Ninety-Nine Problems

Session 35: Gazpacho & Goodbyes
"I would really like to not sleep here again."

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Jinn pulled Chari out of the reflecting pool only to discover that their friend was mute and could not tell him what had happened. However, this soon became the least of their worries when Micah inadvertently created a double of himself. Realizing that the Chari they’d found was merely an impression of their companion, the Dragon Punchers headed deeper into the forest in search of their friend.

There they found a makeshift hut of sticks and leaves. Unable to find her way out, Chari—the real Chari—had been living alone in the Feywild for two months. She explained to Jinn that, while lost in the woods, she met a fairy seer. In exchange for her dreams the seer revealed that the girl was the forgotten weapon of a god. If she could unlock her gift, she would have the power to extricate Micah’s soul from Cordycep’s grasp.

Bart took this opportunity to fall upon the party doubles. The young monk’s counterpart escaped into the underbrush, but Micah’s was captured and returned to the reflecting pool. Along the way, one of Chari’s new forest friends, a gerbie, offered to aid the party in escaping back to their plane.

Once returned, Jinn and Chari forgot the entire ordeal. However, some quick thinking by Bart and Jinn left them with accurate records of their trip—and an overwhelming desire for a break. The group enjoyed a hard-earned quiet evening. In the morning the Dragon Punchers kept their appointment with Professor Danwrick. The elderly halfling revealed that Cordyceps had several key components of note: star metal, permanently enchanted ice, and ground white dragon scales. Destroying the sword would be no easy task.

Recognizing the need for immediate action, the group prepared to rescue Esper Sherman from her imprisonment. After a few heartfelt goodbyes the party was teleported from Iriswood University to the town of Kinallen Glen, where they were to begin the next stage of their adventure.

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Session 34: Parley & Portals
"I decline to accept the end of us all!"

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Recovering from Jinn’s extravaganza, Sir Bartleby and Micah continued to prepare for a potential dragon fight. The Knight of Cups first spoke to the master-at-arms, hoping to acquire a means of grounding the beast. Meanwhile, Micah grilled the university’s draconologist, a goliath woman named Dafna. Preferring to research dragons rather than slay them, she nontheless provided a few nuggets of advice to the young Dragon Puncher.

Jinn, disguised as an intern, secured a meeting with the dean for the soon-to-be-visiting academic Jacques Paris. The visiting professor convinced Dean Sunan to call a meeting of Iriswood University’s staff, faculty, and Board of Regents. During the assembly the elf called upon the aid of the school in facing the growing threat of the Ushers of Seudihr. While Sir Bartleby was giving testimony Jinn noticed Kristoff and Devlin quietly excuse themselves. He pursued the pair into the atrium of the hall where the zephyrs revealed that something had destroyed a large piece of forest alarmingly close to the university.

Leaving the university staff to debate their next course of action, the group rushed out of the audience chamber. A brief investigation of the site led the party to believe it was not a creature, but Chari, behind the wreckage. Upon closer inspection it seemed the young girl had passed through a fairy ring into the Feywild, thus explaining her conspicuous absence since Jinn’s fĂȘte.

Thoroughly displeased, but unwilling to leave Chari alone on another plane, the group followed her. Navigating their way through the familiar-yet-foreign terrain they eventually discovered their companion sitting at the bottom of a pool.

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Session 33: Research & Revelry
"I'm the professor of sex and lockpicking."

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Esper Sherman‘s response to the party’s message was both heartening and alarming. While the head of guard dispatch was still alive, she was being held captive in a keep somewhere in northern Rialdon. Moreover, she claimed that the military leadership had been compromised. The party knew they had little time to lose.

Micah, taking advantage of the downtime, decided to reach out and attempt a conversation with his sword. Cordyceps assured the young warrior that he was chosen for a reason. The weapon explained that, while the rest of the Dragon Punchers may not approve or understand Micah’s call to greatness, it would always support him.

Recognizing the need for powerful allies, Jinn set about laying the groundwork for a visit from Jacques Paris, a fantastic adventuring academic designed to persuade the faculty and board of the necessity of their help.

The celebration Jinn orchestrated was a smashing success. Bart’s Lliiran sermon was well received by staff, faculty, and students alike. Chari, however, was in no mood to celebrate. The young elf excused herself from the party early on in the evening, leaving the rest of her companions to their revelry (and heartfelt confessions) well into the early hours of the morning.

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Session 32: Bookwyrms & Bombshells
"Your thing was way more important"

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With Odallie’s assistance, Chari rounded up a few studious individuals still on campus to aid in researching a means of destroying Cordyceps. However, the guides to the Iriswood University library seemed to be malfunctioning. Chari and Odallie found themselves led, over and over, into seemingly random sections of the stacks. After some time, Chari noticed a strange entity was following them. While it did not appear to be hostile, it was certainly unsettling. She decided to get some advice from Jinn on how to handle the situation.

