Rogue Empire

Chapter 16: The Tulip of Ehlonna
Fraternizing, shopping, and a garden party.

The party bluffs their way back into the city, implicating that they were robbed by refugees.

Badger Cobblesprocket-De’Voir goes shopping with his wife Melanie De’Voir for household supplies and furniture. 400 gold is spent in promissory notes. Badger only has 20 gold left to his name.

The party goes to a tavern known as the Palmer’s Poison in order to find rumours about their wagon heist. They buy lunch for a group of 4 city watch and persuade them for information to learn that the group they ambushed were actually soldiers disguised as city watch. The crates that were stolen are rumoured to belong to the Black College, who will be sending an inquisitor to Ferros to investigate the attack.

Badger spends the evening decorating his home with his wife.

Clark Wainwright and Quinn go to the warehouse owned by the Falconers and speak with Mishka Kadjet where they commiserate over the Cooper situation. The Thorns inform her about the Black College and Clark makes a successful pass at Mishka, who seems at least somewhat receptive to the advance.

Quinn, Gregory (Banner) Smith, and Clark go to a tailoring shop to have Greg fitted for fine clothes, and they learn of potential opportunities to rob the nobility. They learn that Lord Rolf will be hosting a garden party in a few days time.

Quinn is told by Clark that he can learn Lord Rolf’s address from Lady Aurelie Selse if he appropriately impresses her. Quinn pays a visit to Lady Selse who is disappointed Quinn isn’t an assassin like some bards she has heard of. She uses him for his body for a few hours and then sends him on his own way with some gold as a reward for his “performance” along with Lord Rolf’s address.

Quinn gains admittance to Lord Rolf’s manor the next day and impresses Lord Rolf. He invites Quinn to the garden party as a guest. Quinn attends with Greg and meets many of the Nouveau Riche.

Lord Rolf shows his prized plant in the garden, the extremely rare Tulip of Ehlonna which blooms for mere moments before dying. Quinn overhears Lord Rolf make a wish as it blooms.

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Chapter 17: Trouble seeking
Treasure and visions.

Quinn is invited to an afterparty. He sends Gregory (Banner) Smith home.

Greg and Badger Cobblesprocket-De’Voir go to the Alchemist’s Guild and Badger bries the receptionist to get access to some txts and make an appointment with the new guild master to attempt to get his membership reinstated. Badger takes several hours to copy the texts while Greg wait patiently.

Clark Wainwright spends some time drinking. Milfay Undercobble informs Clark that Santos will likely be the best candidate to infiltrate the city watch.

Clark and Greg go to the Temple of Wee Jas, the Raven Queen. They question the priests about the mysterious burning deaths that have been plaguing the city. They learn that a man was carried to the temple covered in burn wounds who stated he had been attacked by a demon made of fire before passing away.

They investigate the Temple of Pelor as well where a senior acolyte says that she has heard rumours of burning attacks, but states it could just be gang related violence or people moving the bodies from The Great Fire of Ferros to spread fear.

They gather the rest of the party and go into the burned area of Tanner’s Alley to investigate. Deep in the district, overtop of a burnt-out leatherwork. The floor of the building gives way was the party walks over it and Greg and Badger fall into a basement. A Galley-Dur attacks them while Greg is pinned under rubble. A melee ensues and the party manages to defeat the creature.

The basement was once the headquarters of a gang called the Leatherboys and is well stocked in weapons and leather armour. A stash of treasure is found, mostly valuable artwork. The members of the gang died of smoke inhalation while they slept.

Greg guards the stash. Badger and Clark go to The Rat’s Nest where they gather Milfay and the recruits to move the weapons, armour, and treasure back to the Rat’s Nest.

As they group reenters Tanner’s Alley, Milfay tells everyone to hide, and the Thorns do so ably, a testament to their training. A massive Fire Elemental passes by, not noticing the humanoids.

The loot is moved back to the Inn. The next day, the Thorns go to Frank Codger to fence their art and purchase a scroll of identify for Badger. He copies it into his spellbook and later identifies some magical items in the loot including a wand of the war mage +1, a shield +1, a sentinel shield, and a pair of gloves of thievery. Clark offers Badger a “consulting fee” so that Badger can settle his household debts. Badger pays off his debt and the goes home to his wife to explain where he was the night before.

