Ninety-Nine Problems

Session 22: Gateways & Guidance
"This is probably as close to heaven as you'll get"

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Bart was greeted by a voice only he could hear issuing a series of questions regarding his companions, and an offer: the unseen speaker would grant him the power to undo their greatest regrets. The Knight of Cups declined. One’s experiences, both good and bad, shape who a person becomes, he reasoned. The rest of the party looked on in horror as their paladin was suddenly wracked with pain, his blood seemingly on fire. Bartleby’s vision went white before shifting into a vision. First, he was being led through the forest by a slight woman with blonde hair and a warm smile. Next, on a ship heading towards the Fool’s Gate the massive storm looming on the horizon. In the final scene Bart found himself with the same woman, this time standing in the middle of a place he recognized as the Glittering Wastes of central Khard. She gestured with a shrug to the remains of a huge beast trapped within the glass. The final test passed, Bart came-to and the Guardian revealed herself to the party. A massive gynosphinx sat before them, smiling.

Given the opportunity to speak with a powerful, ancient creature, the group peppered her with questions. Micah gained a clue couched in riddles as to where he might find the remains of Charles Gilbratore’s lost armor. Chari learned her parents were known to the sphinx. Bart received a name for their enemy: The Ushers of Seudihr. Their curiosity somewhat sated, the sphinx deposited them back in Caelvoran near where their journey into the ruins began.

Serina’s map, which previously led them to an entrance to the Feywild, had another location marked nearby. During the journey Chari spotted a figure watching her through the trees, but the individual vanished upon pursuit. Given the description, Jinn and Bartleby suspected Calla was following them, and warned Chari to stay away for her own safety.

With a week of downtime before the next full moon, the group took a chance to relax and recuperate along the shores of Lost Prince Lake. During a swimming race Chari came across a weeping maiden in the rushes. The maiden attacked and the group found themselves trapped on an island in the middle of the lake without their gear. Through some quick and clever thinking they bested the creature. All that remained was an small, golden locket containing a pair of portraits. The name behind the lake became a bit clearer.

On the night of the full moon a strange phenomenon caused the surface of the lake to smooth over and reveal a dark portal. The group stepped through and found themselves in ruins of a city. Making their way through the dilapidated buildings Chari and Jinn watched in horror as one of the dark creatures circling overhead caught sight of Bart and began streaking towards their companion. The paladin, particularly impacted by the gloomy surroundings of the Shadowfell, had stopped in the middle of the streets and was completely exposed.

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Session 21: Platforms & Puzzles
"Not just any idiot...YOU."

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Breaking the seal on the stone wall triggered a cave-in. With no means of escape, the party pressed forward. Inside they were met with a series of dangerous puzzles and riddles leading ever further into the mysterious catacombs. Along the way Bartleby became increasingly convinced the Cup of Faith might actually be within reach.

As the party moved through a cavernous antechamber, lined with enormous statues depicting elements of piety and faith, someone or something triggered its ancient wards. A maelstrom of bones beset the group, attempting to tear them to shreds. Once defeated, Jinn and Sir Bartleby quietly shared their concerns regarding what, precisely, had provoked such a response in a seemingly otherwise holy place. Jinn insisted, however, that it was neither the time nor the place to address such things.

After spending the night in the hall of statues, the group pushed onward. They soon found themselves on the shores of an enormous lake illuminated from above by something resembling will-o’-wisps. Too late they discovered a hydra stalked their crossing. The party was forced to fight for their lives to avoid being dragged under and eaten. With the creature defeated, Bart sank to the lake bottom to see what treasures might lie hidden in the beast’s lair.

Once everyone recovered from the ordeal the group moved forward into an impossibly tall chamber containing a series of platforms and the sigils of the gods. Through their combined efforts, and a little divine assistance, the party scaled the tower and clambered through the opening in the ceiling. On the other side they encountered a circle of standing stones atop a huge hill. The dungeon they’d passed through seemed nowhere in sight, leaving the group wondering where, exactly, were they?

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Session 20: Dungeons & Dragons
"It was never quite that squeezy"

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While the rest of the party slept soundly Chari snuck out to Glassfog with Cordyceps, hoping the acolytes in the temple of Erathis would be able to remove whatever curse was upon the sword. Instead, whatever intelligence the weapon possessed took hold of the local cleric, and the young monk found herself engaged in a particularly uncomfortable and revealing conversation. Chari immediately flung Cordyceps into Stormcatcher Bay. However, when Micah came down to breakfast the sword had magically returned to his side.

