogation. Jinn, being the most experienced of the group, returned to the warehouse to further investigate the scene. He arrived back at the inn with pockets full of leads and loot. The group was hot on Malcolm’s trail.


Items Acquired:

Potions Magical Items Other Coin
Potion of Greater Healing (x2) Scroll of Dispel Magic (3rd lvl) Set of aquamarine & topaz earrings wrapped in an embroidered silk handkerchief 200pp
Silver necklace w/ obsidian stones475gp
Small golden fox statue
Bottle of fine wine (x6)250sp
Bolt of crimson silk fabric
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Session 10: Truth & Tryouts
"I choose not to understand what is happening here"

forest_by_tituslunter-d6el5in.jpg Upon Chari's return the evening was spent in true Lliran fashion. Micah even took to the stage to regale patrons of the Crossed Staves with tales of his own derring do. The audience, however, seemed wholly unimpressed by his performance until he enlisted the aid of their newly acquired legendary lute. After a hearty breakfast the group set off for High Town (with the exception of Bartleby, who opted for a late morning of sleeping in).

Upon arrival at Alderth Hold, Jinn talked their way into elite guard tryouts by claiming Micah and Chari were new recruits for a special mission. Lt. Dresby adjusted the register and proceedings continued as normal. The two performed admirably, taking down several guard hopefuls in the ensuing scrum. Meanwhile, Jinn conned his way through the hold and into the office of Esper Sherman. The two chatted amiably for some time, during which Jinn learned the general would be in meetings for most of the morning. The party would need to keep themselves occupied until then. Chari suggested they return to the Crossed Staves to pick up the tooth fairies. Justice needed to be served (and teeth needed to be located).

Following Jinn's particularly bizarre encounter with the hold's zone of truth, the group made their way into the tower to meet with Professor Brixa, the resident fey expert. Upon her advice Chari dispatched the three pixies back to the Feywild. With a bit more time to kill the intrepid adventurers returned to the university's library, where Chari learned a valuable lesson about the dangers therein. Micah wished to lodge a complaint.

The party was finally able to intercept General Irador following a long meeting with Lady Messeneth of Galiesia. The man seemed exhausted, but willing to speak. Jinn briefly outlined the situation and was rewarded with the general's sigil, allowing them access to virtually anywhere in Jarrow. Irador explained that he was preoccupied with matters relating to Messeneth's presence in Jarrow. Given the group's prior experience, he was leaving the remainder of the investigation in their hands, trusting they would inform him of any new developments.


Potions Magical Items Other
    Iridor's Sigil
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Session 9: Tomes & Teeth
"There's no greater adventure than to read."

Upon arrival in Jarrow Jinn left the party to their own devices, presumably to address personal business.  Micah, Bartleby, and Chari made their way to the Crossed Staves to secure rooms, after which the trio parted ways.  Micah and Bart headed for the famous Blackview Academy library, while Chari was content to scale the walls of Alderth Hold in search of adventure—much to the consternation of the city guard.

Inside the academy Bartleby met with professors Dyley and Wetmaer.  Between the two he was able to learn a bit more about Adamar, a former Knight of Cups who had last been seen with the fabled chalice nearly 2000 years previous.  Adamar had left Cardale with the relic for somewhere in central Galiesia.  His purpose, it seemed, was to use the item rather than simply a journey of delivery.  To what ends, however, Bart could not determine.

Micah parted ways with "Snapper", the pickled punk he had acquired in the cultists' base outside of Goldendale.  An eccentric elf in the magical research wing granted him access to the academy's library in exchange for the creature.  Regretfully Micah said goodbye and headed into the archives.  In the depths of the stacks the former farmhand found information leading him to believe the armor he sought once belonged to the fabled hero Charles Gilbratore.  In the midst of his research Micah was overcome with a vision.

Bart, finding his compatriot unconscious and a nothic watching him with great curiosity, naturally assumed the worst and drew his blade.  The ensuing scuffle jolted Micah from his reverie and the two made short work of the creature, drawing the ire of the library's wooden guardians in the process.  The two gentlemen were escorted from the premises.