Greg received a letter from his sister Elissa Banner. The letter says that Elissa is coming to Ferros and would like to meet with Greg when she arrives.

Vance Greyholm completes a set of goggles of dark vision.e then starts work on a bag of holding. Greg does blacksmithing.

Badger is met with disappointment from his wife who explains she worries about Badger when he doesn’t come home. He counters that he had a breakthrough and couldn’t come home. His wife is surprisingly understanding but requests that Badger send a letter if he will not be returning. Badger has a vision while shaving of a wagon loaded with barrels of gunpowder coming into the city tomorrow.

Badger and Clark go to a temple to learn about the nature of divine visions.

Delaine Walker comes to the Inn looking for Lord Briarthorn’s man Greg. he tells Greg that bodies have been disappearing from the gathering area outside of the city, though none of them were burn victims.

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Chapter 18: The Gunpowder Plot
Missing corpses, and a massacre.

The group conspires on how to deal with the gunpowder “prophecy”. The decide to utilize the Cooper’s Gang and venture to the warehouse where they met Grandmother Cooper. Though she is not available, they meet her son, John Cooper. The party informs the man about the incoming shipment. He takes a laissez faire auttude about the affair and agrees to pay 20% of the take as a finder’s fee for the Thorns.

The party theorizes on the existence of a portal to the elemental plane of fire. They ask Vance Greyholm for his expertise. Despite his dislike of the Arcanist’s Guild, he begrudgingly admits that if such a portal exists, they would be the people to go to in order to deal with it. The party decides to go to Tanner’s Alley to try and find out of their theory is correct. They move through the smokey ash and begin their search at the Tipped Goblet, where The Great Fire of Ferros started. The Thorns find their theory was indeed correct when they accidentally step through the portal.

They arrive in a vast, bleached desert under a blinding sun. Two massive dragons do battle above them. Gouts of flame flare up wherever the blood of the titanic serpents touch the sands. The party beats a hasty retreat.

Deciding that Vance was correct, the party goes to the Arcanist’s guild and wins an audience with Reginald Briarcrest, a specialist in the elemental planes. They convince him of the presence of a portal to the elemental plane of fire. He vows to have the guild take action immediately and offers a reward in gold for the information.

The party decides to watch what happens from a discreet distance. They see Reginald and a part of 40 wizards, sorcerers, and arcane knights make their way to the portal. They are accompanied by the Black College Inquisitor and the stop and bind a number of fire elementals who approach them along the way. When the procession arrives at the portal, a fortress seems to appear out of nowhere around the site as the Arcanists form a perimeter around the area.

The party is ambushed by a fire elemental one the way home, but manages to overcome the creature. Quinn nearly succumbs to his wounds, but is saved by Badger’s skill in medicine, and Clarke’s speed and putting out fires. A large ruby is found in the ash remains of the elemental.

The Thorns return to The Rat’s Nest. Badger Cobblesprocket-De’Voir decides to stay at the Inn for the night and pays for a runner to inform his wife.

Payment of 1000 gold arrives at Badger’s house the next day along with a note suggesting Lord Rolf as a sponsor. Quinn introduces Badger to Lord Rolf. Lord Rolf’s contacts in the Alchemist’s Guild have informed him about Badger’s escapades. Badger convinces him that he would be a good person to sponsor anyway. Lord Rolf accepts a 600 gold bride and agrees to sponsor Badger into the Arcanist’s Guild.

The party investigates the missing corpses and sets up a watch at night outside of town where Delaine Walker has been placing the bodies to be identified before they are cremated. Corpses go missing, but Quinn doesn’t notice it when it occurs. That night, a low rumbling is heard in the distance from the direction of the city. When the party returns to the city, they find Ferros under lockdown. One of the watch towers being constructed in the Labyrinth was destroyed. Clarke shares his good with needy children and Quinn entertains the growing crowd outside of the city to help the weary travellers to pass the time. Watchmen are swarming the labyrinth. The party overhears rumours that Rapture’s Roughnecks are responsible, striking back against the watch for the losses in Shantytown, but leaving evidence of who was responsible behind.

