Worlds Apart

Session 47 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

ROUGH NOTES, MUST REWORK:

Stand-off, Redden forced to speak with the gnome until the party’s stun wore off. Revealed why he attacked, and his connection to Gwyn

Released the boat and instructed them to dock around the bend. Their boat guarded by a treant named Grover. Boram and Steve stay with the boat.

Taken to his home, walking and talking until they reached a magically warmed swamp.

Informed them over dinner about who he is, what he knows. (Keeper of The Green, protector of the light. Found it while investigating growth in the area. Gwyn also interested in this, passed through the area and befriended Nana.)

Trouble in the area reported by plants and woodland creatures, bad group of 4-12 people, with magic and black smoke. Nana and his friends mistook you for them due to your strong magical auras and smoke coming from the River Rat’s steam engine, again sorry.

Fed them rooty-mushroom soup, goodberries. Chance to dry off and get comfortable as apology for inconvenience.

Nana’s Absynthe, Lance tried some and is able to project faerie fire.

Nana requested party to help him with a fast giant.

Slept on boat, kept safe from harm.

Brought to swamp again, Nana asks if Redden has any magical knack
Together they call some elk and get them to carry them closer to the area where the Ettin might be. Incredible survival skills made it quick and avoided other troubles.

Redden and Black Feather scouted ahead, got info. They come up with a plan to lure out and fight the Ettin.

He was fast. Really fast. But their trap works and they hit it hard with physical, magic and mythic proficiency, and when it tries to run away, a well-timed grease spot caused him to fall. Even from the ground it was fierce but eventually succumbed to the wounds placed upon him by the heroes.

Nana impressed. Redden took a necklace trophy.

They returned before lunch and Nana took them to his grove and showed them the green. The light. Redden and Christian remark that it bears some resemblance to what they saw open up and swallowed Jack.

View
Session 46 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

The party moved in on the draugr and the soggy undead monsters pushed back. Tequila took to singing a sea chanty about what they would do with an undead sailor (put them in the grave!) in order to inspire the heroics of her friends. Christian set about fighting on the plank, holding back their advances as Lance balanced precariously on the side of the boat and slashed away at those that would climb aboard the starboard side. Redden, Boram and Tequila set themselves to provide ranged support. The restless dead climbed on the back and port side, as well. A panicked Steve, under the guidance of Boram, was able to damage a draugr that had climbed on the paddle wheel before flinging it on the stern deck.

From the waters rose the draugr captain who released an obscuring mist to cover its allies from ranged attacks and hide their advances. The crew of the River Rat fought bravely on as the draugrs continued to move in on them. Redden knocked a head clear off with a crack shot with a bludgeoning arrow, snapping the creature’s neck and having velocity and gravity take care of the rest. Tequila, sporting a new set of magic stones dealt death from above, as they provided extra damage versus the undead. Christian counted himself lucky to have his shield up at the right time as one stone broke through the skull of a nearby undead swab and splattered it.

One ghastly draugr came up on the port bow and managed to get an attack in on Boram who succumbed to nausea before the captain came up on the bow and released another of its frustrating clouds of obscuring mist. Both sides struggled to hit each other in the fog. Christian held the captain’s attention while Lance managed to pull his own captain Boram to safety. Lance and Christian combined their mythic gifts to keep Christian swinging with hopes of striking down the captain before it could make them sick, or perhaps corrupt their lifeforce as undead were apt to do. In the end, it was a near hit with a holy smite, followed by a good old fashioned longsword through the face that put a stop to the combat.

Upon inspection, the heroes discovered that these draugr were not at all ancient dead sailors, but rather just a week or so dead in the water though the bloat and decay made it difficult to ascertain. A scroll case in the pocket of the captain revealed that he was indeed Captain Dante Hicks and that it was indeed the crew of the Caitlin’s Breeze. What horrible fate befell these men? The heroes could only speculate as they set forth for burn the corpses with oil and wood; they wouldn’t burn easily but with enough oil and the blessings of an angel it worked well enough. With any luck, perhaps the souls of these poor men would be at rest.

Once the corpses were set ablaze, the group could focus on rededicating the damaged shrine to Desna while Boram and Steve finished up cleaning the ichor from the boat. They removed a grotesquely mutilated deer carcass and burned it along with the draugr. They replaced the headstone and stacked up the smaller flat stones in the manner of a trail marker. River water was used to rinse away any remaining gore. Candles were replaced and other trinkets blessed. Tequila requested that everyone hold love and good intentions in their hearts as they worked. Together, they shared words of blessing for all those who should pass this way in hopes of channeling the spirit of the goddess of travel. With these words, Tequila told them that they were finished. It was a simple shrine, much how someone would expect an altar dedicated to Lady Luck.

