Adventures in Proselytizing

It All Comes Back to Bite You
Because We've Lost Control of the Situation

Party discussed plans with Scimitar, who allowed them one more day before things would likely become…unpleasant. She stayed in the same room as Ossul.

Teppic healed ability damage, then corresponded with Fullstead, who assured the party that the Creation Pattern situation would be resolved that evening.

Shopping ensued, as well as meditation and discussion with Scimitar.

The guy from the attack on Kottkamp’s was interrogated.

When they returned, Grolsh and Castar hung out in the servant’s hall. Joherra went to study in the library.

Teppic recieved a message telling him that Fullstead’s party had arrived, asking him to let them in to the building. He did, and they ran into the party shortly thereafter. The Flame guys rushed up to the party’s rooms in the mansion. Scimitar, having heard, was waiting. The session concluded with the hounds grappling Scimitar, and the two Thrane guys having run into Ossul’s room, presumably to retrieve the Creation Pattern.

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But He Seemed So Reasonable!
Wherein the party experiences a spectacular return to form when dinner is ruined.

The party had a quick consultation before Bartok arrived. They settled on the solution of having a seat and delicious Karrnathi dark beer ready for him when he arrived. Upon his arrival, Bartok explained that Kottkamp had been suspicious of the party’s intentions after they questioned him about his daughter Sharel, but Bartok had vouched for the party’s integrity. Thanks to Bartok, Kottkamp was successfully convinced the group intended no threat, blackmail or espionage. To make up for his earlier brusque manner, Kottkamp had asked Bartok to invite the party to dinner. Though Scimitar was not happy, the party agreed to attend dinner at Kottkamp’s home that evening.

The dinner started out great, with a very accommodating servant taking drink orders. However, the party only managed to reach the soup course before it degenerated. The party realized that they and Bartok and Kottkamp had been poisoned. The only exception was Grolsh, who of course did not notice as years of eating under-Sharn kebabs and Shawarmas had left him immune to any poison conceivable.

Bartok immediately burst out of the room to seek help for Kottkamp, who was unluckily stricken badly, and also probably to brutally murder those responsible. Grolsh followed, but didn’t get far before finding Bartok engaged in a fighting withdrawal against the servant, a man with a neat beard and chainmail, and no less than six vampiric creatures. dnd_vampireSpawn.jpg
The party leapt into action to defend Kottkamp and fight off the creatures. However, the battle was not truly joined until the servant shouted for the creatures to “kill everyone and take the bag!” At that point one might say he lost his head.

Two of the creatures each seized one of the party’s packs. One escaped by turning into mist, and to Grolsh’s disappointment they got away with his stuff instead of the priceless artifact! The other spawn was stopped by the valiant efforts of Ossul and Jaheara, in a series of repeated snatchings worthy of accompaniment by the Benny Hill theme. Meanwhile Bartok, Grolsh and Teppic saw off the rest of the beasts.

Realizing the plan had failed, the mailed attacker attempted to flee, but was stopped by the combined efforts of the party and Bartok. He was taken into custody.

The evening wrapped up with Kottkamp’s offer of an alliance, quoting the Karrnathi adage “You can break a single arrow, but not ten in a bunch.” The party accepted, but there were some misgivings as they still had not resolved the problem of the creation pattern. It now remains to be seen exactly what the party will do next, but it is unlikely that they’ll be catching their morning train!

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A Pleasant Night's Journey (For Once)
Wherin the team has dinners with noblefolk, and gets a good night's sleep

A lot of the adventure was stuff just happening so that we could wrap up plot points. We opened in Xen’drik debating again what to do. We agreed that we weren’t going to return it to Lady Elaydrin, but still didn’t want to just screw her over so we would go back and pay back the money she gave us in advance for retrieving the schema and explain to her what had happened. After that we’d move on to Karrnath to return the Soul Blade, and hopefully by then Scimitar would be able to arrange a meeting for us where we could hand over the Creation Pattern.

Returning to Sharn went exactly as well as can be expected. We checked in on our school with Sholmes, and it wasn’t quite finished yet, but he thought we could probably open it if we wanted to. I decided against it because we still have that vampire problem and were about to burn a pretty important bridge, so we held off on that.

The heathen trio went to see Lady Elaydrin, and returned the loot from Garrow to her, as well as the remainder of the party’s finances to cover the advance she paid us. We also went with the “mostly honest” approach where we explained that we knew the thing had mind control powers and that you had smote it into inactivity, and didn’t feel comfortable returning it to her. Had Joharra not been there with magical calmness it might’ve gone worse, but Elaydrin said in exchange for our past work with her and saving our lives she would not seek revenge or retribution, but our relationship with her was well and truly finished.

We sold some of our lesser gear to get enough money for lightning railing to Sterngate, and then from there (we didn’t buy one ticket to throw people off) we went on to Karrnath. I had messaged our Cardinals, and they both responded while Fullstead wanted some more information (as did Hebert but I dodged that). I used Joharra’s new SUPER PSYCHIC COMMUNICATION to give Fullstead a sort of half-answer that revealed we probably had a way to give Warforged life but was non-commital, that he saw through and said he was disappointed in me for trying to deceive him.

While arranging a meeting with Warlord Kottkamp we stayed at a nearby inn where some rowdy Karrnathi youth almost started a fight over Ossul’s medal when Lady Sharel was conveniently passing by (outside a lampshade store) who recognised him, explained herself imperiously to these rebellious youth, and invited us for dinner. We went with her, explained why we were here, and she seemed to know a little bit about Kottkamp, but we didn’t get too much out of her. We were totally wingmanning Ossul though. He did pretty well and got to walk her to her coach.

