Ninety-Nine Problems

Session 58: Shades & Sandstorms
"I have special powers. I know exactly what they do."

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After a touching and tearful farewell to his family, Bart and his companions set out from Calicia to find the fabled chalice.

The trek through the desert provided an opportunity for the rest of the Dragon Punchers to get to know Vidya and Vayu. The twins were thrilled at the prospect of recovering a lost artifact. They proved less adept when the party inadvertently crashed into an ankheg nest while sheltering from a sandstorm.

Deeper into the Glittering Wastes the group found the remains of a long-abandoned outpost left over from the days of the Djinn Backlash. In the middle of the night, while on watch, Sir Bartleby discovered it was inhabited by the shades of Khardish soldiers reliving their final moments. The paladin did his best to release their souls and put them to rest.

When they arrived at the location the group was left baffled. It seemed, for all intents and purposes, to be an unremarkable patch of desert. Yet, Wilf was certain he detected some sort of portal below the surface. After interrogating a local patch of desert cherry, the ranger determined that three individuals had visited the site over a decade ago. The plant’s description was somewhat hazy, but he was able to gain that the group was comprised of a smaller creature and two larger entities, one with “red leaves and petals” and one “the color of the sands”.

Through a combination of brute strength, magic, and ingenuity Sir Bartleby and Chari uncovered an entrance into whatever lay below.

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Session 57: Samples & Siblings
"There was some talking and some 'hero stuff'"

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The Dragon Punchers met Sir Bartleby in his office in the headquarters of the Order of the Chalice. The paladin was eager to escape his official duties and offered to give his companions a tour of the city. Along the way, Bart took the party to meet his parents, who offered the group beds and a home-cooked meal. The crew was happy to oblige.

The rest of Bart’s tour covered a day of wine-tasting, including a stop at the Thunderbird’s Respite, the winery where he began his hero’s journey. During one of their stops the paladin pulled Jinn aside to warn him of the cultists’ dossiers on the royal family—including Mani. Both agreed the princess should be alerted, but that it was not prudent to do so at the moment. The Dragon Punchers also had the opportunity to meet Sir Bartleby’s younger sister, Charlotte, her partners Violet and An’iel, and her son, Ni’coh.

While still in Calicia Chari asked Bart to help with her recent nightmares. The paladin agreed and took the monk to speak with the oracles within Citadel Oinone. Speaking in mysterious riddles and prophecy, the seers answered Chari’s questions, though she did not particularly understand them.

The moment comes that the fire burns blue
In the Plain of Prisms when the moon is crowned
Light will come to lifeless eyes
A golden-haired man will usher an end to an era of fortune
and two enemies shall bring rise
to that which was forgotten

The pair had little time to dwell on the matter. Shortly after returning to his parents’ home the peace was broken by the arrival of two more of Jinn’s siblings: the twins Vaya and Vidyu Mara’hid

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Session 56: Caravans & Cacti
"Tentin' hard, or hardly tentin'?"

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Bart and Mani set out into the desert to perform the ritual to summon Marley back to the Prime Material. During that time the paladin and the princess embarked on a spiritual journey together. Bartleby underwent the trials of Arborea. Afterwards, he and Mani journeyed through parts of Elysium in the hopes that the favored soul might find some peace with her patron.

The rest of the Dragon Punchers relied on Tulai to guide them through the desert. Chari awoke one morning to find her basilisk egg had hatched, though the creature was nowhere in sight. Jinn followed its tiny tracks and rescued Blinky from a den of ankhegs. No sooner had Jinn returned than the party was accosted by a group of hostile cactus-like creatures. Wilf attempted to reason with them, but their approach inadvertently set off a previous casting of cordon of arrows, causing the creatures to attack.

Stranger than the cactor was the encounter with the The Wandering Caravan. The afternoon spent with the troupe was filled with enthralling stories and a hearty meal before the artifact of the desert disappeared once more. Before they departed, the Dragon Punchers were permitted to browse the caravan’s wares and barter their way into new equipment.

Upon arrival in Calicia the group made their way to Citadel Oinone to find Sir Bartleby and Mani.

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Session 55: Breach & Behemoth
"If you lick the crystals you'll get paladin spells"

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The Dragon Punchers elected to take care of some business in Mas’Uld while waiting for Tulai to arrive from his new outpost position. Wilf, intending to smuggle fairy-contracted individuals back into the Material Plane, spent his time searching for prospective comrades for his underground efforts . Bart and Jinn took Chari to an Avandran shrine outside the city. The two acolytes in attendance were excited to see someone touched by their goddess. While they did not restore the elf to her full height, they were able to remove her feathery beard.