Meanwhile, Sir Bartleby met with several professors to learn more about the Ushers of Seudihr and the Unbreakable Blades. While in the history department he met with Riella. The aasimar academic theorized that information regarding the Blades had been subjected to a magical block, thus explaining why so little was known about a group that had ostensibly prevented an apocalypse. Perhaps the most unnerving information was provided by the brilliant, but timid, Professor Langdon. Her research on the Ushers led her to believe four such entities existed, which took the form of dragons on the material Plane. Armed with this information he decided to consult Jinn on what they should do next.

Jinn, deciding that a bit of rest and relaxation was in order, was planting the seeds for a huge celebration on campus when Chari and Bart barreled into him. Both excitedly explained their discoveries to their companion. The trio agreed that, while world-ending dragons certainly required attention, perhaps the more immediate issue was the entity in the library. The group made their way into the stacks where Chari goaded the creature into revealing its true nature. It seemed Iriswood had a bookwyrm infestation.

The next day the group reconvened to get messages to Isabella and Esper Sherman. Plus, someone needed to drag Micah out of his room and inform him of all that they’d learned.

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Session 31: Spores & Salvation
"I would be honored to stand vigil over your fruiting body"

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JInn’s disease was progressing at an alarming rate. The others knew if they didn’t reach Iriswood soon the infection would take over his body. Chari sped off through the Wailing Valley towards the university. Picking their way down the trail Micah and Jinn argued about Cordyceps, unaware they were being watched by two hungry hill giants.

Just as it seemed the pair would be overwhelmed, they were rescued by a timely intervention from Sir Bartleby and his new friend Kristoff Estevan, a Zephyr of Iriswood. The Knight of Cups had remained behind to smooth things over in Kellabine before hiring a guide through the mountain and had, consequently, arrived ahead of his companions. The rest of the journey proceeded without incident, save Jinn’s insistence that Bart never leave him alone with Chari and Micah again.

Upon arrival the party got down to business. They asked one of the acolytes of the College of Divination to scry upon Esper Sherman to ensure her safety. However, they were startled to learn that the Head of Guard Dispatch had been imprisoned in an unknown location. Their only clue lay in a vague direction and a coat of arms. Chari, determined to find a method of communicating with Isabella Driftlace back in Jarrow, went to explore other areas of the school. In the process she met a rather excitable tabaxi named Odallie in the College of Evocation. The two bonded over a love of dangerously explosive magic.

With some of the greatest masters of magic in Galiesia at hand the Dragon Punchers decided to take a closer look at Micah’s sword. After preparing a number of protective sigils Professor Danwrick took a look at the legendary weapon. He revealed that the blade was suffused with a malign intelligence, not inhabited by a demon as Sir Bartleby expected. What’s more, if they were able to locate key components to its creation, there was a way to destroy the object. The time had come for a serious talk about what to do with Cordyceps.

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Session 30: Water & Worship
"I guess I'm all grown up now"

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Standing in the temple chamber Jinn recalled something about a dead religion? Or was it a dead god? It was clear they were in an elemental place of worship. As the group explored further they encountered a complicated network of culverts connecting different areas of the building. The ceiling of the main room swirled in a network of storm clouds that burst overhead as the group puzzled over one of the locked doors. With lightning and acid raining down upon them, they dove into one of the culverts only to reemerge in a chamber with a gibbering mouther. When the creature (and the dark unicorn Chari inadvertently summoned) was defeated the party opted to take a brief respite while Thunderstrike, in the form of an octopus, scouted ahead.

Making their way through the passages the group came into an enormous cavern. Small waterfalls spilled over platforms down into a large pool below. On an island at the center of the pool lay a tablet on a plinth. Curious about the artifact, the party descended to investigate. It was Chari who noticed they were not alone—a huge elemental watched them from the water’s depths. Opting to avoid a potential confrontation, they left the tablet undisturbed and clambered back to the upper levels.

On their way out they came across the long-dead body of an adventurer. As he rifled through the remains Jinn discovered a coded message on a thin piece of metal. However, he was only able to partially decipher it. Having had their fill of exploration, the party returned to Jasper and Cobble to inform them that their antagonistic neighbor would no longer be a problem. Besides, Jinn was beginning to feel under the weather.

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Session 29: Toads & Tunnels
"We should try to minimize the crime"

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The party set out for Iriswood University hoping that Sir Bartleby would catch up to them. Jinn and Chari foraged for provisions with varying levels of success and accompanying illness. Micah followed a game trail deeper into the woods where he met an unexpected individual—a cyclops tending a flock of barbed rams. The shepherd agreed to trade one of his “sheepie sheeps” for “shinies” from “the mean lady under the mountain”. Unclear quite what that meant, but very hungry, Micah agreed.

The group reconvened and set about finding the entrance to the Mean Lady’s home. Along the way they observed a roc hunting more barbed rams farther up the mountain. Quickly realizing they, too, were in danger of becoming a tasty morsel themselves, the party dodged into a nearby cave. Chari, inadvertently getting her tongue stuck to a glacier toad, once again discovered a valuable lesson about licking her environment.