Their work finished, a glint of shininess caught their eyes. Redden was quick to grab at it… a copper piece? How did they not notice it before? It was just any copper piece. Tequila identified it as Desna’s coin, which along with the handy trick of being able to manipulate coin tosses, also came pre-charged with a bit of luck from the Resplendent Goddess of Fortune herself.

As they made their way up river, Boram inquired about their newfound connection to the gods and was surprised to hear that they had each been chosen as some form of religious champion. He himself was the son of a preacher. His father, he told, was/is a cleric of Torag: the dwarven god of creation. Boram went on to explain that he himself wasn’t much the religious type, but considered any day under the sun and outside of those stuffy caves and the shadow of his father a good one. He hoped that gods choosing champions and the like wasn’t a portent of the end of the world or something similar; he didn’t consider any of this normal and kept his focus on sailing up river.

Almost as if interrupting any further negative talk, the fortunes smiled on them again as a large school of salmon was thrashing in the waters around the River Rat. These fish were on their way up river to spawn. The heroes, eager for a chance at fun and a delicious dinner, quickly grasped at the fishing rods and made attempts at catching the largest one. In three bouts of fishing Christian caught a 15 inch salmon, Redden a 9 inch, and Lance a 10 inch and 23 inch prize lunker. They all looked forward to eating the day’s catch, and Boram promised they could eat soon. He wanted to pushed on a little further to make good time.

As they went under the large stone bridge connecting the road from Nikeah to the west, some loud thuds could be heard on the bow and stern. A quick examination revealed the source to be large clumps of earth and plant dropped from above, which soon after “exploded” into a tangle of plants and vines covering all the surfaces of the deck and the wheels of the boat. Boram had to hit the brakes as the tangled mess worked its way into the wheels. Not only this, but trees had uprooted themselves and jumped down in front of the boat, and likewise behind to box them in.

Hearing what he did about a druid in the forests further ahead, Redden made an honest effort to call out a message of peace but was answered only by the psychic shouts of imposing marsh men he figured were algoids. The crew of heroes struggled against the plants and their stunning mental attacks. Christian and Lance even made it on to the bridge and next to an algoid before sleet rains fell on them, hindering their sight and movement. Tequila cried out against these attacks and tried to support her friends. Redden had taken position on the stern deck to better look upon the enemy and held his own for a time against an algoid, dropping his bow and slashing with his greatsword. Christian and Lance had fell the other as they were now seemingly experts at fighting in blind conditions. An owl caught Redden’s attention and when the fighting seemed most desperate, this owl landed on the edge of the bridge and changed into a gnome who shouted out to him, “HOO!” or was it “WHO?”

END OF SESSION

Notable NPCS:

Boram Slystone Son of a Dwarven cleric of Torag, but prefers his freedom.

Captain Dante Hicks: Changed into an undead draugr sometime after being flung from the Caitlin’s Breeze.

Gnomish Druid: Little known about this reclusive character, but has a way with plants and algae. With your group pinned down, he has approached and revealed himself to you.

Notable loot:

Desna’s Coin Desna smiles.

View
Session 45 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

With the arrival of the two men and their surprising letter and painting, it was only natural that there would be questions. The tired men asked if they could sit down and eat with the group as they’ve traveled in quite a hurry to get here and had only rations to eat on the way.

They scarfed down what they could, answering questions in between bites. The tall one was Elwood, and the short one Jake. They were the Clues brothers, sent to Nikeah by the Oracle, on a “mission from the gods” to deliver the message and report that she would like to meet the people in the painting as soon as possible.

They had flown, well glided really, down the mountain thanks to an invention made by the Returner’s own inventor specialist: a gnome named ‘Donny.’ The party wanted to know more about the Oracle, Banon, Donny, and the other Returners up in the mountain and what exactly they were doing there. The senior Returners provided what information they could. Jake and Elwood, themselves, claimed to not know much beyond the fact that Oracle was performing some kind of important ritual for hours out of each day and on occasion would stand outside in the cold winds. Banon was looking to have the Returners explore the ruins of the Mountain King and through it all, Returners were expected to fend off beasts, monsters, and the shadow creatures that occasionally squeezed out of caves. It was these shadow creatures that Jake and Elwood suspected were the most pressing matter. This was troubling as the party had encountered such a shadowy worg weeks before as they were entering the Northern Reaches.

When the questions stopped, Elwood elbowed Jake who produced a second letter. Lance took it and read it, revealing it to be a transcription of the conversation between them and the brothers along with a note at the bottom, “You should really come see me. – Oracle.” Whatever her deal was, it would appear to be quite magical.