The next night, the party tries again to catch the corpse thieves, and tries to set up traps. Unfortunately, this ploy fails and two more bodies go missing the night without the party noticing. In the morning, they find tracks leading toward the refugee tent city. A third night results in another two corpses missing, without the party catching the culprits. A massacre has occurred in the city in Shantytown. A group of vigilante city watch gathered together to kill a number of people suspected of being part of or allied with Rapture’s Roughnecks. Wounded citizens have sought sanctuary in the city’s temples. The guards involved were relieved of duty, then promptly recruited by the Coopers.

Clarke sets up a trap around the corpses using dried leaves. The party disguises themselves as corpses. Quinn hears some crunching from the leaves near him and illuminates the area with faerie fire. Two emaciated old Dwarven women with a body on a cot, drop their cargo and begin to run. Greg skewers one on a javelin and runs down the other. They question the survivor. She confesses that they were stealing the bodies for food as the people of the Dwarven tent city are desperate. Greg executes the woman for the crimes of cannibalism and defiling the sanctity of the dead. The Thorns go home, unsure of how to feel about their accomplishment.

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Chapter 19: Bits and Pieces
Family reunions, and a change of seasons.

Magdeline Flintjaw completes the establishment of both the quarry business and the construction company. She begins to acquire property in the ruined areas of Tanner’s Alley to begin constructing stone housing.

Maggie asks Gregory (Banner) Smith to meet a man named Jack Colton regarding the use of tin as a new style of building material for the roofs of the new housing.

William “Billy” Gerard completes a masterwork set of Clark Wainwright‘s forged nobility documents for “Lord Briarthorn”. He begins to work on sewing rumours about Lord Briarthorn’s entrance into social life in Ferros.

The recruits complete their next round of training from Milfay Undercobble and begin to scout the catacombs underneath the labyrinth. Santos joins the city watch and begins his infiltration on behalf of the Thorns. Milfay suggests attempting the recruitment of a Raven Priest for the guild. This would allow the Thorns to respectfully move the remains of the dead of their slice of the catacombs and dealing with the deceased more ably in the future.

Quinn and Badger Cobblesprocket-De’Voir shop for healer’s kits and materials to make healing potions. Badger begins to brew the potions.

Quinn, Clark, and Greg meet with Jack Colton about the roofs for the housing that their new company will be constructing, supplied by stone by their other company. Greg is suitably impressed by the new technology and recommends its use to Maggie.

The party attends to their individual tasks and duties for the next week. Greg’s half sister Elissa Banner arrives in the city. Greg meets her at the Lion’s Mane Inn. She greets him and informs him of their mother’s passing and her desire to overthrow Lord Fredrick Marcarth, who new sits in their family’s ancestral hold two days outside of the city. She explains that she has been working for mercenary companies and saved up her coin to bribe the appropriate authorities and hire a small band of fighters to perform this task. Greg pledges his aid. The next night, they scatter the ashes of their mother over the cliffs and into the ocean, just outside of Ferros.

Badger begins work on his asbestos-based fireproof clothing. His solution allows crystals to grow. He coats four cloaks in the material.

Badger speaks to his wife Melanie De’Voir who is annoyed that Badger hasn’t been around for the past few weeks. He explains that it was for a good reason and shows her his new invention. He then asks her to partner with him on the business side of this venture. She explains that if she were to agree, she’d need to know more about how the process works. Badger invites Melanie to his lab after she is done work and then goes to The Rat’s Nest to speak with the Thorns about it. They talk him out of revealing their operation to his wife.

He goes to meet his wife after her work, and tells her there was an accident at the lab and that he will set up a tertiary lab elsewhere to show her. He offers to take her out for supper but she informs him that she already ate as she was expecting her evening to involve going to his laboratory. She agrees to wait until the tertiary lab can be set up and they go on a carriage ride around the nicer areas of Ferros.

Clark divests himself of his valuables and tours the desolation of Shantytown to obtain information on the woman known as Rapture. He learns that she a local folk hero in Shantytown and is very popular with most people. Unfortunately, no one knows where she is. Clarke investigates her old, ransacked hideout but finds nothing other than squatters.

As Badger returns to the Inn, a voice from a nearby alley calls out to him. The voice asks if Badger will come closer, offering a bag of gold for some assistance. Badger errs on the side of caution and beats a hasty retreat to inform the Thorns of the strange encounter. Deciding that the scenario was likely a trap, the group returns in force.