The group prepared to leave as soon as possible, leaving Quoyora to attend to Order business with Sir Jarek. Mani would accompany them on this excursion, determined to keep her brother, Sir Bartleby, and the rest of the Dragon Punchers from harm. Their trek through the desert took longer than anticipated in order to avoid a troupe of hunting tlincalli, but eventually they approached the cave Bart’s acolytes had encountered.

Whatever had been festering in the stronghold, its evil had spread and begun to foul the waters in its vicinity. The group encountered horrors within the chambers, from rotgrubs to hallucinatory gas. The main summoning hall had been transformed and a Deep Seeker lurked inside. Tulai banished the abomination with his warhammer, allowing Wilf to heroically seal the rift once and for all.

With the threat eliminated the Dragon Punchers and their friends set their course for Calicia—headquarters of the Order of the Chalice and home to Sir Bartleby’s family.

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Session 54: Parents & Politics
"For the love of god, don't make any deals"

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While Mani and Sir Bartleby got reacquainted the rest of the party decided to go sight-seeing in Mas’Uld. Jinn took the opportunity to look up some of his former Old Guard contacts. Chari, oblivious to the exchange in front of her, commissioned a goat mask from the mildly baffled Thieves’ Guild liaison masquerading as a stall vendor in the marketplace.

Upon return to the palace Chari and Wilf decided to meet with Jinn’s brother, Wasim. Wilf’s concern about the volume of permanent portals in Khard‘s capitol led him to question Wasim about the city’s extradition policy. Meanwhile Jinn conducted a strategic meeting with several of his other siblings, bringing them up to speed regarding the Ushers’ plans and how the royal family might assist the Dragon Punchers’ efforts.

Quoyora, who had been present for Bart’s resurrection ritual, took the opportunity to reconnect with the Knight of Cups. The new acolyte spoke of her adventures with Tulai during their journey to Calicia, and of the dangerous creature inhabiting a former cultist base in the deserts outside the city. Following this disturbing news, Bart had an excruciating conversation with Queen Aditi regarding his fledgling romance with the princess and its potential political ramifications.

The Dragon Punchers were able to properly reconnect at their breakfast meeting the next morning. Bart filled them in on all that he’d experienced during his brief stay in Arborea, including meeting Chari’s mother and learning more about the family’s ties to Avandra. With the Cup of Faith now closer than it had ever been, the group debated whether to pursue the relic or immediately return to Iriswood University to free Micah from Cordyceps’s clutches.

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Session 53: Rumbles & Resurrection
"I'm always safe"

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In the morning the group teleported to Mas’Uld via Jarrow. Jinn planned to avail his mother, Queen Aditi Mara’hid, for her assistance in resurrecting Sir Bartleby. It would be a costly endeavor, in more ways than one, but the Dragon Punchers needed their companion.

Upon arrival in the Khardish capitol Jinn reconnected with his siblings in the palace. He sent Chari and Wilf into the city to stay relatively out of trouble while he met with his mother. He would also need to inform Knight Commander Jarek of the Order of the Chalice what had transpired.

Chari discovered a penchant for the fighting pits of the Sanguine Arena. Not wanting to be unnecessarily indebted to the throne, Jinn used her skills to earn enough money to cover Sir Bartleby’s resurrection. Upon returning to the palace the prince gained audience with the king and queen and formally requested their assistance in bringing their friend back.

Meanwhile, Bart, felled by the beholder, passed through the Shadowfell into the domain of the Raven Queen. The goddess judged the paladin worthy and allowed him entrance into Arborea. Lliira greeted her champion into her home. Once there, the Knight of Cups was able to connect with his patron and previous members of his order.

Though he expressed concern at his judgement and performance on the material plane, those around him assured Bart that he had done admirably with the time he’d been given. Sir Adamar Erendriel told the paladin a bit more about the entity known as Aethelynd. Bart also had the opportunity to meet members of Chari’s family and learn the strange truth behind her supernaturally bad luck.

Jinn pledged a debt to the crown of Khard and the deal was sealed. With the the relevant parties assembled, Queen Aditi performed the ritual. With a gasp, Sir Bartleby rematerialized in front of the assorted crowd, to the relief and delight of his party members. After the Dragon Punchers welcomed him back, Mani took the paladin away to find some clothing.

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Session 52: Death & Disintegration
"Yeah. We did it bad."

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Professor Poplarlachs waited in camp while the Dragon Punchers, Odallie, and Wilf made their way back through the depths to the library entrance. Jinn scouted ahead, where he encountered—and quickly dispatched—a pair of gazers. Following behind, the rest of the group encountered several more of the creatures. They were able to avoid the adorable ambush, but not before gaining the attention and ire of the resident beholder.

Odallie was overcome with fear and fled, leaving the rest of the Dragon Punchers to face down the aberration. For a time it seemed the party had the upper hand, successfully dodging spells and resisting their effects. The enraged creature turned its ire against Sir Bartleby, pinning him to bookshelves before firing off a series of attacks. When the dust settled, the Knight of Cups was no more.