Campbell said that she was an Oracle of Sheylin, the goddess of the arts, beauty, love and music. In fact, the foyer of the inn featured rather prominently a holy symbol of Sheylin: a multi-colored song bird. Campbell went on to say that it was Oracle that tended to the flowers outside and around the Inn as well. She’d speak to them, and occasionally sit in the garden facing the lake enjoying the wind on her face.

The party felt they had little choice but to oblige the lady. They had a report to give to Banon, and surely if they were to climb the ranks of the Returners this way their ‘in.’ This reminded Campbell to once again collect their Returner papers, and promised to write them a glowing recommendation while the group separated and took care of errands around the city.

Lance went to the docks to see about hiring Boram Slystone to once again sail them to their destination. The dwarf was happy to help out his favourite passengers, permitting that their boss Mr. Williams could track down and pay for some Stenkol. This mineral rich coal would best push them upstream at a higher speed. Boram knew very well how rich Campbell was and would rather take money from the Returners than from his friends. He also informed Lance that the city itself had provided him with a nice financial reward for helping them track down the djinni, which he was told doubled as hush money. Sam was hired on by the navy to help engineer their ships.

Redden approached the Hunters’ Guild and greeted by many rangers, some with animal companions of their own. Pushing through the crowd was a skinny man with a muskrat on his shoulder. His name was Merrick and he, like most people there, was most impressed with Redden’s bow. In fact, many were staring at it. Through conversation Merrick deduced that Redden was one of the adventurers who took down the Hydra in the harbor. He shook Redden’s hand and exclaimed that he was a big fan. He tried to help Redden with information about the River and the mountain, but didn’t seem to be the most knowledgeable. He did advise Redden that should he hunt down any amazing large creatures that he should return with proof for rewards and renown. Redden got more information later when her returned at night.

Christian took to the market to do some dealing. He walked in on Waldorf and his wife having a quarrel over whether they should remain in retirement from adventuring or not. Dolys was bleaching from the quiet life, but Waldorf’s heart condition and aging body made her worry. Waldorf let Christian know of the heroes rate he’d give him and his friends for their assistance in town. He then sent Christian to a place called “The Iron Skillet” to get information on the strange great sword they found.

At this shop, an old dwarven smith named Grumble and his upbeat apprentice Yangrit produced fine blades and the like for the market. Yangrit, working the counter greeted Christian with some smithy jokes, hoping to get a laugh out of him and her boss; neither were having any of it. Christian was seldom one for humor, and Grumble lived up to his name. He was the type to toil into the night and disappear into his work to hide from his troubles. Having talked the friendly apprentice into taking her break early, Christian was left to deal with the unhappy smith who echoed the girl’s immediate observation that the blade was fire-folded steel, usually done by dwarves but in this case the design did not appear very dwarven as it was jagged and spiked. He didn’t like his apprentice all that much, but disliked dealing with customers even more and gave Christian a lowball price of 200gp for the blade. Christian decided to keep the blade and see if Redden would like to make use of it.

Christian was also approached by the captain of the guard, a man who introduced himself as Jamul Goldsun. Campbell, of course, referred to him as Jim. He looked Christian up and down with an inquisitive eye. Christian returned the favor, noting his captain’s badge and a holy symbol of Sarenrae. The captain had been looking for Christian for some days now, but with Christian’s running about saving the city from troubles, he was a hard man to track. The captain thanked him for his services and let him know that the temple of Sarenrae, though much more humble here in Nikeah than those in Sudesh, would be glad to assist him in his journey should he need any potions, wands, or the like.

The group was paid with banknotes from Campbell Williams for their assistance the night before, and they used this money and more as they shopped for the equipment required for their trek up river and into the mountains. All through their errands they picked up on the talk of the town:

  • Rumors were largely about the Red Raven whose reputation seemed to put fear into the hearts of criminals both in and out of jail.
  • The Raven’s Unkindness was well equipped with amazing weapons and very dangerous in their own right.
  • They were everywhere from the rooftops to the sewers, in the rich parts of town and the poor.
  • The Drowning Cat had been shut down indefinitely, pending investigation.
  • The return of warmer weather eased the worries of many citizens, but some commented that the sudden shifts were most bizarre.
  • Old Tom was scheduled to be hung and other bandits flogged for their crimes.
  • The Jarl and Earl Ragnar were supposedly in talks with regards to making plans for next winter to ensure the safety of the refugees.

It would seem, as a whole, that the party had done some good work here in the city and should be proud of their accomplishments even if there wasn’t a big ceremony like in Tamran.