In the morning we went to see the Warlord, and met his disapproving doorman who took an immediate Natural 1 dislike to Grolsh, but we smoothed that over and got a meeting with the Warlord. The Sword essentially did a lot of telepathic talking, and once we were sure he was the correct person we gave the sword back. He seemed to not really know why we were doing that, but said he owed us a favour, paid us a credit note and gave us breakfast. During which we mentioned that we knew Lady Sharel, and he seemed to get really pissed, and told us not to inquire about his daughter before throwing us out. So yeah. That was odd.

With all immediate quests done Scimitar wanted the pattern now whereas we still wanted to meet with him first. She seemed a little less certain of us, and I was still plagued with doubt so I had Joharra recontact Cardinal Fullstead and make a full account of our actions, and say that we wanted to return control of the Creation Pattern to the Warforged, but if he could provide a group of Thranish Warforged we could probably convince the others to give them the Pattern.

Scimitar bought us tickets to Fort Zombie, which is on the border with the Mournland which is our “stop” before we go to meet the Lord of Blades. I desperately wanted to stall, and Grolsh had the idea of looking into Bartok and figure out what was the deal with the Warlord and Lady Sharel and make sure everything was okay. The session ended with Bartok (Lady Sharel’s bodyguard) making a determined march towards our tavern, and was about to enter when Dan called an end.

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Adventuring in Xendrik
Over the Seas and Far Away and Lessons Learned

Finding a Ship and More Sea Journeys
….
So it happened that our small group needed to thwart the plans of the Emerald Claw again. It appeared that they had stolen the schemes and we were informed by a certain House that we would need to race to Xendrik.

Thankfully a wonderful lady was able to set up a journey for us over the seas. Truly a time to put out faith in the wonder of the Flame. The Flame shines brightly were it wants us to go, in this case our group need to go over to Xendrik, specifically Stormreach.

Although the Flame may light our path, the path may not be easy. But it illuminates another important aspect of adventuring. Negotiation. We were waylaid by Sahagin and a Giant Shark, but through the clever negotiation of Grolsch we were able to avoid bloodshed and pass through there lands unharmed. Well with the exception of being attacked by the Giant Shark, but there are not many lessons to be learned from that except don’t attacked by a Giant Shark!
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When in a New Place

… an important lesson for us was when in Xendrik (strange and wonderful continent) we need to learn a number of things. It was hear the Joharra and Castar were able to show the wonderfulness of academia. It gives one great contacts to know what excavations are going on. Its a good starting point for research into undercover operations of the Emerald Claw!

More Exploring, Going Up River
….
So it was that we need to go into the jungles of Xendrik. We left Stormreach traveling up the Rachi River attempting to catch the Emerald Claw airship. This journey can show us how simple travel (boats and such) can still be useful in todays world of airships and lighting rail. It also allows for time to enjoy the thick and buzzing jungles of Xendrik. In addition it gave me time to slow down and write for my dear readers!
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Meeting New People

… when tromping through Xendrik we were able to have a wonderful talk with the Drow Natives of that land. They were friendly and helpful guiding us through the temple and helping take on the Emerald Claw. This is the great attitude for adventures to have, to be positive and take care on diplomacy with anyone you meet so as to have as many allies as possible against the evils in the world.
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In addition while in Xendrik at Stormreach we meet a particular woman claiming we were part of some prophecy. Although prophecies are theologically dubious this Dragon Lady agreed to help, and one should never turn down help from good people!
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Fighting Waterlogged Zombies
…. It so happened that we were overcame by a simple zombie. But this zombie was in a watertight room, and when we opened the room we were doused with tonnes of water. It then hide in the shadow weakening us until the only one who could stop it was me and the Dragon Lady. I attempted to smite it but my faith was not strong enough. It was at that point I was overcome by the zombies power. I almost drowned in a small pool of water. If it was not for the Dragon Lady luring the zombie away we all would have become zombies ourselves.

This adventure illustrates two points. One that we should be wary of what is in the dark corners of the room, so we should also be wary of the dark corners of our own soul. What lurks in there attempting to drown us. But also that accepting help from people wishing to give it can save you! Not just in the physical, but also metaphysical sense (What we get from the Flame). For the Flame can destroy the darkness in our life …..

A Three Way Battle Royal

….
Our party had been exploring a temple in Xendrik looking for an ancient artifact. It was at that point that we had to battle not only the Emerald Claw led by the Fake Vampire Garrow, but also the Water Logged Zombie from before. The battle was tough, in addition trying to convince other combatants to fight the Water Logged Zombie. Eventually the zombie made paste out of some of the Emerald Claw and they retreated. Except for a Warforged named Scimitar, she just straight gave it a powerful punch. I roared in and struck it with the power of the Silver Flame. Again imparting the importance of negotiating, even when fighting your enemies to overcome bigger enemies. Some may say this is selling out. I have an answer for that … .

…. but the point is that no matter what later we did have to subdue her. After getting on a giant chair which teleported us to some kind of creation chamber. We had to battle her, thankful Joherra mind locked her and then Grolsch chained her up.

The Metaphysical Concepts of Intelligent Items

After locking Scimitar up we had to defeat some sort of evil intelligent item. And again the party had a number of debates over the morality and rights that could be granted to an item. It should also be noted this item was of great power and could create intelligent life very similar to warforge. It is possible that the Giants were able to create a similar style of intelligence. These were the arguments present by the part ….

… as you can see it was a difficult issue. But it was decided that we would take it across the sea and try and figure out a way to deal with it.

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Hey guys, what'd I miss?
The benefits of International Co-Operation are revealed.

Their experiences over the last month had prepared Castar Sil and Grolsh Ramstein for a lot, which goes a way to explaining how they managed to hold their ground when confronted by a minotaur demanding the two explain their actions in trying to contact the major criminal organisations in the undercity of Sharn. The two attempted their usual amount of charming and beloved misdirection, but the minotaur was unswayed by such attempts and asserted that the pair be honest and straightforward before he lost their temper with them.