Feeling rather left out, Chari sought a pet in the Faymill.  After perusing the specimens in Sphynx's Oddities & Trinkets she settled upon what could only be described as a "handweasel" which she affectionately named "Jinn" after her good friend.  Satisfied with her purchase, she headed off to the local postings to look for work.  A few items piqued her interest, but none so much as a plea for assistance from an old man who insisted fairies were stealing his teeth.

Skeptical, she headed down to the gentleman's home and offered her services.  However, when night fell and three small pixies arrived in the room armed with pliers and sharp teeth Chari's skepticism turned to shock.  Coming to the old man's aid the young monk handily dispatched the creatures and trapped them within a glass jar.  Pleased with her accomplishments, she headed back to the Crossed Staves to show off her new friends.

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Session 8: Crates & Crushes
"Do we have to feed it?"

After a swift and timely healing by Bartleby, Vessa brought the party up to speed on her investigation.   Several small shipments had arrived from Jarrow via the Wyrm's Deceit.  Under the pseudonym "O'Commall" these shipments arrived in Cardale and were stored for Malcolm in a warehouse near the docks.  She warned, however, that the information had been dearly bought.  Her contact, Niels, was found dead in his home—supposedly having drunk himself to death, despite being sober for the past eight years.

Without wasting any time the crew tracked Vessa's assailant down to the warehouses.  A scuffle ensued and the halfling was captured, but much of the building's contents were destroyed in the process.  The group took the cultist to Vessa's safehouse for interrogation and subsequently released him into the custody of the Ivory Order.  Sorasta took in the information and grudgingly thanked Bartleby for his efforts, assuring him that the halfling's co-conspirators would be dealt with.

Bartleby also spoke with Kymil Fenx, warning him to spread word to Steephollow.  The town was the next target, but there was still time to prevent another tragedy.  Meanwhile, the group resolved to book passage out of Cardale.  The pieces of the conspiracy were coming together and all signs pointed to Jarrow as the source.  Chari invited Vessa to join them but the rogue, citing business in her own city, kindly declined.

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Session 7: Coffins & Con Jobs
"We're imposing our moral structure on it."

Much of the morning was spent talking Chari through a bout of nihilism brought on by the previous day's adventures.  Existential crisis averted, the party headed to the Gilded Quarter.  Upon securing an audience with the Knight-Commander, they set about very diplomatically informing the head of the Ivory Order what precisely had transpired below the city.  They also provided her with a few well-received and helpful suggestions of how to do her job, including posting a scout at the entrance of the cultists' smuggling tunnel.

Bartleby ushered the group out of the building while the party debated their next course of action.  Deciding they might kill two birds with one stone, they headed down to the docks to do some reconnaissance.  While Chari won friends and influenced people, Jinn and Bartleby gathered information on the mysterious red-haired elf who had purchased the missing lute from Hiuda's Sorcerous Oddities.  After learning the buyer would be leaving in two days' time, they went to investigate the cultists' smuggling operation.  Upon careful analysis of the area, Jinn determined there were still at least two cultists left in the city.

 With a fresh lead on the lute, the party headed to the Silver Axe in the hopes of intercepting the elf known as Galadon.  After a bit of a scuffle he revealed that Elana, who had posted the notice, was not the lute's owner, but rather he had been hired to recover it from her.  Dissatisfied with this answer (and his morally objectionable methods of retrieval), Jinn and Bart made Elana for the Blue Rose.  Upon questioning the woman, it became clear that Galadon had been telling the truth.  The young entertainer had stolen the lute from a wizard named Aerolus, but did not realize its true value.

Meanwhile, Chari, determined to do good, decided to take matters into her own hands and remove a dangerous person from Cardale.  After knocking the man out, the young monk purchased and placed him in a coffin, and paid a crew of sailors to deliver him to Nightburne—failing to realize he probably would not make it that far.  Upon learning what Chari had done, Jinn raced to the docks to find and rescue Galadon from his assuredly briny fate.  When the man regained consciousness Jinn advised he leave town rather than risk another encounter with the girl.