In the afternoon the party also made attempts to contact the Elemental Plane of Air via Loquar’s summoning ability and Tequila’s gift for communication. They only had a few short chances to get it right that day and put their heads together to ask the elemental upon its appearance. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to know or care much about politics as regime changes are a regular thing in the chaotic plane of air. As far as the weakening of the barriers between the planes, it could only surmise that it was somehow the fault of people on the material plane. It didn’t even know what a Razmir was. Frustrated, the group left the final summoning to Loquar to thank his friend “Azoth” for his regular assistance. The wispy creature in turned said it was happy to serve its masters, referring to Loquar in the plural. This gave the mysterious halfling more to think about when he embarked on his own private journey westward.

In the evening and night, each party member spent their last free moments in the big city trying to celebrate in their own way. Redden went back to the hunters’ guild hall, gathering a better amount of information on the lay of the land ahead. Lance finally used his reward chip at the Lusty Goblin and spent his evening with a veritable smorgasbord of women and drink befitting a hero. Christian, fearing what Mistress O’Detta Walker would have in store for him had he gone as well, decided it would be best to spend the evening at the Rear Admiral by the docks. There he met up Boram, Sam and Steve along with many sailors and navy soldiers who gladly paid for his food and drink for the night as they traded stories.

In the morning, they made way to the docks where Boram had just finished overseeing the delivery of his stenkol and was saying his goodbyes to his girlfriend Sam. He’d be back soon, he promised her. It would be just a quick drop off this time.

Earl Ragnar also made an appearance to thank them for what they had done for the people here as well as for helping his son find himself. They had almost made it out of the city before running into Jay and Swabby Bob who were now devout worshippers of Desna and looking to travel the world after having to deliver the bad news to all the families of the dead sailors of the Caitlin’s Breeze. They were, understandably, having difficulty finding work on a ship. Tequila hid herself from Jay who became quite smitten with her during their return to Nikeah in the days before.

Dodging the dimwits, the group said their own goodbyes to their friends Campbell, Michael, Loquar, and Anatole who now had their own missions to take care of. Anatole reminded them to get his report to Banon. Loquar promised to deliver some messages to their families in Grimby along the way. Campbell said he would continue to ensure the safety of the city along with his allies, old and new. Everyone shook hands and bade each other farewell.

Goodbyes behind them, Boram started up the steam engine aboard the River Rat and pushed out of the harbor. The reconstruction of the docks was well underway, and the city’s faithful were once again releasing their lanterns out on the lake in the thin, natural morning fog. They sailed forward until the colossal statues and city walls of Nikeah no longer seemed so big.

They turned north as they entered the mouth of the Lethe river and didn’t have to travel far before there were signs of trouble. Tequila took note of a desecrated shrine to Desna, as well as undead Draugr moving about the shoreline. To the unaided eye, they would look just like people from afar, but her natural ability to detect magic and evil made her very aware of the problem. She pleaded with her friends to do something about it. Boram pulled the River Rat close to the eastern river bank and fired a few test shots at the glowing red eyes of the draugr. Normal arrows and bolts wouldn’t do much. Boram’s ballista fared a little better, but the soggy undead scourge would not be standing idly and would now be moving in on the River Rat and its crew. A plank was set and the party prepared to cut down the draugr with blades.

END OF SESSION

Notable NPCS:

  • Jake and Elwood Clues: Delivered their letter and will assist Campbell in Nikeah as per their part in the mission from the gods.
  • Loquar: Heading to Droskar’s crag on personal business.
  • Anatole Continuing his work as an investigator and researcher for the Returners.
  • Boram Slystone Once again enlisted to ferry you to your next destination.
  • Frankrook Blackforge Seemingly keeping up his bargain in jail. May be of further use down the road.
  • Oracle: Seriously hoping you’ll visit her on the mountain top. She’s very pretty, but stay away, Lance.
  • Banon: Smitten with Oracle and the man you’ll need to meet to deliver the report and your commendation papers. Perhaps ask about promotion to full membership?
  • Donny: Former owner of Antole’s nice boots. He’s an inventor who had packed a lot of tech to go to the top of a mountain. Doesn’t travel light.
  • Muskrat Merrick : Member of the Hunter’s Guild in Nikeah. A big fan of you guys, particuarly Redden. While not in high standing, nor particularly knowledgeable, he is an in with this group.
  • Jamul “Jim” Goldsun Captain of the Guard and most trusted civil servant in Nikeah, according to Campbell Williams. He is also part of the church of Sarenrae and has approached Christian on behalf of the faith.

    Notable Locations:

Lethe River: (From Muskrat Merrick) Known location of Bandit attacks, though Old Tom’s men shouldn’t be much of a problem any more, right? A good boat wouldn’t have much problems sailing up river, but sailors should be weary of giants, fey and monsters from the reaches. At its head is a lake, reported to have an ancient and big monster inside. Maybe a dinosaur? Redden got more information later.