In the morning the group said their goodbyes (and paid their debts) to Tabitha Burke and Lady Anjah and stepped through Eli’s portal into the Wraithwood. Climbing a tree, Chari spotted twinkling lights in the distance. The party followed the trail through the forest’s dense and chilly interior to the site of an ancient, ruined keep—now home to a vicious wyvern. After nearly losing Jinn to the clutches of a shambling mound in the courtyard, the group decided to proceed through the rest of the location with caution.

Descending into the crumbling, underground tunnels, the heroes discovered evidence that the keep formerly belonged to House Sibilans. Farther into the subterranean maze the group came across a blank stone wall. A pattern in the masonry lead Bartleby to believe the previous Knight of Cups, Sir Adamar Erendriel, had perhaps left the grail inside. Without hesitation Bart set to breaching the wall, eager to discover the secrets held within.

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Session 19: Hunger & Homecomings
"I'm very upset, but I'm keeping the shoes"

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As the flames flickered on Sakesu’s body, so did memories of the Feywild. Only Bartleby and Jinn remained aware of what had transpired, and the two were forced to fill in Tabitha and the others about all that had happened over the past few days. Without any assurance of rescue, the party made camp and set about making plans to construct a boat. However, whatever malady Bart had contracted in the plane of faerie was getting worse. The paladin was plagued by constant hunger, yet never sated. Jinn took the Knight of Cups into the woods and, after close examination, relieved Bart of a small, parasitic fey—an alpluachra—that had taken up residence in his throat.

Shortly thereafter, as Chari and Bart were gathering wood, a gnome stepped out of the forest asking for Tabitha Burke. The gentleman introduced himself as Eliseo, and had apparently been sent by Lady Anjah Wilmont-Burke to collect her wayward, adventuring wife. Before leaving the island the group asked the druid to seal the entrance to the Feywild, thus ensuring nobody else would stumble upon its dangers. Task completed, the group stepped through the gnome’s tree door and into the grounds of a massive, sprawling estate. Tabitha welcomed them to her home.

The group witnessed an emotional homecoming between Tabitha and Anjah. After being treated to luxurious baths the group joined the couple for a tense dinner. Following the meal Tabitha and Sir Bartleby took a stroll through the gardens and enjoyed the novelty hedgemaze. Chari, barefoot and unsupervised, ran amok through the halls of the manor looking for Jinn, who had seemingly disappeared. In reality, he had followed Lady Anjah to her private office. Inside, the rogue watched her contact another merchant prince, Claus, regarding the information the party had provided concerning General Irador’s actions in Jarrow.

Shortly thereafter JInn met with Lady Anjah to discuss her support of their quest to collect the gatekeys and stop the Ushers. While initially hesitant, whatever information Jinn divulged while under the influence of a truth serum caused the noblewoman to at least reconsider her stance.

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Session 18: Bargains & Bicuspids
"I think our dads are angry"

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Sir Bartleby, Chari, and Jinn left the palace with Calla to make camp in the surrounding forest. The two elves stood watch while Bart, plagued by nightmares, slept fitfully. During the evening a pair of curious choxani visited the campsite, eager to consume the colors of nearby plants and toadstools. Just as Chari appeared to be making friends the two creatures fled, apparently startled by Micah and Tabitha stumbling upon the group.

Tempers flared as the details of Calla’s pact with Micah came to light. All agreed, however, that the less time spent in the Feywild the better. As they pressed on through the forest the terrain grew darker and more foreboding. An unnerving sight met them as the group broke through the underbrush. Twisted shapes of tooth and bone littered the landscape among gnarled, grasping trees. Standing atop a small hill was a low structure of the same material. Tabitha attempted to parley with the denizens. However, the Builders, it seemed, were of the same faerie tribe Chari had encountered in Jarrow. Fulfilling their oath of vengeance, and aided by a monstrous construct, the faeries attacked.

With the Builders dispatched the group returned to the fey court where they were reunited with their companions. True to their word, the Lord and Lady of the Forest presented the party with Sakesu‘s key as well as a handsome cloak. On their way back to the entrance to the Material Plane the party spoke with ancient elf at length, hoping to gain some insight into their adversaries. However, crossing the cave’s threshold ended the magic sustaining their new friend, and he succumbed to the reality of his age.

Outside, bitter cold had been replaced by a balmy spring day. Tabitha’s ship, the Aeree Delight, was nowhere to be seen. The party had been gone for more than the few days experienced in the Feywild—and they had no idea how long.