Roughly a week later, a wounded Vessa startled Jinn in the street, confirming that whoever they were looking for really weren't nice people.

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Session 6: Sludge & Sleuthing
"Usually alive people aren't heaped"

Vessa, an information broker sent by the Thieves' Guild, spoke with the party regarding comings and goings around town.  Jinn struck a deal with the agent; hopefully they would have information regarding Malcolm and his whereabouts within a fortnight.  In the meantime, the party concluded that assisting the local citizenry would not be a poor use of time.

Two postings on the local boards caught Micah's eye.  The first seemed to be a rather straightforward plea to recover a lute for Elana, a bard currently located at the Blue Rose.  The second appeared to be a missing persons notice, scrawled by a child, demanding "Where is Michael?" Hoping for some clues as to the lute's whereabouts, or at least a better description of the item, the party began their investigation at the aforementioned entertainment venue.  Chari and Micah led the charge while Jinn took the opportunity to win a bit of coin from the locals.  Oddly enough, the dynamic duo's tactics yielded little useful information.

Undeterred, the group spent the day canvassing Cardale's pawn shops, curiosity vendors, and emporiums.  Jinn managed to get a description of the lute's buyer from the proprietor of Hiuda's Sorcerous Oddities.  Upon exiting the store he and Micah realized that Chari had disappeared.   The monk had taken it upon herself to investigate the disappearance of "Michael".  She had decided to get information out of the local street urchins and, on a hunch, had descended into the labyrinthine sewer system below the city.

Underneath Cardale the party learned the horrifying fate of the missing citizens.  A foul creature had been capturing individuals and dragging them to its lair where it drained the corpses of fluids before leaving the desiccated corpses to be consumed by an otyugh living in the sewer system.  Further investigation of the area led the party to a small tunnel connecting this particular section of the sewers to an area just outside of Cardale harbor.  The same strange symbol tattooed on the imposter guard in Goldendale was etched, almost imperceptibly into the wall just outside the exit.  The party had stumbled upon the cultist's method of transport into and out of the city.

They would need to inform Bartleby, who had opted to continue his research at the Ivory Order of Faith and, consequently, missed all the excitement.


Items Acquired:

Potions Magical Items Other
Potion of Resist Acid Onyx Dog  
Potion of Endure Elements Ring of Friend Finding  
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Session 5: Trips & Trading
"Does he give a secret handshake?"

The party escorted the next caravan from Goldendale to Fitche, where they received a warm reception from the locals.  Bartleby secured passage to Cardale aboard a local fishing vessel while Jinn tied up loose ends in town.  One incredibly awkward series of letters, a rousing Lliiran sermon, and an over-the-top cultist impersonation later and the party was northward bound.

Upon arrival in Cardale the group reserved extended lodging at the Philosopher's Arms and went their separate ways.  Jinn set about converting some of their recent treasures into liquid assets, and making himself known to a few members of the local thieves' guild, including an eccentric milliner and a flamboyant fruit vendor.  Chari accompanied ostensibly as a bodyguard, though her presence raised more than a few eyebrows.

Bartleby set about earnestly ruining the day of several prominent members of town with news of the mysterious orbs' origin.  Never one to shirk his paladin duties, he also took advantage of resources in the Ivory Order of Faith.  An afternoon of diligence in the archives was rewarded with a lead on his quest: the Cup's last known whereabouts put the artifact somewhere in central Galiesia nearly a millennia ago.

Micah, preoccupied with training his new hawk, was conspicuously absent from the proceedings.

 

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Session 4: Spiders & Skeletons
"Circumstantial evidence is good enough for me"

The strange cultists were still at large, and with the party's only witness still unconscious there wasn't much to be done in Goldendale.   Jinn, however, offered to stay behind, suggesting his services might be more useful as an interrogator.   With fresh horses provided on behalf of the mayor, the rest of the party pursued their quarry.