Realising that the best approach here was the straightforward one, Grolsh confessed that they were investigating reports of the vampire lord Calderus who had been operating secretly in the Undercogs of Sharn, possibly for decades. The two adventurers pressed upon the giant humanoid before them that their only concern was disposing of that threat, and as long as the Criminal element inside Sharn did not believe they could control a vampire of that potential power, it would be unwise to oppose them. Although suspicious, an agreement was reached that as long as the group did not interfere in any operations currently being run, they would look into providing the adventurers with information that they would need to kill the Vampire Lord.

Returning to the Church of the Silver Flame, the pair met up with Teppic, Ossul and Joharra to discuss what was learned that day. With news that a powerful Cleric was coming to revive Lucan Stellos the next day and that both the criminal element of Sharn as well as the City Watch would be aiding them with information, the party prepared to retire for the night. Castar hit upon the idea of trying to find those in the temple with information from The Last War that might be able to help them slay their undead foes. Grolsh met and had an interesting conversation with Shofili Krayci, who had heard of numerous horrors in the war, though none that would be specifically helpful in dealing with the specific undead they faced.

Prior to bed, Grolsh, Teppic and Ossul went into the main hall for prayer and reflection before bed. The former was rapidly identified as only doing so to ingratiate himself with the Church officials, but the thought was appreciated nonetheless. They were interrupted by the arrival of Brother Emptor who handed the trio a note, and then returned to his post. The note itself was a threat naming each of the party by name, and saying they needed to turn over The Soul Blade immediately or face the consequences. When Teppic asked Brother Emptor about the sender of this note, he had no memory of receiving or delivering it, and thought he had been at his post all night.

Joharra speculated that this could either be the result of a powerful domination effect from a vampire, or a reasonably well-versed spellcaster. No matter the cause, the two Pilgrims of the Flame realised that the temple was no longer safe, and their presence would just endanger those left behind. Resolving to leave it in the morning, Joharra and Teppic took turns on watch to ensure their rest was undisturbed, and although there were sounds in the night they were believed to be nothing more than a few restless pilgrims and no further mind was paid.

In the morning the group grabbed a quick meal, and departed for the lightning rail to meet the cleric sent by Cardinal Fullstead to perform the resurrection. At the Lightning Rail, Ossul and Teppic both met a man dressed as a Templar of the Silver Flame named Sir Joshua Stern. Though he was initially thought to be the man who would perform the resurrection he was just there as an escort to the true figure responsible – Cardinal Fullstead himself. Equal parts delighted and surprised to see the influential figure from Zilargo again, the Cardinal informed the pair that there were few in the Church with the power to do what was asked, and he was one of them.

Retiring first to the Church before going to The Gilded Truffle, the Cardinal was informed of the situation surrounding Lucan, the potential threat lurking in the crypts of Sharn and the deal struck with the Dark Lanterns and Viorr Maelak. Once prepared, the newly augmented group were met at the Gilded Truffle by Drake Jones and led to the secretive spy organisation. Maleak and Fullstead quickly and skillfully organised a deal wherein the Church of the Silver Flame and Dark Lanterns would both bear a cost for this resurrection, in exchange for full disclosure of information regarding the Vampire lurking in their depths. With an agreement reached, Cardinal Fullstead demonstrated the full extent of his mastery of the divine gifts of the Flame, and managed to revive Lucan Stellos from his vampiric transformation.

The newly reborn man was quickly ushered from the room by Maelak, stating that both the confusion of his resurrection as well as the presence of the group responsible for his second death would likely be disorienting. and he was also conscious of perhaps revealing information that would be sensitive to Breland as well. Drake promised to inform them of any information coming from the interrogation, and escorted the party out. Before leaving, Joharra asked to see Grilsha Stellos to make sure she had been treated well, and they were escorted in time to see the tearful reunion between brother and sister. Feeling that they had no cause to interrupt this reunion they decided to leave the pair in peace – though not before Joharra recalled her Psicrystal from its duties of standing over Grilcha.

With Fullstead needing to depart, Ossul and Teppic briefed him on their plan to spread the word of the Silver Flame by investing the money they had earned in opening a school in the lower levels of Sharn, as well as Ossul’s self-defense class and other community outreach work they were performing which the Cardinal approved of. Grolsh also inquired as to the rumours of Sir Valerian’s sword which was rumoured to be a powerful relic suitable for killing Mummies, but found out that its location was likely either Thrane or Xen’drik. With the Cardinal pledging his support for the two Pilgrims endeavours, he departed with his retinue back for Zilargo for what was likely an exciting couple of days of paperwork explaining his actions.

Skakan delivered information retrieved from the pair’s earlier alliance, saying that there were rumours of something lurking in the South-east corner of the Deeps – one of the forgotten areas of Sharn. He urged the group to have extreme caution, as those that poke around down there tend not to come back. He also mentioned the existence of the Warden of the Deeps, a Silver Flame Templar who takes a vow of hermitage and takes up residence in the Deeps to quell the restless undead, as well as any who seek to disturb them. Confessing the group may be in trouble, he wished them well and urged them to exercise extreme caution in this area.

With the sun setting and the knowledge that they were being tracked fresh in their mind, the group decided not to return to the Church of the Silver Flame, nor Grolsh’s apartment as would be expected, but instead to avail themselves of a suite at House Gallandra before setting out in the morning – a move that was both unexpected and a way to find some comfort before their quest. It was late at night that they received a visitor in the form of Drake Jones, delivering to them what information Lucan had managed to impart after his resurrection. It seems that the vampire they were seeking was also a powerful Psion, and the extent of her information network inside of Sharn may even rival the Dark Lanterns. He wasn’t sure what awaited the adventurers down in the Deeps, but he implored them to not press on heedlessly and turn back if it seemed like they were in over their heads.

With his warning delivered, Jones left despite the protestations of Teppic who worried for his safety as if the Dark Lanterns could find them, it was possible the minions of Calderus could as well. With no more information, the group finished their rest and prepared to set off in the morning to find the undead foe that hid from them, and put her to rest.