Quinn acts as bait and the rest of the Thorns follow invisibly. Quinn deftly avoids being mugged and finds a crowd gathered at the entrance to the alley. A fresh skeleton picked clean of flesh is face down in the alley with some insects crawling over it. The party finds little else in the alley.

Greg accompanies Badger to Badger’s home to help set up the lab equipment, then stays for supper. Some of the conversation makes Mrs. Devoir suspicious as Badger’s story regarding the lab accident doesn’t seem to add up. Despite that, Badger manages to set her at ease by lying profusely. He demonstrates the cloak making technique, and Greg stays the night.

The next day, Badger and Greg walk back to the Inn. Greg feels something cold touch his face and looks up to see the first snows of winter.

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Chapter 20: The Thousand Suns
The coalition of the willing.

A fast ship, known as the Thousand Suns arrives in Ferros to drop off Scardock who goes by the alias, “The Stone Sea”, AKA Magdeline Flintjaw’s nephew.

Overnight, a thick blanket of snow has covered the city. Scardock arrives to The Rat’s Nest and Maggie introduces her nephew to the Thorns. At Maggie’s behest, Clarke gives Scardock the tour of their operation.

The party attempts to visit the Falconers but find no one the know at the warehouse. They have lunch with Melanie De’Voir at Badger’s home, and then go on to the Arcane District.

Badger gives a letter of recommendation and a bag full of gold to the Arcanist’s guild and they say his membership will be processed in two weeks time.

To make some coin, the group robs some wool and iron from a ship in port. Amir K’Tar arrives to the inn the next morning to politely request the return of the stolen goods, as the ship was under Falconer protection. Before the party can protest, Amir mentions Greg and Quinn in the area at the time of robbery, doing a great deal to draw attention, likely as a distraction. The Thorns return the goods and Amir invites the Thorns to a social gathering of sympathizers who aren’t particularly fond of the Coopers.

Badger spends two days blacksmithing. The rest of the group prepares for the gathering.

The party arrives at an opium den called the Fugue Dream, a business front of the Falconers near the docks. They are introduced to Rapture who provides them with information on the Coopers and their operations and holdings. She also informs the party that Grandmother Cooper is skilled in the magical arts and that they are being funded by an unknown, outside source.

The meeting is interrupted buy a scuffle upstairs and vampires appear. Rapture runs away and one chases her.

The party engages and barely survives the fight. The vampires that are dispatched turn to mist and float away. Amir K’Tar, Mishka Kadjet, and Dolan Kadjet survive the battle.

The party limps their way back to the inn.

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Chapter 21: What Lies Beneath
A downwards detour.

The Thorns debrief with Magdeline Flintjaw regarding Rapture, the Falconers, and the vampires.

Amir K’Tar arrives to explain their alibi that they were attempting to lure Rapture in order to collect the reward offered by Grandmother Cooper, in case the old woman asks, emphasizing the importance that all parties keep their stories straight. Amir then speaks to Maggie privately regarding an option to proceed, before leaving The Rat’s Nest.

Maggie informs the group on the opportunity to contact a group of assassins who operate overseas and recruit them into assistance in dealing with the Thorns. The group is known as the Whispers and owe Amir K’Tar a favour. Unfortunately, Amir cannot risk sending any of his own men in the event that he is being watched by the Coopers.

The party discusses logistics, including maintaining Badger’s estate at 42 gold per week. Badger Cobblesprocket-De’Voir requests a week to get his affairs in order to ensure his home and wife are provided for while they are away. Scardock and Gregory (Banner) Smith find passage at the docks. Clark Wainwright gives rare flowers to Mishka Kadjet from their homeland and learns of Telnesthene from her. Quinn goes to find an interpreter and is pointed to the Duke’s palace. After some carousing, he meets Lady Celeste Montaigne who is acting as an interpreter for some of the dignitaries at the palace. Quinn learns that she speaks several languages including Telnesthene. Quinn manages to contract her for 50 gold per month plus expenses.

Greg speaks with Elissa Banner regarding her experiences overseas and she offers some practical advice about his journey.

Scardock goes to a discount brothel known as the Crusty Barnacle.

Badger uses his knowledge of blacksmithing and magical transmutation to craft an entire set of plate mail armour in a short period of time. He then sells it, depositing some of the money into the bank and leaving the rest with his wife, Melanie De’Voir. He spends some time with her and lets her know that he has some business overseas and will be away from the city for a while. She asks that he stay safe.