Moving deeper into the subterranean chamber, they came across a strange creature named Cobble. Cobble, and its friend Jasper, were a few of the disgruntled denizens of the underground network of caves and tunnels. By their descriptions, the Mean Lady, it seemed, was both a naga and not a particularly good neighbor. The pair offered the group a safe place to rest for the night, but had little to offer in terms of food outside of a few suspect mushrooms.

In the morning the group faced down the naga in her lair. After the battle, as they were searching through her hoard, Chari discovered a hidden passage to an underground ruin. Following the halls the party found themselves in an enormous antechamber with strange, celestial carvings and a mysterious fluid fountain. While the rest of the group was unaware of what they had stumbled upon, Jinn had a fairly good idea…

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Session 28: Crime & Catastrophe
"How much food do you have in your pants?"

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The group split to explore Kellabine and take care of personal business. Chari and Jinn sought out means of long-distance communication. Shopping concluded, Jinn made his way to the fair in Tremack circle. There he met a dwarven fortune-teller who gave him an unexpected, and eerily accurate, reading.

Meanwhile, Sir Bartleby brought the captive Ice Demons to local law enforcement. However, after receiving a bounty for turning over Ashlyn and the sorcerer, the paladin elected not to mention the involvement of his two new acolytes, Quoyora and Tulai, in the outlaw gang. Entrusting the pair with his adventuring journal and their friend’s bounty money, Bart sent them to Calicia to be formally inducted into the Order of the Chalice.

Micah decided to have Cordyceps inspected. If the weapon was actually cursed, perhaps Kellabine was the place to have it removed. Unfotunately, the sword seemed to have other plans. The scene Micah returned to was truly horrific. The shopkeeper, crushed from the inside, lay in a puddle of black ichor in the shape of a strange sigil.

The ensuing comedy of errors culminated in Micah’s interrogation by the head of the guard in the middle of the night, Jinn slaying Thunderstrike, Professor Iri leaving the company of the Dragon Punchers, and Bart becoming lost in the surrounding lands while searching for Chari. All things considered, the trip could have gone better.

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Session 27: Swords & Standards
"You do have lovely teeth"

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The group reunited with Jinn in Pontill and introduced him to their new companion, Professor Iri. While the rest of the party dealt with the bulette problem, Jinn had been tending to the town’s psychological well-being. However, the adventurers were eager to be on their way and decided to leave with the next caravan to Kellabine. The villagers were particularly pleased with this arrangement, as attacks from the Ice Demons had increased.

The morning they were set to leave, Jinn and Micah engaged in a light sparring match. What was ostensibly a friendly lesson in the importance of armor turned to a harrowing battle as Micah began attacking his friend. Fortunately, Bart was on-hand to intervene. While Micah was knocked out the paladin attempted to communicate with Cordyceps. Instead, he received a brief—but troubling—insight into the sword’s motivation. When he awoke, the group confronted Micah about what happened and agreed that action must be taken to address the evil in their midst. In the meantime, however, they agreed he was probably the best candidate to watch over it.

About this time Chari revealed that she had taken the liberty of naming their adventuring group and providing them with banners. They were now known, quite officially, as the Dragon Punchers.

On the journey to Kellabine the caravan met with a small band of Ice Demons. A particularly strange and brief skirmish ensued. Though the leader of the band was slain in the encounter, several members raiding party were taken prisoner. Over the next few days Bart succeeded in convincing a pair of them to aid the Dragon Punchers in their cause, provided the rebels were shown mercy upon arrival in the city.

The rest of the journey proved relatively uneventful. The group arrived in Kellabine, secured lodging, and began to prepare for the next leg of their quest to Iriswood University.

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Session 26: Mounds & Molds
"Now my blood itches"

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In the morning Micah decided to follow up on a farmer’s request for help while Jinn slept in. Recently small mounds of dirt had appeared in the halfling’s fields, destroying his crops and creating a general nuisance. None of the usual remedies against vermin seemed to have an effect. Between Chari’s keen senses and Thunderstrike’s underground tracking, the group trailed the source back into the woods surrounding Pontill.

At the edge of the forest they stumbled upon a strange individual. A tabaxi professor, on a somewhat circuitous route to Iriswood University, had lost her way.Since she had been searching for strange phenomena in the forest, and seemed to have at least a passing familiarity with the area, the group invited Professor Iri to join them. Soon the party found themselves back at the same ruins Chari and Jinn had stumbled upon not a few days previous.

Following Chari’s lead, everyone dropped through a hole into what appeared to be an ancient kitchen. Although the ruins on the surface had suffered the ravages of time, the underground portions of the estate were slightly more intact. However, much of the building was overgrown with fungus, rot, and various creatures that now made their home in the former Sibilans estate.

After thoroughly exploring the remains of the building the party ventured into a network of tunnels bored through one of the side walls. As they investigated the caverns, a fierce bulette ambushed them . The creature had presumably extended its hunting grounds to the farmlands outside Pontill. After a pitched battle the heroes emerged victorious. Returning with a trophy from their kill, they assured Farmer MacGuffin that his crops were no longer in danger.

On the way back into town Bart received another message from Aered. Whomever Jinn had been in contact with in Glassfog, she was less than pleased and on her way to the city.

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