Sabre Mountains (From Elwood) The usual mountain beasts such as snow leopards can be a menance. Worse yet, he says, are harpies which can be very dangerous. Shadow creatures, like the worg the party fought before, are said to be coming out of caves along the way up. The is a long and winding path up the mountain, but if you travel light enough you can scale right up the mountain and save a bunch of time

Hunting along the way should be good. There are salmon in the river and deer and rabbits in the wooded areas alongside of it. The mountain would have elk, goats, and many other beasts to prey upon for sustenance, but as always: be prepared.

Notable Things

Stenkol Stenkol is a super compressed coal filled with bits of precious minerals. It is highly valued by the dwarfs, particularly in powering their steam engines as it is a far more potent fuel.

View
Session 44 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

The party finished up their business in Mr. Big’s Hideout. They interrogated Frank the Tank and despite Frankrook Blackforge’s best efforts to be helpful, inform, and reiterate that he was hired to protect Big and not kill anyone, it was too hard to trust him outright. The Red Raven struck a deal with him. He would be stripped of his armor and equipment and sent to jail with the rest of the surviving criminals and once there he would be expected to be the Raven’s eyes and ears to see if any more intel could be gathered from the prisoners. He took the deal knowing it would be the best he could hope for given the circumstances.

They destroyed much of the drugs and kept only some samples as evidence. They gathered what loot they could (equipment, cash, and valuables not nailed down or too cumbersome to carry) and contemplated over how much they might be able to keep, as the money could be put to good use in helping the city. They locked up all of their prisoners save for Mr. Big in the on site jail cells where the city guards could collect them later. The plan was to take Big somewhere inconspicuous to interrogate him before making a decision as to what to do with him; Campbell knew just the place.

The Red Raven, along with his Unkindness, his rescued friends, and one captive crime boss exited via a secret door and left in small rowboats which lead out to a hidden tunnel on Lake Yggdrasil, just round the bend from the harbor. From there they found a secluded area to change into civilian clothes to be less conspicuous as they moved through the city.

Campbell found and hired a carriage to take Agnes, Garrett, and much of their spoils back to the Inn. He told the party to meet him in a secret tunnel that lead from the eastern camps to an exit by the Red Raven Inn. Once gone, Redden was tasked with sneaking towards the Drowning Cat Tavern with hopes of finding their ally “Twiggy” to deliver a letter and the box with drugs to the captain of the guard, Jamul Goldsun, whom Campbell said could be trusted.

Blackfeather was quick to track down her master, though most people would find it near impossible given his gift for stealth. Reunited, the two found themselves in sight of the boy outside the tavern, stuck in a seemingly endless line of questioning from a city guard. Redden had Blackfeather flap her wings to get Twiggy’s attention. The startling noise created a pause in the questioning long enough for the boy to ask if he could go home. The guard let him know he could always go to a guard station to report anything else he might have recalled and the two parted ways. Redden let the guard get some distance before surprising the boy with his presence. Cowled up as one of the Raven’s Unkindness, he gave the boy the box of drugs and the note. His instructions were clear: do not to look inside and head straight to the city guard headquarters to deliver everything to Captain Goldsun. He excitedly complied, running off into the night.

Redden returned to his friends only to find that agents Michael, Anatole, and Loquar were now with the group. They explained that they, too, found some of the Tears of Razmir after a string of encounters with thugs lead them to a party in the Upper Midgar district. Some artisans were having a grand time late into the night, and Loquar and Anatole were tasked with crashing the party and finding the drug dealer. They found the culprit selling what they called “Candy Drops” to wealthy merchants and artisans, and were noticed. The dealer attempted to escape them, but was foiled when the Raven got the literal drop on him outside and was also informed of the Mr. Big connection through interrogation. It was shortly after this that Michael received the message from Campbell’s messenger raven and they headed to the Drowning Cat to see about helping. They were happy to hear that everyone was safe and that they could all get some much needed rest once they extracted whatever information they could from Big. Michael was very familiar with the tunnel, saying it was a good way for Returner agents to enter or exit the city without calling attention to themselves. He took them directly.

Once there, they found Campbell with his badge light and some torches set up leading to a small cavern on the side of the tunnel. They sat down Big and checked his manacles before deciding on their approach. Impressed with their previous efforts with Herman, Campbell tasked them with leading the interrogation once again.