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The Trouble with Clanedestine Organisations
Arranging meetings with people that lurk in shadow can be trickier than first thought

With the agreement to help The Soul Blade return to its rightful owners following the defeat of the mysterious vampire lord lurking inside of Sharn, the party now turned their attention with how best to find a vampire lord whose existence seems unknown even to the Dark Lanterns. Although the initial plan was to track down Calderus’ mummy that he had sent to incapacitate Lucan Stellos, apart from the Soul Blade’s knowledge that the Mummy has a debilitating disease it can inflict on its victims, there was no way to track down the creature from just that. Taking stock of their connections and investigative abilities they came up with a list of sources they could research in order to better track down the vampire (hopefully in secret).

  1. Skakan and the resources in the Undercogs
  2. Castar Sil’s investigation into the criminal network in Sharn.
  3. Teppic and Ossul’s connection to the Silver Flame
  4. Grolsh’s connections to the Sharn City Watch
  5. Joharra’s research connections within Morgrave University
  6. Lady Elaydren d’Cannith and other Dragonmarked houses.

The plan was also discussed to try and sell the sword on the black market, potentially attracting the attention of Calderus. However this would also draw the attention of Viorr Maelak as they had previously claimed to have been unable to retrieve the Soul Blade, and that was an awkward conversation that would be better avoided. Breaking for the evening, Castar and Grolsh would go to talk to Skakan and the others would go to the Silver Flame to begin research and find more secure lodgings for the evenings, as Grolsh’s new apartment was not viewed as a secure enough bulwark against the threat of an undead attack.

The Goblin Market proved much more profitable this time around, as the experiences chasing down Lucan had sharpened his draconic senses, and he navigated the stalls with the confidence of a man who was innately able to identify magical items through sight. Through clever negotiation with Castar, they managed to acquire an enchanted amulet for a fraction of its cost, and no pesky manipulation from any party members who would point out the ethical questions raised by this transaction. Emboldened by their success, they set off for their most reliable goblin contact.

Skakan was unfortunately unable to provide more information than last time regarding mummies or other unusual attacks, and was certainly unable to tell them any information on the criminal gains in the Undercogs of Sharn because he would never associate with people like that. Also he asked where the pair would be the following evening at 6PM. For his own reference of course. He was also kind enough to point out an undercover City Watch officer posing as a beggar. Castar used this opportunity to buy the hat off of his head in the hopes that he could use this as a scrying focus in the future.

Meanwhile at the Church of the Silver Flame, Ossul and Teppic successfully obtained permission from Priest Kayliss to open the doors of the church to them and Joharra for the purposes of shelter for the next few days, as well as access to the libraries for research and evaluation purposes. Although their reputation over the last few months as well as the current political standing vouchsafed their good faith, as members of the Orders Militant for the Silver Flame, there was some concern that the two pilgrims were overstepping their bounds and crossing into the territory of other branches of the Flame in these matters. Although there was no hostility to be found, there was a hint of reproach in the priestess’ voice as she conversed with the two pilgrims as to their cause.

Grolsh and Castar stopped at the City Guard outpost they had visited not two months ago, though it seemed longer to the pair of companions. Attempting to find Sergeant Dolom they instead found a young desk officer who helpfully informed them that the Sergeant was not on duty at the moment. Under the pretense of not wanting to take the law into their own hands, the officer was kind enough to leave a message for Dolom that the two wanted an appointment with him at their convenience. Finishing for the evening and having agreed to not stay out too late for fear of an attack, the pair immediately went to a pub for an evening round of libation, and eventually showed up at the church of the Silver Flame. The cleric on duty did not have their names recorded for arrival. Fortunately Teppic was able to smooth over the situation, and lodgings were confirmed for the near future.

In the morning preliminary research by Joharra had yielded some information on the disposition of Mummies, but nothing that would be able to allow the group to form a firm plan for how best to approach this situation. Fortunately Grolsh Ramstein was on the case and had no time for all this nerd research, finding an existing expert inside the Church whom was persuaded to part with several historical accounts of the Silver Flame’s battle with the the undead creature. Now better armed with knowledge as to how to fight the creature they sought, the groups split into their usual pairings and went to find some more information.

The Silver Flame Pilgrims checked in at the nearby House Sibbys office for messages, and discovered that Cardinal Fullstead had indeed located a Cleric who could help with their planned resurrection of Lucan Stellos, and that individual would be arriving by Lightning Rail the following day. The obvious next step to the group was to contact the Dark Lanterns with this information, but they realised that they had no idea how to get in contact with the mysterious intelligence organisation. However their recent life-or-death encounters had hardened the trio, and they refused to let the lack of any sort of plan stand in their way, and they set out!

Starting in the courtyard where they had their first interview with Maelak, Joharra easily undid the lock on the gate and they strolled towards the mansion to encounter a butler who inquired as to the group’s business. After divulging what was probably a compromising series of information, Teppic realised that the man appeared to sincerely have no idea what was going on. Making their excuses and leaving, they decided to go to The Gilded Truffle and attempt to trace the steps that Joharra’s psicrystal had taken when Grilsha Stellos was remanded into Dark Lanterns custody.

The psicrystal reported that although the Lanterns had been persistent in their questioning of the sorceress, they had still treated her fairly and it believed it could lead the trio to the safehouse as long as they could gain access to the kitchen inside of the Truffle. After what was probably an overly elaborate planning session, Joharra realiesd that they could just go in for lunch and hope that someone could meet them in there. Although Teppic was suspicious as to the lack of overly elaborate conditions involved in this plan, it turned out to be the best approach as at their table they were joined by a man who claimed to know the group by a series of aliases.