The party packs their armoury into a bag of holding, in order to pose as arms merchants while in Telnesthene. They outfit themselves for the journey. Scardock visits a temple to attend to an itch… The party then boards the Sahaguin’s Wake and meets the crew.

The group learns that they must work for their keep as per the arrangements made by Scardock, but they pay for a week of rest beforehand to finish recuperating from the battle with the vampires. Scardock makes a very good impression and is promoted to bosun in short order as their previous Bosun has taken ill. Badger earns some ridicule and Greg experiences sea sickness.

The ship spies a galley ripe for plunder in the distance and makes its way towards it, ready for piracy. The party realizes that Scardock has booked passage on a pirate vessel. The galley steers into an oncoming storm to attempt to lose the pursuers. Some time passes as the pirate ship slowly closes the distance. Just as the ships close, both are attacked by massive sea creatures.

The galley is attacked by a massive Megaladon, Maw, the Endless Hunger. The party’s ship is grappled by massive tentacles and broken in half by the kraken, Deep, the Malevolance. The Sahaguin’s Wake begins to sink, though the party manages to save some of their stowed gear before it is completely taken by the sea. The kraken swims away rapidly, causing a maelstrom in the water. The party is caught in the churning waters and finds themselves in the middle of two battling armies. An army of Merrow and an army of Sahaguin appear to be in the middle of a pitched battle beneath the waves.

Despite being underwater, and quickly running out of breath, the party manages to kill all who come near to them, and are eventually assisted by the arrival of a third faction. A small group of Merfolk arrive, placing special starfish on the necks of the party, allowing them to breath and speak underwater. Suddenly, the party finds themselves caught up in a strong current and are taken far away from the battle.

Many hours pass as the party is swept deeper, and deeper until they are enveloped in the cold dark of the ocean floor. They arrive at the temple city of Lyre in an underwater cave system. Illuminated by bioluminescence and heated by thermal vents. A massive glowing jelly fish hovers above the temple at the city’s heart.

The party is introduced to Limne, the seneschal of Lyre. She explains that following Procan’s death, a power vacuum occurred in the ocean with a number of powerful beings warring for the deity’s place in the pantheon. The three pretenders that remain, are Deep, Maw, and their lord, C’thume, the Outsider. Gregory is summoned to interact with C’thume and is touched by his noodley appendage. Greg learns of C’thume’s history and is provided with his blessing. They Thorns pledge to assist in C’thume’s cause if the Merfolk will help them get back to land after, then arm themselves in the armoury.

Limne tasks the Thorns with finding C’thume’s prophet, Kinosternon. The prophet left for the Red Waters, searching for a great treasure that could help the cause but has not been heard from for some time.

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Chapter 22: Red Waters
The prophet and the treasure.

Their party discusses their predicament. The learn more about Lyre and the Merfolk. They tour the city. Badger Cobblesprocket-De’Voir copies a spell into his spell book, then encounters a heretic who implores Badger to take the treasure he finds in the Red Waters to Deep as a bribe to leave the people of Lyre alone. Badger politely declines, bet lets the heretic go his own way.

Badger tried to convince Lady Celeste Montaigne to assist him in teaching magic to the Merfolk, but she seems less than enthusiastic about the idea. When Badger presses for details, he learns that Imperial magic is a closely guarded secret of the guild and not to be shared outside of it as a general rule. Badger apologizes, as though he has been accepted into the guild, he has not yet arrived to train at the college.

The party sleeps, and then is awakened by Limne who leads them to their transportation. A giant manta ray carried the party to their destination. The Red Waters. The waters are thick with the coppery tang of blood. The party ties themselves to each other with rope to stay together in the haze. A faint clicking sound can be heard in the distance. When they sneak closer, they see a massive, wounded dragon turtle on top of an even larger half deteriorated, partially buried torso. The torso belongs to the dead god, Procan. The turtle is surrounded by heavily armoured crabs and explodes one of them wth a powerful blast from its steam breath. There are 20 of the giant armoured crabs that move in to attack the turtle. The party moves in to engage, fighting the crabs. They spend a great deal of effort and resources in order to save the turtle.