Knowing that Big was working for/with the Razmiran cultists, Christian and Lance adopted the identity of Heralds wearing the masks they took from Jack and Zuul, and the cloaks they looted from the temple in Tamran. They had Tequila use her illusionary magic to create the appearance of a torture chamber, and had Loquar, Redden, and Anatole stand in the shadows in order to increase their menacing presence. They came up with gimmicks using their limited magic and wondrous items, including floating the Traveler’s Any-Tool across the room to their waiting hands and transforming into a sharp hook next to Big’s face to up their intimidation factor.

With a slap to the face, Lance woke up the crime boss who swore out in pain and confusion. The effect of their setup was instantly felt and aside for some wriggling and foul language, Big did not put on much of a strong front. He had no idea what had happened, how he got wherever he was, and why they were doing this to him. Christian and Lance used this confusion to their advantage to get him to speak. They showed the Raven’s mask saying the masked vigilante was just a tool and that they had removed him from the equation now that he was no longer useful. They pressed on about the drugs, the money, and the nature of his relationship with Razmir. From this, they learned some useful information which Anatole added to his report:

  • The Razmirans were using him to sell their product in Nikeah, as one of many ventures to acquire gold.
  • Razmir herself got control of him by getting past his guards and using a green crystal pendant of great magical power to change him from a large human man to the pint-sized halfling he now was.
  • Big wanted nothing more than to be his old self again. He sold his home and much of his numerous belongings to make more gold.
  • Big’s didn’t know Razmir by her name, rather he knew her as “The Elf” or more personally as “The Bitch” and his description of her matched with what the party had previously put together from previous evidence.
  • The Razmirans showed up at irregular intervals to check in on his operations and collect gold from him and drop off more drugs. When his profits were good they presented him with a potion that made him bigger, but when they were not, they would smash the potion on the ground and take the money anyway.
  • It is unknown if anyone would be coming by again to pick up the money after the Temple of Razmir in Tamran had been shut down a month ago.
  • His recent push in the Low Key district was due to the appearance of the Red Raven. In order to keep the Raven away from the more profitable crime, he had men stage large numbers of smaller crimes to keep the bird busy.
  • After killing the Raven, Big claims he and Bobby were to try to use their newfound muscle to pull a heist on the vaults below the Temple of Abadar to gain enough gold to perhaps make The Elf happy enough to turn him back.
  • Razmir seems to be more interested in gold than general wealth.

After deftly knocking the halfing kingpin of crime out, the group discussed how to proceed. Campbell said that he would use the evidence and his connections to make sure that Mr. Big ended up at Blackgate prison as killing a prisoner was not the Returner Way. The party was lead to the exit by the Red Raven Inn, and was encouraged to go to their rooms to get some much needed rest after a long day, and a long, long night.

They woke up in the late morning to the smell of cooked bacon, and other delicious foods for breakfast. They made their way downstairs to find Campbell and all the other Returners at the table and were invited to join in. The help staff had been excused for the morning and the inn was closed to the public so that they might be able to speak frankly and candidly as they ate.

Curious about Garrett and particularly Agnes’ situation, the party learned that they were captured and brought to Big’s place when Agnes insisted on being walked home despite Campbell’s insistence that she stay at the inn for safety. She was able to convince Garrett because she actually held great influence. Indeed, she was the mother of Banon and the last surviving founding member of the Returners. When she wanted to sleep in her own bed; to hell with any danger because you best accommodate.

With this new revelation, thoughts and discussion went to Banon and the group of Returners who had been up in the mountains for quite some time without sending word. The party felt this strange, but right as this moment there was a loud banging at the door. From outside entered two men wearing Returner badges panting and clutching a message for Campbell Williams. He took it and opened it. He had to grin when he revealed to the party a painted canvas depicting three warriors and one tiny angel standing before a large mountain with twin peaks. The message read, “Send them here.” It was unsigned, but Campbell claimed it was definitely from the boss.

END OF SESSION

Important NPCS:

Mr. Big Another victim/pawn in Razmir’s attempts to amass great wealth.

Jamul “Jim” Goldsun: Captain of the Nikeah city guard. Trusted by Campbell to be a good and reliable officer.

Agnes Mother to Banon and last surviving founder of the Returners… yes?

Two Returners: They’ll be coming down the mountain when they come. They’ll be bringing strangely accurate depictions of you when they come. Oh, you’ll all go out to meet the leader, you’ll all go meet the leader, you’ll all go meet the leader when they come.

Important locations:

Blackgate Prison: Situated on the old captial island, the most dangerous of criminals are kept incarcerated for the safety of all of Gilead. This is the same place Viktor Von Zuul is supposedly being sent to.

Sabre Mountains: These towering twin peaks lie to the north of Nikeah and Kattegat. Banon, Oracle, and a number of other agents have been up there for nearly a month!