Although he would not engage the group in conversation inside of the restaurant, Mr. Jones suggested retiring to the kitchen to “thank the chef”, which turned out to be a clever euphemism for “berate the group for terrible spy behaviour”. Upon realising that the group seemed to be compeltely useless at guile, Jones resolved to give them pointers on how best to conduct themselves on secret operations in the future. He was also grateful for the information on the incoming cleric, but hinted that the organisation was already aware of this information. However they did learn the procedure for contacting the Dark Lanterns in the future, which will hopefully come in handy.

Concurrently, Grolsh and Castar had returned to the City Watch to meet Sergeant Dolom and inquire as to possible instances that might indicate an undead presence in the Undercogs of Sharn. The pair thoughtfully bought a series of very nice lunches to bring to this meetings, and although they cemented themselves as upstanding citizens who wished to be helpful yet still leave the police work to the professionals, they were unable to secure any cnocrete information. They did however receive a number of contacts that they could call upon to ensure that things did not spiral out of control in Grolsh’s new neighbourhood.

Eventually 6PM came around, and with part of the group retired to continue their research, Grolsh and Castar set off to a restaurant to make their not-at-all appointment with Skakan earlier. However instead of a goblin coming in to meet them, the pair were met by a minotaur who demanded to know why they were investigating criminal organisations in Sharn…

Meanwhile Teppic caught himself a fierce papercut while conducting research. It hurt.

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Questioning the Right to Exist
Raising Existential Questions in a Sentient Item World

With Lucan Stellos incapacitated inside of the abandoned Goblin temple, and the forces of the Emerald Claw led by Garrow in retreat, the party now found themselves in need of transportation back to Sharn to return their prisoner to the Dark Lanterns. Wrapping the body tightly inside of Joharra’s acquired hunting tent, they set off overland for Vathirond in the Southeast, and the Lightning Rail that would take them home.

Despite the arudous conditions, the weather held and it’s likely they would have had their first pleasant journey ever if not for the ordeal that they had been through. After a few days travel, they arrived in Vathirond and prepared to return to Sharn to deliver their prisoner. However a new complication arose as Teppic was concerned for the trial and future treatment of Grilsha Stellos, currently imprisoned back in Sterngate. His argument being that although she had aided the creature her brother had become, there were no formal charges laid against her that could not also be applied to the party, and leaving her for the Dark Lanterns would be questionable to him at best. Althoguh initially supporting just letting her go, he was persuaded by Castar Sil to instead bring her back to Sharn with them to formally hear what would happen. However, as there were apparently several parties interested in the fate of Lucan – not the last of which was Grilcha herself – it was decided that Castar and Grolsh Ramstein would bring the body and sword back to Sharn immediately, while Teppic, Joharra and Ossul would retrieve Grilcha.

After some creative interpretations of how different races and cultures interpreted the nature of bribery, Grolsh and Castar managed to successfully board the lightning rail bound for Sharn with the body of Lucan still tightly sealed. During the three day journey however, the pair found themselves confronted with a disembodied voice that urged them to sell the retrieved Soul Blade, as the reward offered by the Dark Lanterns for a magical item of that power was grossly underpriced. The speaker was eventually revealed to be the Soul Blade itself, but its arguments were rejected as presumably part of the price of returning the Soul Blade was not having the secret intelligence agency of Sharn angry at them for putting such a powerful artifact on the black market.

The sword’s second attempt though was much more persuasive. Forged during the Last War, it was gifted to a specific Kharrnathi family to be used during the conflict, though its wielder fell in the war and it came into Brelish hands. It had spent the time up to this point locked in a vault, and wished to return to its “rightful” owners. Though the sword itself could offer no reward for this, it did promise the gratitude of Warlord Barakas, the last surviving member of its family. Intrigued by both the offer of reward, and the potential political intrigue here, both Grolsh and Castar agreed to give the sword’s request a fair hearing once the rest of the group had met up with them. The Blade agreed to wait, and informed the two that Lucan had concealed the sword inside an enchanted glove that he held, which Castar could then mask with a magical aura. He further informed them that Lucan was captured by a master Vampire lurking in the depths of Sharn named Calderus, who had sent a Mummy after Lucan when he had drawn too close to his operations. The sword warned the two adventurers that Calderus was likely still seeking the Soul Blade, and they needed to keep its existence a secret.

When the Gnome and Dwarf arrived in Sharn, they were quickly met by a man who was there to receive their delivery of fine Kharrnathi cheese. To the surprise of no one at all, this was an agent of the Dark Lanterns who delivered the pair of them to Viorr Maelak. Congratulating the two of them on the successful return of the Vampire, he delivered the reward as promised and asked about the whereabouts of the Soul Blade, as well as anything the pair may have learned as to the fate of Lucan. Mentioning the existence of Calderus appeared to take Maelak by surprise, but ultimately neither revealed the “deal” with the Soul Blade.

In Sterngate, Teppic, Ossul and Joharra retrieved Grilcha from the care of Captain Eredenn Davoh, and prepared to return her to Sharn to face the consequences of her actions. Before leaving, the two Silver Flame devotees received a message from Cardinal Hebert demanding an update on their progress as well as the fate of the cleric he had dispatched to contact the two of them. With a heavy heart, they realised that the Cleric that Garrow had disguised himself as during the battle in the temple was not an entirely fictitious disguise. They also had a message from Cardinal Fullstead who wished them well and requested an update on their progress, as he had heard nothing since the incident at the diplomatic ball.

With a quick response fired off, the matter was now brought up whether Grilcha would go with the party to Sharn. She initially feared that her brother had been killed, but when Teppic revealed that he had merely been “captured” and returned she agreed to accompany them as long as she had at least the opportunity to see her brother again. The train ride back was not entirely uneventful, as Teppic was no longer convinced in the teachings of the Silver Flame that a man transformed into a vampire was necessarily completely destroyed and Ossul argued that this did not change their duty to eventually destroy the evil. This debate lasted the entirety of the trip, leading Joharra and Grilcha to bond over their mutual disbelief at the ability of the Silver Flame to argue endlessly and unceasingly.