Using Chari's exceptional tracking skills the group eventually uncovered what they could only assume was a hidden base of operations in the forest outside of Goldendale.  Inside, the intrepid adventurers faced untold horrors, including the animated husk of a long-dead giant orb weaver, brought to life by the swarms of poisonous spiders held within.  However, with several hours of lead, it seems that the cultists managed to flee the premises and only monstrous creatures remained.

Weighed down with loot and disappointment, the heroes returned to Goldendale to share the news.  Inside the dungeon they found alarming evidence that the situation had gotten more complicated.  The guards were not, in fact, from Jarrow.  Rather, the true replacements were missing (assumed slain), and members of this group had placed imposters amongst the mayor's ranks.

Jinn had, in fact, confirmed this information while the party was away.  A successful interrogation involving creative use of a disguise kit and silk sheets yielded positive, if disturbing, results.  The cultists were one of several cells receiving instructions from an entity known as "The Goldfinch", who was located somewhere within the port city of Cardale.   These followers received the orb from an individual called Malcolm.  Further confession led the party's rogue to believe that this orb was only one of many…


Items Acquired:

Potions Magical Items Other
Potion of Healing (x4) Bag of Holding Golden birdcage w/electrum filigree
Potion of Water Breathing Cloak of the Manta Ray Ebony mugs with jade inlay (x2)
Potion of Speed Greatsword +1 Maplewood box w/ ivory & snowflake obsidian chess set
Potion of Climbing Chain Armor of Resistance (Necrotic) Gold ring w/peridot gems
  Half-Plate of Fortification Book of ancient Corvethi heraldry
    Letter w/instructions regarding Jarrow guards
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Session 3: Paints & Poisons
"It's Probably Fine"

En route to Goldendale the party dispatched what they suspected were several of Rose's friends in the woods—hideous creatures resembling a child's drawings.  Shaken by the encounter, the party pressed on to Goldendale where they received yet more bad news.  The town was quarantined.  A mysterious illness had forced trade to a standstill.

Bartleby and Micah aided the town's local healer, Dametra Flicke, in easing the suffering of the "swollen sleepers" while Jinn and Chari set to work investigating.  The source of the disease seemed to be coming from a well in the poorer section of town.  More distressingly, they suspected that the cause was not natural.  Bart sent a local page on a reconnaissance mission which, while somewhat ill-conceived and ending poorly for the boy, yielded valuable results.

The following morning the party resolved to investigate the well.  Inside they discovered a disturbing mosaic and a mysterious stone orb resting in an ewer of water.  Micah used Cordyceps to destroy the orb, inadvertently causing the magic essence to be transferred into the sword.  Satisfied that the immediate danger to the town had passed, the group went to inform the mayor.

With the culprits unmasked and the gratitude of Goldendale's leader behind them, the party debated what to do next.


Items Acquired

Potions Magical Items Other
    (2) Silent Rot cultist masks
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Session 2: Acorns & Augury
"I'm Trained in Genre Awareness"

After spending the night in the woods near shore, the party stumbled upon the remains of their former ship.  The vessel was presumably destroyed during the storm by the grindylows still picking through the wreckage.  With Bartleby reunited with Marley and Micah reunited with his sword, the crew headed towards the nearby village of Fitche.  Having secured food and lodging, they set to exploring the town.  Henrietta, the innkeep of the Mangy Minnow, apologized for the lack of quality fare, citing a recent spate of missing or delayed supply caravans .  Jinn smelled an opportunity.

Bart and Micah went acorn hunting in the nearby forest where they met Rose and her guardian Pipkin.  The party reconvened following this brief, bizarre interaction and set about investigating the strange noises emanating from the town's wishing well.  The source was the ghost of a long-dead warrior.  Following a spate of particularly successful diplomacy Bartleby put her bones to rest while Jinn availed himself of her personal effects.  

Armed with acorns and curiosity, the party visited the home of Old Nan, the wise woman who lived in the woods outside of town.  Nan brokered a deal to trade a portion of Chari's luck for information regarding the missing caravans.  Thus armed, the party returned to the Mangy Minnow to decide their next course of action.


Items Acquired

Potions Magical Items Other
    Serina's Map
    gold ring
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