New Story Feat:

Returner’s Restraint

View
Session 43 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

Tequila’s illusionary curtains faded from view. This allowed the groups at either side of the room to see each other again and trade angry glances just as shouting could be heard from down the hall.

A man approached, in a rush, announcing to all that the Red Raven had taken down men at the Drowning Cat Tavern, and that only two people on his list showed up to be taken to the meeting. He stopped quite suddenly upon entering the room, surprised at the sight of combat and the tiny angel flying and singing above his head. The second man, running behind him didn’t take such quick notice of this and ended up running into the first. This bullrush sent the man flying forward onto the rug which then collapsed under his weight and caused him to drop 10 feet into a pit. Sounds of snarling and heavy, dragging footfalls could be heard from below, and shortly later screams as a killer crocodile ate him alive.

“Shouldn’t there be three down there, Bobby?” “We had to sell two of them.” “Son of a bitch.” “Fuggedaboutit.” Big and Bobby quipped.

The green-skinned assassin, refusing to die quickly or quietly made motions to push Christian into the pit behind him. Christian shifted himself and made an attempt to strike before he could be struck, but it was Lance’s longsword that slashed itself through the beastly man’s flesh and fell him.

Mr. Big rummaged through his desk. His tiny halfling hands were looking for something to perhaps turn the fight in his favour. Meanwhile his dwarven bodyguard interposed himself between Big and Lance, striking at him with a long reaching hammer with what Christian could recognize as phalanx fighting proficiency.

The group continued to fight bravely on as heavy feet could be heard approaching along with the sound of dragging metal across stone. From the hall emerged another thug announcing the arrival of The Immolator. A woman, nay, a mass of glistening, oily muscle and rage burst in from behind, grabbing the man and throwing him almost clear of the pit. He grabbed at the ledge and hung on for dear life above the killer croc below. From behind her partial mask, she snarled and howled out of a disfigured face as she raised her menacing-looking greatsword with ease. Big upped his price to encourage his men to take down the Raven and his Unkindness.

Not to be dissuaded, or perhaps a little insulted by the comparatively low of price they had on their heads, the party took bold moves in the fight. While the Raven took down the thug that was climbing up by Garret, Christian traded blows with the Immolator who promptly burst into flames as she attacked and hit Christian. She hit him hard. He hit back; hard. It was a critical strike that could have taken down an average person, but this flaming lady was anything but average. She howled on, ready to swing again when Redden took shots from across the room, with the second shot finding perfect precision and flying right through the Immolator’s mouth and through the back of her head dealing deadly damage that caused her to drop into a twitching, burning pile on the floor.

The collective jaws around the room dropped at the sight of such amazing violence. Mr. Big, cursing his luck, hopped on his desk and drank a potion. His small halfling body grew to the size of a slightly bigger than average man with silly looking halfling proportions to his head, hands and feet. He looked proud of himself and asked his friend “Do I look bigger, Bobby?” to which his friend smirked and replied, “Little bit, Biggy. Little bit.” Big grinned and cracked his neck and then his fingers, which were adorned with solid gold brass knuckles. He was ready to take care of this bird problem himself.

There was no end in sight as neither side was willing to give up. Another contender to Big’s prize moved silently into the room with great speed and grace. He unleashed a volley of arrows into the room, to which Christian put to use his god-given ability to attract arrows, protect his allies, and frustrate his opponents.

There were matchup all around the room. It was Biggie and his bodyguard against Lance, Bobby Dinero faced off with the Red Raven, and Christian held back the shots of this silent archer. Tequila provided much appreciated moral support and timely healing while Redden provided covering fire to help Christian take down his target before the man could perforate everyone in the room. Redden had a tendency to show a bit of competitive spirit when it came to facing off with other archers.

Campbell, the Red Raven, got a stroke of luck as Bobby took a wild swing with his heavy mace that swung a little too wild and his foot found exactly the wrong place. This caused another collapse of the rug and though he tried the best he could to maintain balance, he fell into the pit with the crocodile. With this, Campbell was free to help out Lance who was being tenderized by the pummeling of Mr. Big’s fists. At least part of Big’s reputation was true, he was quite a fierce brawler. He punched in a flurry of blows and cussed out Lance and his friends for coming into his home, dirtying up the place, and that he already gave “you guys” money.

Once the archer was taken down by Christian and Redden, and the Red Raven knocked out Mr. Big with a crushing blow to the cranium, his bodyguard “Frank” was quick to lay down arms and admit defeat. He knew he had failed his contract and was not willing to lay down his life. He slung his hammer on his back and put himself at the mercy of the group, making himself as helpful as possible.

WHERE IS SHE?!” the Red Raven barked out at him, to which he pointed to the wall behind. “If it’s the old lady you’re looking for, they took her through a hidden door there. I suppose they’ve got her imprisoned somewhere back there?”