Two days after Castar and Grolsh’s meeting with Maelak, the party was reunited in Sharn and escorted to the Gilded Truffle for a dinner regarding fine Kharnnathi cheese. Although the Dark Lanterns wanted to keep the two groups separated, Ossul and Teppic’s ceaseless arguing made Joharra’s request to sit anywhere but with them go more or less unnoticed. During the argument, Castar was able to inform Joharra that the Soul Blade had not been returned to the Dark Lanterns, and there was more to discuss.

The dinner with Maelak went mcuh as the last one, with none of the party revealing the overall fate of the Soul Blade. For Teppic and Ossul’s part this was made easier by them not actually knowing the full series of events, although whether or not their deception was successful was only known to the Spymaster himself. Teppic proposed to Maelak that he could contact those inside the Silver Flame to see if a sufficeintly powerful enough Priest could be found to Resurrect Lucan, who could provide information on the Vampire lurking deep within Sharn. Though Maleak seemed distrustful of these motives, he did agree to at least the rough inquiries within the Silver Flame. As well, Grilcha was to be kept a guest of the Dark Lanterns and questioned firmly but politely, before eventually being released. Joharra managed to pass Grilcha her Psycrystal so that the party would stay abreast of if anything was wrong, and she was left in the care of the Dark Lanterns.

The party now found itself with an influx of funds, and an apparent abundance of time. They agreed to wait a few days before reconvening to discuss the Soul Blade so that none in the Dark Lanterns would grow too suspicious. Grolsh used his money to purchase himself an apartment in the lower levels of Sharn, and finally retrieved the Adamantine breastplate he had comissioned so long ago. Visiting the Goblin salesman Skakan in the underhive of Sharn to thank him for his help and the wand sold earlier, he then spent the majority of his time celebrating his newfound wealth and living accommodations.

Castar visited his old friend C. Foster Hearst at the Chronicle and filed a series of backlogged reports, as well as finding information on the family of Warlord Barakas, as if they were to be returning the Soul Blade to him it would be nice to know a little bit more about this man. They learned that he had several children still alive, and was one of the thirteen Kharrnathi Warlords who fought prominently in the great war. There were several members of his family still alive, although the current “heir” would be a son who was relatively high up in the Kharrnathi military.

Joharra went back to University life, and secluded herself writing up the basis of a treatise on vampires that she had learned through first-hand study. While visiting the University store to buy herself a new Tome that would aid her in her research, she also learned that the party were now somewhat famous in Sharn as the “Destiny Five”, who nigh single-handedly fought off a group of airship pirates aboard the Cloud’s Destiny. Immediately purchasing herself a pair of sunglasses along with her magical Tome, she set off back to her dormitory room to continue composing what might be a new thesis, and putting up a sign asking people to politely go away while she was working.

Teppic and Ossul planned to use their new money to open up a school and chapel in the lower levels of Sharn, although they disagreed on whether or not these two functions should be integrated. As they had a large pile of cash, but no actual ability to know how to turn this into real estate property, Teppic proposed they visit Lady Elaydren d’Cannith for advice, and also to inform her of a further run-in with Garrow and the thieves of the previous Schemata. Met at the door by the house steward Silverton, they acquired entry and also learned of their newfound fame. Lady Elaydren was happy to receive the pair, and looked far more rested than the last time she had encountered the party. Although she had no new information about Garrow or the missing Schema, she was more than happy to give them the name of a barrister who could help them acquire property. At Teppic’s request, she also gave them a recharged pair of Sending Stones so that she could contact the party (or vice versa) if news about Garrow surfaced.

They also filed a request with Cardinals Fullstead and Hebert about locating a cleric to resurrect Lucan, and sent a more detailed report by courier to the two of them. Fullstead responded that he was amenable to this request and would make inquiries on their behalf, while Hebert succinctly asked if Teppic was insane, and provided no further information. Completely unclear as to why Hebert would react in such a manner, future correspondence with the Thranish cardinal was left in the care of Ossul.

Finally the day came when the party met to discuss the overall fate of the Soul Blade. The Blade’s arguments were reasonably straightforward – it wanted to return to the family to whom it swore loyalty. The counterarguments were that it was clearly an evil item to the senses of Ossul, and the question of what would happen were it to return to Kharrnath were still unknown. The question was also raised as to if the spirit in the sword could be “expelled”, but the sword itself remain unharmed. The debate raged for what seemed like hours, but ultimately a tentative deal was raised to explore if the sword could be destroyed without too much attention being raised. Unfortunately Grolsh reported that the Dwarfish smiths who forged his breastplate were incapable of that task, and they would have to acquire more openly about this task.

Finally, Ossul declared that if the sword could not be destroyed safely, then it must return to its rightful owners. This forceful declaration finally swung the argument, and they agreed that they would return the blade. However, if there was a master vampire lurking in Sharn then it would not be prudent to take any action with the threat of him once again gaining the Sword for his own no doubt nefarious purposes. Thus the party made a pledge with the sword. In exchange for its assistance in ridding Sharn of this vampire, they would return the Soul Blade to its rightful owners in Kharrnath.

Now all that was left was to find and kill a master vampire…

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More Selected Reading from Ossul's Book
Our Jounerys into the Mournland have a Number of Things to teach us!

Selected Reading from “The Silver Argument Volume One: A First Hand Account of Moral Ambiguities and Necessities”

Negotiations
… negotiations for an adventure can be a very delicate thing. When attempting to help a Lady in distress it is in fact worse when goblins bust into the room to wreck everyone’s day. But how are we to deal with these people who but in on negotiations. Well outflank them in some cases literally…

Conflict Resolution
At all times a person must attempt to resolve a conflict through diplomacy and speech. Violence is a very poor substitute for making friends. Consider this example that occurred to me and Teppic, on our way to the Mournland. We were travling first by ship in which grilisha worked on his sailing skills. Finally we made it to the wonderful town of Rhukaan Draal. Here in this town we need to get to any area called the Rose Quarry. We found some information that a gentleman knows as Failin could use his magical cart to get us there. When we meet him it had turned out Failin had cheated two bugbears. They simply wished to kill him. We were able to talk to the bugbears and convince them that we will pay Failins outstanding debts to them. Instead of simply killing bugbears we found they had a reasonable complaint and were able to deal with it in a manner that satisfyied everyone. As well Failin became a considerable ally driving us to the Rose Quarry and beyond (even into the Mournlands). So what can we learn from this, firstly that violence is not to be used first by an adventure but last …..