After the combat, it introduces itself as Kinosternon and sensing the connection to C’thume, the Outsider, gives Gregory (Banner) Smith the treasure he was sent to recover. Greg received a bag full of 1000, glowing astral diamonds. The party expends their remaining resources to heal Kinosternon, enough to travel with them as the group leaves the Red Water.

They arrive back at Lyre in time to see the assembled army of the Maw, the Endless Hunger besieging the city. With Kinosternon’s aid, they run the blockade and Greg rushes the treasure straight to C’thume. C’thume absorbs the astral diamonds, beginning to glow more intensely before releasing a massive shockwave of psychic energy that dominates the minds of the besieging army, turning them into loyal thralls of C’thume. Those few forces that managed to resist are swiftly overwhelmed by their former allies. The massive Maw flees the field.

Later, Greg experiences a vision of C’thume’s limited omniscience and sees the Maw get ambushed by Deep, the Malevolance. The great shark is killed and devoured. Only two pretenders remain.

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Chapter 23: The Outsider
A new god ascends.

The cleanup of the Maw’s forces around Lyre is swift and coordinated. The newly acquired armies are sent out to conquer the known oceans and a combined force of Merfolk and Sahuagin leave the city under the command of Kinosternon.

Gregory (Banner) Smith approaches an increasingly powerful C’thume, the Outsider. Greg asks questions regarding the mental like and what will come next. C’thume answers with images and mental pictures indicating that it is waiting. Greg then speaks with Limne, Queen of the Oceans, and learns that Deep, the Malevolance has left its army behind and is on its way to Lyre at incredible speeds. Limne informs Greg that the Thorns may request their reward now and leave the oceans before the Kraken’s arrival, or stay and see the battle through.

Greg speaks with the Thorns to take their council, and they agree to stay and see it through.

The party prepares to defend Lyre. They see that a great deal of preparation is already beginning with the packaging of supplies, some of the tunnels leading to the city being collapsed, and one of the other tunnels being widened. Greg assists with collapsing a tunnel, and Badger Cobblesprocket-De’Voir uses his magical expertise to utilize a special stone statue and help summon earth elementals, per Limne’s request.

The party defends one tunnel entrance against a massive tentacle probing the city. It smashes through the buildings it can reach within the cavern complex. The group successfully damages and beats back the tentacle, but just barely.

The Deep squeezes its way through the largest tunnel in the way only an octopus can. The party evacuates Lyre with the Merfolk. At the last possible moment, C’thume teleports out of the caverns before Deep can reach him. The earth elementals collapse the remaining tunnels and agitate the volcanic vents beneath the city. A volcanic eruption occurs, killing the legendary kraken and destroying Lyre in a blast of molten fury.

The Thorns join the exodus for the next week to the city of Atlantia which has lain in ruins for decades. C’thume becomes more and more ethereal before ascending to godhood, disappearing from the material plane of existence.

Limne assumes the throne and becomes the Queen of the Oceans with C’thumes blessing. She directs the Merfolk to begin reconstruction on Atlantia and rewards the Thorns. The forward thinkers and industrious folk that they are, they request safe passage and calm seas for all of their future shipping interests, once they establish them. Limne promises to send a representative to Ferros to communicate with the Thorns as they require. Lady Celeste Montaigne has chronicled the war of the Pretenders and is given an open invitation to return to Atlantia to act as the official Imperial ambassador to the Merfolk.

Badger receives a vision from his patron and explores an area of Atlantia not yet under repair. It appears to be some kind of vault or repository and Badger manages to find a puzzle cube.

Kinosternon takes the Thorns to land. They camp on a beach in Telnesthene and Badger proves himself to be a competent survivalist, fashioning shelter, gathering food, and building a fire. The rest of the party cleans and oils their weapons and armour.

The party makes their way to Karindi, the port settlement that they were to arrive at on their ship. Badger meets a merchant named Salam Haddim, and sells all of the weapons they took with them in their bag of holding, which Salam is more than happy to purchase. They then buy clothes, tents, and other necessities. Salam hosts the party for supper. Badger makes a pitch to Salam to purchase his fireproof clothing. Salam Haddim is interested in the process if it could be fashioned into tents in order to protect from the wrath of certain types of Djinn.

A strange man approaches the party’s tent and introduces himself as Bertrand, the contact that Amir K’Tar said would find them.

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Chapter 24: Camel Trouble
A journey through the desert.