Items Acquired

Potions Magic Items Other Coin
Potion of Resistance (thunder) Twinkle Toes Embroidered linen robe 80pp
Scroll of Revivify (7th lvl) Feather & star sapphire necklace 130gp
Lightguard Bronze & turquoise crown 11000sp
Onyx dragon figurine 500cp
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Session 17: Faeries & Frolic
"This is why we don't lick caves."

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The party—failing to learn from previous experience and once again leaving Micah to guard the ship—disembarked and made their way through the wooded hills towards a cave spotted from offshore. As they made their way through the underbrush they stumbled upon a basilisk. After quickly dispatching it, the group went in search of the nest and narrowly avoided a tangle of cave fishers in pursuit of the basilisk’s egg.

Making their way to the top of the rise, the group entered a much larger cavern filled with curious stalactites. Chari licking the sparkling cavern ceiling aside, things got progressively stranger until they adventurers found themselves quite unexpectedly on a beautiful hillside with a spectacular view of a gorgeous crystal castle and a brilliant sunset. Jinn, upon realizing they had crossed into the Feywild, advised caution.

As they navigated the woods surrounding the castle Chari found herself drawn to an irresistible melody coming from a nearby campsite. Bart and Jinn managed to temporarily suppress the enchantment, thus freeing Chari and the other ensorceled individuals. One of the victims, Sakesu, believed he had been dancing for only a few years. Over 800 years had passed outside the Feywild since his arrival. The party was surprised to discover that the elven gentleman had been a sometime companion of Charles Gilbratore and his adventuring party.

Together the group entered the gleaming castle aiming to retrieve the key Sakesu sought in the Feywild. However, the lord and lady of the forest were unwilling to assist until the group agreed to an exchange of favors. An uneasy bargain was struck. Leaving Marley and Sakesu in the sylvan halls, the group left the keep to meet their guide. An unlikely sight met them at the door. A fey calling herself Calla, whom they had met in the forest and had taken a particular shining to Chari, was to help them locate the Builders.


Items Acquired

Potions Magic Items Other Coin
Bag of Moonstones
Gold necklace w/emerald
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Session 16: Dinghies & Deception
"Less metaphor, more literally what's happening"

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The Hornet limped into port in Armadell and the party disembarked. Micah remained behind to guard the battered vessel while the rest of the group headed into town to refresh supplies and charter a boat to bring them to the island on Jinn’s map. While Bartleby negotiated terms to book the Corsair’s Pearl, Jinn and Chari were drawn to strange ship seemingly made of thin crystal. The owner introduced herself as Tabitha Burke. After some conversation, it was decided that Tabitha’s vessel (and company) was preferable to that of Captain Morris and the Pearl. Following a screening by her assimar companion, Aered, the party was welcomed aboard.

A few days into the journey the party awoke to a halted ship. A small dinghy had been spotted floating adrift nearby. On approach they realized there was a man inside, starving and wild-eyed. He begged them to take him away, claiming his ship harbored a great evil. Concerned that whatever had driven this man to abandon ship was still at large, Bartleby insisted the party investigate, leaving Micah to guard the the Aeree Delight and its crew.

Inside, the group was met with eerie stillness. Nothing seemed out of place. It was as if everyone had simply vanished. A diary revealed that someone—or something—had been picking off the crew one by one. Moving deeper into the hold Jinn and Bart came across an alarming sight. Hidden behind some crates was the man they had rescued from the dinghy. He begged them to help him, saying whatever had taken the crew was still out there.

Realizing the situation, they rushed to return to the Aeree Delight before it was too late. Onboard they found a nightmarish entity had dominated Micah’s mind. Forced to fight their companion, the party was horrified to discover their attacks upon the creature injured Micah as well. Using some creative thinking, and with Tabitha’s assistance, the group destroyed the beast for good.

The remainder of the journey passed relatively uneventfully and, after a few more days of travel, they arrived at the island ready to find whatever it was that they were looking for.

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Session 15: Skulls & Skyships
"He winked at me. Or maybe he blinked?"

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Jinn and Bartleby met briefly with Lady Messeneth to warn her of the danger upon her nation’s doorstep (softening the news with a festive fruit arrangement). She thanked the pair for their concern, but confided that her attentions were largely pulled elsewhere—referring to the growing tensions between Rialdon and Galiesia. As they departed Messeneth offered her assistance should the party find themselves in Tandarrah.

With their supplies packed and the crew thoroughly checked for cultist ties, The Hornet lifted off from Jarrow’s skyship port. A frantic-yet-heartfelt goodbye between Chari and Isabella followed, and then the party was truly on their way. Nearly a week into the voyage the ship hit an unusually slow patch of wind. After a few days of sitting nearly dead in the proverbial water, the group took advantage of the lull to warn their eccentric captain, Ceres Doyini, of their mission.