On Fighting
…. Now allow me to continue with another anecdote from my adventuring career. I hope my reader recall the incident with bugbears and Failin, in Rhukaan Draal. Well Failin drove us over the dangerous territory to the Rose Quarry, and there we found the area completely full with members of the Emerald Claw. For those that don’t know the Emerald Claw is a Canath Nationalist terrorist organization that despise and gives no quarter to the Silver Flame. We decided to attempt to sneak into their camp. It was unfortunately a failure and we were discovered and attacked. Our adventuring party was forced to defend itself against the unscrupulous shifter in charge of this site. The shifter was in fact a “Vampire Poseur”, shifting to be a vampire (I think this speaks highly of his state of mind, not being comfortable in his own looks). We were backed into a old Cyre building and were attempting to find the location of an item we were searching for based on a map on the floor. Thankfully we were able to fight our way out to our companion Failin, unfortunately the opportunity for redemption was not taken up by some members of the Emerald Claw and lead to their demise. Thankfully we were able to get on our way. Although, not before exchanging volleys of arrows with Emerald Claw members, and the Poseur Garrow, and his evil cleric Doran. It is here were we should talk about the advantages of retreating from to numerous of enemies, at this point in time Garrow and his minions were far to powerful for our party to deal with. And we had a schema to find in the ruins of Cyre. ….

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A Quick Guide to Vampirespotting
How to tell the difference between real and fake vampires.

With the defeat of Lucan Stellos, the Adventurers were left in the Chamber of Ascension, armed with Joharra’s knowledge that they had only an hour to track down the vampire before he regenerated to plague them again, they set out to find a way to the vampire’s hidden coffin. Beginning in the Chamber, they opened up the six sarcophagi present to ensure that the vampire had not somehow snuck into one of them under their watch. Finding them empty, Grolsh Ramstein remained behind to ensure that the chamber and the stairs down into the temple had no hidden passageways. The remaining four moved deeper into the basement to seek out a crypt or other lair in which the vampire could hide.

The first room found appeared to be a statue garden containing various goblins and hobgoblins as if in conversation. An initial survey by Castar Sil’s identified a section at the back of the room had collapsed creating a small tunnel. Despite no obvious danger, Teppic felt nervous about entering this room when there were still areas of the temple left to explore, and there were no obvious coffins where the vampire might be hiding. Castar went off to check the lower level while Joharra’s psicrystal scouted out the gap in the wall, reporting back that though a tight fit, people could fit in there.

The bottom level contained an entry chamber with a mysterious, beating drum that was identified as symbolizing guardianship over presumably the next room. Although Castar Sil did not find any traps leading into the room, it seems the key lay with the beat itself, which the party did not do, causing water to come rushing into the chamber. While Teppic attempted to force the door at the other end, Grolsh and Castar collectively disabled the “drum”, causing the water to start to drain and resealed the gap through which the water was flowing, effectively saving the party from drowning.

The door itself proved stuck fast through centuries of neglect as the temple slowly sank into its lake. Bemoaning the lack of foresight shown by goblin craftsmen, Grolsh and Castar both assisted Sir Ossul Tarravan to force the door open, a nigh-herculean feat by the Paladin which revealed a burial chamber containing 25 coffins, any one of which could hold the vampire. Grolsh and Ossul both attempted to ferret the creature by detecting magic and evil respectively. After clearing most of the room, they were alerted by the Psicrystal that company was coming down the temple after them.

Setting up a defensive perimter, the rest of the checking was left to Grolsh, while the remainder prepared to defend the entrance. Entering the drumming chamber was a man holding a female cleric of the Silver Flame hostage. Claiming to have been sent by Cardinal Hebert in response to their Sending, she had been captured and was apparently held hostage. However their body language was not consistent with a “hostage” dynamic, and Teppic fired a warning arrow to try and keep them out. Ultimately, just as Grolsh managed to find the coffin where Lucan had secreted himself, the opposing force entered and the battle was joined.

Two Karnath skeletons accompanied by two men presumably in the employ of the Emerald Claw entered, along with their hostage and the unknown woman who the party had previously met in the Mournland. Two skeletons and one of the goons quickly took up positions by Teppic to incapacitate him, while the others moved towards Ossul. The woman fired magic missiles at Joharra, who responded by shutting down the woman’s mind for the entirety of the combat. It was at this point that the “hostage” revealed herself to be the insidious cleric Garrow who dramatically announced the Party’s doom, cursing Ossul and laughing maniacally. His reveal was undercut by mocking, ridicule, and a sword in the face from Ossul.

Grolsh meanwhile quickly and resolutely drove a stake into Lucan’s chest and moved in to assist with his dragon-blessed powers of fire. Teppic held on defensively until support could arrive, and Castar and Ossul quickly managed to incapcitate the attackers on the other side of the room. Denied the spellcasting support of the unknown mage, the two Emerald Claw soldiers quickly fell to the party, and Garrow ordered a retreat, summoning up some mist and then fleeing himself. One skeleton accompanied him in his flight, while the other remained to block the door. After destroying the skeleton, Ossul, Castar and Teppic all raced after the evil cleric as well as the wizard who had presumably been moved a Joharra suddenly lost her contact with the woman’s mind.