The party shops for camels, rations, and water skins, spending several hundred gold with Salam Haddim, whom is more than happy to provide what is needed. They then pack up and set off with Bertrand, their guide to Emberhold.

Scardock stays behind to organize transport back to the Empire on a ship. He requests some gold to facilitate this. Quinn provides 100gp and Scardock makes his way towards the town brothel.

Badger Cobblesprocket-De’Voir, Bertrand, Lady Celeste Montaigne, Clark Wainwright, Gregory (Banner) Smith, and Quinn set off on their journey. The first day of travel goes on without incident. The party sets up camp and Bertrand hunts snakes and shows the party how to extract the venom glands behind the fangs, which he carefully harvests. Quinn takes a fang as a guitar pick. The night is uneventful other than a brief rain.

The next day, Greg wanders slightly off of the path and suddenly finds himself waist deep in quicksand, sinking fast. Bertrand swiftly strings his blow and kills the camel just before its head sinks below the muck. The party pulls Greg out with a rope. He narrowly saves his equipment thanks to his immense strength. That night, the party arrives at an oasis and Bertrand spends some time speaking with some desert nomads who have also set up camp, exchanging news. The party learns that the various princes of Telnesthene are gearing up for the war season. The night is uneventful.

On the third day, on a rocky outcropping, Badger loses control of his camel, and the camel slides down a slope, breaking its leg. The party manages to restrain the creature long enough to set the bone, pouring a healing potion onto it, healing the break. Despite this treatment, the camel is still limping and is unable to bear weight. With the loss of two camels, the group’s movement is slowed. A storm begins to pick up later in the evening and the party quickly makes camp at Bertrand’s direction as a large sandstorm makes its way across the horizon. They bring the remaining camels inside of the large tent just as the storm hits. Greg, Badger, and Quinn are kept awake by the howling wind and are exhausted in the morning.

The fourth day is uneventful. Bertrand kills and eagle, harvesting its long feathers for his arrows, and cooking the meat for consumption. That night, as Clarke is standing watch, he notices 5 humanoid figures shambling towards the camp. Clarke calls out to them, but receives no response and immediately goes to wake his companions. The party wakes as the figures arrive and they encounter the second undead encounter in their lives as five mummies attack. Quinn, Badger, and Greg are afflicted by the curses of the mummies before the creatures are destroyed. The Thorns loot the bodies and manage to get back to sleep.

The fifth day and night of travel are uneventful, though the travel is slow. Those affected by curses weaken further.

On the sixth day, the party encounters a ruined caravan with streaks of glass in the sand. Bertrand concludes that it is the result of a Dragon attack. It appears that anything of value has been taken. That night, they arrive at Emberhold.

Bertrand guides the party to the only temple in the city and find it is a dedicated temple to Boccob, who has died, though some of his divine influence still lingers in the world. Bertrand then goes to call upon the Pasha. The party donates 800 gold to have their curses removed, and their wounds healed. They are ritually washed and bled until their curses dissipate. Clarke peruses the library of scrolls but cannot decipher the language.

The party sleeps peacefully that night at the Inn. The next day, they are granted audience to meet Pasha Vakaj, the massive efreeti who rules over Emberhold. During the conversation, the party learns that Vakaj is the patron of their ally, Amir K’Tar. In exchange for contacting The Whispers, Vakaj requests payment in the form of a service. He offers the party a choice between retrieving an item from an old tomb, destroying a raiding camp, or killing the dragon that has been plaguing his lands. The party volunteers to deal with the tomb.

In preparation for their journey, the Thorns return to the temple of Baccob to learn more about the tomb they are preparing to raid. The head priest is horrified when he learns the party is going to be entering the tomb as it is the final resting place of their patron Boccob, and it should not be disturbed. The priest immediately leaves and goes to speak with the Pasha about this. He does not return.

Badger bribes an acolyte to get into the library and uses his comprehension of languages to learn that Boccob predicted his own death hundreds of years ago and that his followers constructed a tomb for him in preparation for his passing. All records of the construction were destroyed as part of the defence of the tomb.