Negotiations were brought to an abrupt halt when the lookout’s body mysteriously plummeted from the crow’s nest. Chari quickly discovered the culprits—a pair of disembodied hands. No sooner did the group realize something strange was afoot than the ship was rocked by cannonade fire. A harrowing battle ensued. The party valiantly defended The Hornet from the undead crew of the Night Saber and its foul Captain Brekenridge, succeeding in both defeating its master and destroying the ghost ship.

With the battle behind them, Jinn set down to outlining a new contract for services with Captain Doyini (through her liaison, Peanut). The remainder of the voyage passed with relatively little incident. The ship limped into Armadell’s harbor and the party disembarked, ready to set off on the next leg of their journey.

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Session 14: Dates & Deals
"Did I reach enlightenment?"

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Feeling guilty about the tragic end to Chari’s very first date, Sir Bartleby took it upon himself to rectify the situation with a flowers and a well-written letter to Isabella. While awaiting a reply he and Jinn met to plan the next steps of their quest, after which the group dispersed to take care of their own affairs over the next few days.

Micah, devastated about Thunderstrike’s true nature, had a productive conversation with his familiar. He spent the much of the afternoon in unsuccessful attempted heroics in Jarrow’s library. Undeterred, he consulted the local notice board. Reponding to to a plea for assistance from a local farm, Micah ventured into the Wyrmwood Forest. There, with the timely assistance of Thunderstrike, he slew an enormous dire wolf that had been plaguing the local peasantry.

Chari met Isabella for a second-chance at their first date. The two enjoyed an afternoon luncheon in the city gardens of High Town. Bonding over a mutual love of adventure stories, Chari lamented that being a hero was much more difficult than in the tales. With a quick kiss on the cheek Isabella assured her that it was a lovely afternoon and that Chari was doing fine on all fronts.

Sir Bartleby passed the time searching the markets for items to prepare the group for the adventures ahead. He also took a moment to drop by Esper Sherman’s office in Alderth Hall to request her assistance securing swift passage for the coming journey.

Jinn, ever the optimist, prepared an evening to sweep Irador off his feet. While ultimately successful, the rogue learned that the general was as tight-lipped about his personal life as he was about state secrets. The elf did, however, learn a curious fact: Irador had no scars to speak of, despite his lengthy military career.

Later on in the week Bart provided the group with an opportunity to celebrate with their new friends. The Crossed Staves played host to a proper Lliiran sermon and everyone from the Kordites to members of the city guard were in attendance. Despite the raging hangovers, everyone deemed the evening a success.

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Session 13: Rings & Regrets
"I would never truck with cursed items"

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Chari awoke in the Temple of Sarenrae with Isabella watching over her. The two established a time to get lunch later that afternoon, giving the young monk an opportunity to clean up from battle with Malcolm. Cheered by the prospect of her first date, Chari dashed back to the Crossed Staves where she met up with Jinn and Sir Bartleby, who had been debating the merits of investments in Jarrow. Joined by Micah, the group set out to collect their allies and meet with General Irador.

At the meeting the group brought the general up to speed, informing him of the party’s adventures in Rialdon leading up to the battle in the Wyrmwood forest, of the Kordite’s bravery and Erix’s continued assistance, and of the wizard Aerolus and his potential use as an ally. Jinn brought forth the letters he found in Malcolm’s study, indicating that The Goldfinch was likely following a lead to Tilesía.

Following the meeting, Chari headed to the Flying Fish in the Eastern Cross to meet Isabella for lunch, while Micah and Bartleby headed to the Iron Hills district to see about getting better equipment for the journey ahead. Micah decided to have the ring he collected off Malcolm identified. To his (and Bart’s) consternation, the ring was enchanted with a permanent scry spell. Without missing a beat Micah sent Thunderstrike to warn Chari and Jinn of this new development.

Chari, mid-date and seeing an unknown object streaking towards her, leapt into action. One deft fork-throw later, and Thunderstrike had landed unceremoniously in the table’s chowder. Isabella graciously excused herself to clean up and Chari stormed back to the Crossed Staves. While Bart and Micah seemed genuinely apologetic, realizing they’d ruined her date, Chari was furious. After informing Micah that Thunderstrike was, in fact, entirely evil, she stormed up to her room to pout. Jinn advised the two gentlemen that they had some serious atoning to do, and then headed to High Town to inform Irador of this unfortunate new development.

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