Pursuing them outside, sadly the party did not arrive in time before Garrow managed to curse their name and swear revenge the next time they met. His swearing was interrupted by a volley of arrows that, although just falling short of slaying him, certainly swung the pithy “last word” back to the party and he quickly – and more importantly SILENTLY- fled into the pre-dawn light. Grolsh and Joharra remained behind to ensure that Lucan was contained, and Joharra tapped into her Psionic powers to assure Grolsh that his handling of the situation was completely correct, and Lucan would be incapacitated until the stake was removed. Grolsh managed to resist compulsions from the sword they were sent to claim, and has secured it from Lucan’s body as well.

Though the Emerald Claw continues to plague them, the party has recovered both the body of the vampire and the sword they were sent to retrieve, they now face the challenge of returning the vampire’s body to Sharn, as well as resting and healing injuries inside this temple.

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Thranish Walking Tours
Wherein the party acts totally normal, and is lulled into a false sense of security.

Having secured the damage caused by the attack on the other Lightning Rail car, Castar and Ossul managed to locate odd pieces of technology in one of the dead Halfling raiders. First locating a Dwarven tradesmith, they learned that this did not belong in any simple machine but was likely created by an Artificer. Locating one aboard the Rail, they discovered that this component they discovered likely came from the shoulder of a Warforged who may have been travelling with the Halfling raiders – as no Warforged were reported as missing or killed on the train. Intrigued by this new clue, Castar immediately began scheming up the greatest investigative scoop of his life to date! Unfortunately, this got them no closer to their goal of hunting down Lukan Stellos.

Tending to the injured passengers, Teppic managed to stabilize the worst injured and bring them up and around, while Grolsh proved that there is nothing that a group of rushing around humans can do that a Dwarf favoured by the dragons who is idly strolling by injured people can’t do better. With the survivors all healed and recovered, they confirmed that a wolf was sighted heading towards a nearby ziggurat, and that none had seen a man matching the description of Lukan since the attack. Making awkward and unconvincing excuses, Teppic informed the conductor that they would not be rejoining the lightning rail and would be staying behind to look for their “friend” who may have “taken shelter” in the Ziggurat. Also he assured the other passengers that they were not affiliated with the attackers and had everyone’s best interests at heart, and attempted to buy some tents in case they had to camp out on the way back to Vathirond following this excursion. Fortunately, Joharra managed to be safely away from his awkward negotiations and acquired her own tent from a travelling Halfling trapper.

Setting off for the Ziggurat, it was early evening when the party finally reached the shores, and they managed to catch a glimpse of Lukan inside the temple, fading away as if taunting them to come in. The temple itself was surrounded by a shallow pool of water which would not ordinarily pose a problem to anyone who does not regularly wear 50 pounds of metal. However, just to be safe and to prevent drowning, Joharra supervised the group into building a raft to safely cross the lake. Depsite fear of there being underwater monsters, nothing accosted them as they went across. All of the monsters were inside.

In the first chamber they entered were a row of pillars on one of which was perched an otherwise unassuming cloak, and an unidentifiable moan. After entering, the moan increased to a point where both Castar and Grolsh were entranced by the sound, and the cloak was revealed to be some sort of flying, manta-ray like creature that used magic to confound its true location. Teppic managed to free Grolsh from the paralysis, and Joharra dispelled the illusion cast by the cloak creature, but Grlosh fell victim to panic from the sound and fled the chamber. Ossul went to chase him down to ensure no further harm befell him during the flight. However, with the party now split, the Cloak-creature envelopped Joharra and began biting her. Eventually, the party managed to pry the cloak creature off, and Ossul eventually pinned it to the ground where the majority of the attacks hit the creature rather than Ossul. Heavily beaten, the Cloak creature fled the temple, not having killed anyone but certainly leaving them uncertain as to what else may be inside.

The next chamber contained frescos of demons, and an altar with a narrow slit carved into it, along with thick chains securing the altar to the ceiling. Teppic identified this as reminiscent of an offerings altar, but was sufficiently disturbed by the imagery to advocate staying away from the altar. Unfortunately the mention of “offerings” led Grolsh and Castar to investigate the altar to make sure that they were not passing up any nice treasure. Grolsh found a small drawer in the altar that was trapped. Castar attempted to disarm the trap, and after regailing everyone with how they would fall to their deaths if the trap was triggered, managed to disarm it. However the drawer itself was empty, and they continued to the next room.

Having initially mistaken the altar chamber for where sacrifices were performed, they were somewhat satisfied to find that the NEXT room was the sacrifical chamber. They also found the minotaur zombie who was in charge of sacrifices, whom the party engaged in combat. Using several of the spells and smite attempts they were saving for Lukan, they swiftly disposed of the minotaur, with Ossul scoring a particularly impressive decapitation that finished the creature off. The next room held a mass of writhing centipedes that swarmed over Teppic, but was no match for a dwarf that breathed fire and then used brutal cunning to trick the centipedes into biting him and having his Dragon-granted fire shield destroy them.

The chamber at the very top of the chamber held Lukan, who seemed more passive and subdued than in previous encounters. Stating his goal was to have the party either kill him, or be killed by him, he suddenly leaped into action striking at Teppic to incapacitate the divine magics he wielded. Draining the Favored Souls connection and spells, he remained above the reach of most of the party and harassed them through running along the walls and striking at them. Castar also missed with his prepared spell, and the vampire appeared like he would be able to pick them off one-by-one. Summoning up lesser spells, and using a magic summoned whip to first weaken the vampire, both Teppic and Castar waited for Ossul to channel the last of his power into a powerful Smite against the vampire, and then they both channeled their energy into a series of powerful strikes that proved sufficient to slay the vampire. With Lukan dissolving into mist, Joharra realised that he would have to reach a coffin to regenerate or be destroyed for good. However the mist went elsewhere in the temple, and the weakened party had an hour to hunt him down until he would heal, and in their current state they were not prepared for another encounter with the powerful creature.

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