Once the creature was defeated, Chari investigated a mysterious passage below the library. Strange creatures met her eyes. Their small, pale bodies seemed to struggle to stay together, fading away entirely in places. With the beholder vanquished, they made their way back into the main chamber. The library, it seems, had been theirs.

With their mission complete, the group returned to Iriswood University. While they now had all they require to perform the ritual to return Micah, it had come at a terrible price. Decisions would have to be made in the morning.

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Session 51: Publish & Perish
"What's wrong with her can't be cured by magic"

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Moving through the caverns the Dragon Punchers encountered a pair of cloakers at the main entrance to the complex. With Odallie’s help the group dispatched the creatures and they were able to move forward into the next chamber. There they discovered the remains of one of Professor Poplarlachs’s interns and a journal implying a distressing presence somewhere within.

With this new knowledge, the party decided a bit of reconnaissance was in order before they moved any further. Jinn used his oil of etherealness to scout into the deep caverns, spying upon many of the flora and fauna that had come to take up residence in the abandoned dwarven keep. Upon his return the group moved away from the underground lake and further into the tunnels, using Odallie’s powers to clear out the dangerous fungi in the halls.

Following the sound of whimpers, the Dragon Punchers discovered the missing professor in a room inhabited by a group of fear-eaters. While they managed to rescue Poplarlachs from the creatures, the uneasy sensation of being watched hadn’t dissipated, and small trinkets were still appearing around them. Jinn stalked forward to make sure the way through was clear. He came across a group of creatures with transparent skin fishing in the subterranean river. After some conversation, he learned that the remaining intern was in the stacks among the “Finders” and the “Seer”. Further questioning revealed that the “Seer” had many eyes, leading Jinn to believe that the Dragon Punchers and the professor had inadvertently stumbled upon the lair of a beholder.

The group decided that, if they were to rescue the intern and reclaim the book they needed, they would have to do so at full strength and with a solid plan. They returned to the surface to camp for the night before and to prepare a battle strategy.

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Session 50: Mountains & Manticores
"When life hands you lemons, make limoncello"

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After an extended afternoon of drinking, harassing students, and deep conversation with Sir Bartleby, Jinn woke up to an excruciating hangover in the University guest house. The rest of the party had gone to take care of their own business, whether that was commissioning cold iron weapons, recruiting adventuring companions, or collecting spell and warding components.

Before leaving to find the missing Professor Poplarlachs, Bart decided to look into the goddess Avandra, given Chari’s new set of freckles. The paladin enlisted the help of Professor Ryleigh, a specialist in legend lore, who set about taking blood samples and questioning the young monk at length. They would perhaps get some answers regarding Chari’s destiny, but it would take time.

Jinn, still puzzling out the code on the map he found in the temple to the water elementals, went to meet with Kristoff. The Zephyr revealed Zerin Landri‘s reticence to aid the Dragon Punchers was likely linked to the loss of his wife while adventuring years ago. Kristoff agreed to keep an eye out for the location on Jinn’s map, as it was some ways outside of Kellabine and potentially within his patrol perimeter.

Osdra agreed to take the group as far as Lanternmend, but declined to continue adventuring when informed Odallie would be accompanying the party. After informing the young tabaxi that Professor Paris would not be joining them, the Dragon Punchers made their way northwest towards the Gwybben Mountains. Through Wilf’s superior tracking and wilderness skills the group narrowly avoided encountering a pair of nesting manticores.

Moving deeper into the mountains the Dragon Punchers discovered the entrance to what appeared to be an old dwarven citadel.

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Session 49: Interrogation & Interment
"Imagine if we *actually* figured things out!"

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In the morning the Dragon Punchers finished exploring the ice caves of General Irador‘s stronghold before returning to Iriswood University. There Bart helped Osdra with her share of the spoils while Chari reconnected with Odallie. Wilf seized the opportunity to speak with the professional academics. He was dismayed to learn that several of the texts key to Micah’s ritual were missing, presumably taken by the absent Professor Poplarlocks on her sabbatical.

Jinn kept watch over the Goldfinch until the party was ready to interrogate. Over the course of questioning they learned of her complex relationship with the world-ending cult. Dena, as she was called, served an individual named Velia, based out of Corveth. The agent further revealed that Velia was, in fact, a green dragon and one of the Ushers. Armed with this knowledge, the Dragon Punchers debated what to do with their captive.

Ultimately, the group agreed that it was too dangerous to allow the Goldfinch to live. After much protest from Chari, Jinn executed Dena and stalked off. The young monk took the agent’s corpse into the woods and gave her a proper burial, hoping the woman might find a peace in the afterlife she had not found in this one.



Items Acquired

Potions Magic Items Other Coin
Dread Helm Alchemical silver ingots (x15)
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