Badger the petitions another meeting with the Pasha, this time in private with the purpose of being allowed to speak to his court wizard. He is told ahead of time to bring a gift in order to make such a request. Two days later he is brought to see the prince. Vakaj is bathing in a small pool of molten lava. Badger has a hard time due to the proximity of the heat, but sweats his way through the conversation. He attempts to offer his patented fireproof clothing to the Pasha for his followers. The Pasha is unimpressed by this offering as much of his power comes from fear as a means of control and the idea of his subjects being resistant to fire does not appease him. He suggests Badger instead offer never to manufacture or share knowledge of his invention as a gift instead. Badger attempts to change the subject by offering a small stone figurine as a gift. Vakaj suggests he could just kill Badger instead as a means to ensure his inventions are never produced. Badger suggests this would not be effective as copies of his schematics are at his lab in Ferros. Vakaj says this is not a problem as he could send word to Amir to collect and destroy these things. In desperation, Badger asks if the Pasha needs anyone killed, because Badger can do that for him. This seems to intrigue the prince and he leads Badger to an underground dungeon where the temple priest of Baccob is being held in a cage. Badger does not hesitate to burn the priest alive despite the pleas from the priest. As a reward for this service, the Pasha shows Badger his stone garden, adorned with the preserved charred bodies set up in poses like statues. He then dismisses Badger who bids a hasty retreat.

Badger does not mention his encounter to the group. The party rests for a week, not leaving the Inn. They then restock on adventuring gear and purchase some healing potions. Bertrand leads them to the temple.

On the third day of travel, Greg’s camel is bitten by a poisonous snake. Greg swiftly kills the snake and administers an anti-venom to his mount, saving it. The party camps outside the Tomb of Baccob. In the morning, their camp is covered in tracks and their camels are missing.

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Chapter 25: The Tomb of Boccob
Tomb raiders

The party discusses the idea of keeping whatever treasure they find in the tomb for themselves, and perhaps overthrowing Pasha Vakaj. They attempt to recruit Bertrand into this plot, however he has no interest in politics and informs the party that every prince in Telnesthene is one sort of bastard or another. The Thorns then attempt to convince Bertrand to assist them in the Tomb, another prospect that he feels he has no business getting involved in. However, after some discussion, the party offers Bertrand a fifth of the treasure, and their assistance in hunting down Andronaax, the dune scourge. He agrees to assist the group in the tomb and the party breaks camp.

At the entrance to the pyramid, they see a large creature with the body of a lion, and feathered wings on its back. Quinn has heard tales of the legendary sphinx who guard the entrances to holy locations, refusing entry to those who cannot answer their riddles. Quinn and Badger Cobblesprocket-De’Voir approach to speak with the creature who asks if they have come to make “the pilgrimage” to which they say yes. She offers entry if they can complete her riddle. She offers a logic problem. After some thinking and some time, Quinn believes he has the correct answer, however the rest of the group is less than sure and waits some distance away while Quinn gives the response. The sphinx informs Quinn his answer is correct and Quinn offers a riddle of his own. The Sphinx offers several likely answers and then informs Quinn that she senses that others have entered the tomb already through some sort of gateway inside, rendering her watch superfluous. She takes off into flight and leaves the tomb. The party walks up to the door seeing a lever behind smokey glass. Gregory (Banner) Smith attempts to break the glass but breaks his hammer instead. The party muses attempting to use a crowbar to remove the bricks around the lever before Clark Wainwright realizes that this is the tomb of a god of magic. As an arcane trickster, he summons a mage hand to move the lever. The door opens.

The party enters into the first chamber where an ethereal form takes shape and instructs them to pray at the altar in front of them if they wish to pay pilgrimage. The party makes the appropriate gestures at the altar, as the form vanishes, then begins to delve into the dungeon against the warnings in the tomb. They avoid most of the traps, and set off others, before encountering a room full of several recently dead Githyanki and a suit of full plate adamantine armour with an adamantine longsword in the centre of the room, which is covered in the blood of the Gith. The party decides not to disturb the armour. They notice bloody footprints off in one direction and decide to follow it, finding an alchemist’s lab, and a group of Githyanki at the tail end of their plundering. A fight ensues, and two of the Gith manage to escape, though not before wounding some of the party members significantly.

Clark accidentally activates two flesh golems in another room, but quietly closes the door and informs the party to keep silent so as not to draw their attention. They avoid that room. They battle zombies and find a number of treasures, however it seems much of tomb has been looted recently. Attempting to manage their resources, versus the other rewards, they decide to clear as many of the rooms as they can to loot them before descending into the depths of the tomb.

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