The group found the door and the Raven rushed through after telling the group to make sure the dwarf didn’t try anything funny. The group tended to the wounded, tied up the bad guys and untied Garret. Frank helped out in whatever manner the party would allow him (mostly moving unconscious bad guys to be tied.)

Christian followed the Raven and was late to find him knocking out a guard within a room containing holding cells. There, sitting on a cot, her hands crossed at her lap was Agnes.

“It’s about time you got here. Is that you Campbell or is it Michael? I can never tell with that silly beard and gravelly voice.”

Campbell tried to stifle that line of conversation, assuring her quietly that it was him and that she would be okay. He and Christian took her into the large meeting room where she found a comfortable place to sit alongside Garret who was shaken but okay.

When questioned about the whole thing, the Raven took control of the conversation and hinted strongly that people are much safer when they stay inside their homes or places of work at night. Garret claimed that Agnes didn’t want to stay at the inn and insisted he walk her home and they were attacked by unseen assailants and thrown into a carriage. However, they stopped the line of questioning there. The group felt it would be best to conduct further conversation away from the ears of a dwarf whom was fighting them just minutes prior.

They searched the hideout and found many valuables and notable items. There were chests with coins, but no gold, in Bobby’s room along with legers going back years. Christian found that a month ago there was a large sum of gold given to someone listed as “The Elf.”

Redden found a booby-trapped door that sprayed red paint all over his hands before making his way into Big’s room. There, among the lavish and opulent furniture and décor, he found a covered painted portrait of Mr. Big. The subject of the painting was a different Mr. Big. This Mr. Big better fit the description of the hulking mountain of a man enjoying a life of wealth. Why did he keep this obvious symbol of pride hidden? And why did a halfling need a king sized bed and an armoire full of plus sized fine clothes? Also, why did the chest in his room contain sacks of only gold coins?

Of course they found a number of other valuables, silverware, masterwork kitchen knives, and a bottle of fine vintage wine, and the villains they fought had some masterwork weaponry. The Immolator’s greatsword was made of an interesting metal that seemed to retain heat. Big’s solid gold brass knuckles would fetch a good price, too, though the two potions tucked away in his desk were a much more intriguing prize. Tequila examined them and concluded that they were transmutation magic, and likely the same that Big used to make himself, well, big.

Most importantly, the group found crates of drugs that they identified as the “tears of Razmir” which they had previously encountered while infiltrating the cult in Tamran.

With many new questions left unanswered we ended the session there, to be continued in 6 weeks.

END OF SESSION

NOTABLE NPCS

Mr. Big – What’s up with this guy?

Bobby Was eaten by a crocodile. A little bit. A little bit.

The Immolator In life, she burned with rage; literally.

The Silent Archer Not so great at parties.

Frank the Tank Potentially a useful ally, or simply an asshole looking out for his best interests. Maybe both?

Agnes: Venerable, sassy, and safe from harm.

HOMEWORK:

With such a long break between this session and the next, and particularly because we’re entering a phase of investigation, you should be taking notes on what your character is most concerned with. What questions does he have? With whom does he wish to speak?
Keep in mind that questions aren’t only reserved for the bad guys.

View
Session 42 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

Tensions were running high as the last of the thugs were put down. There was an exchange between the Red Raven and Cheech “Badrock” Bedrock and Christian took note that the bar staff in their silken clothes were nervously shuffling by the tables and exchanged looks with their boss.

T he Red Raven ordered a round of drinks for his Unkindness, ordering a “Holy Bartender” for himself as he approached Cheech with a rapier drawn. Cheech lowered his crossbow and made eyes for his girls to drop their guard. He wasn’t happy about what had transpired, but he wasn’t looking for any more trouble or negative attention drawn to his place of business. At very least, the thugs were very quickly bound and piled up outside of the tavern for the guards to discover. Only Lance actually took his drink, feeling as though he had earned it.

As the group worked, tending to the deadly wounds of some thugs and tying them up, the infamous “Stick-Man” revealed himself to be a young man, barely more than a boy. His face was painted with some kind of stage makeup in an attempt to look older. Campbell remarked that that he was more of a twig than a stick and nicknamed the boy “Twiggy.” The boy took no offence, and seemed to be genuinely interested in helping. He was a big fan and claimed he’s been working with the Raven all along, citing the morning at the Jarl’s longhouse as an example. Campbell seemed to recognize something about the boy, but it was neither the time nor the place to hash that out.

Twiggy informed the Red Raven and his party that he had taken the liberty of staking out the place under the guise of a practical joke for the regulars who had become bored with the same old, unmoving stickman. The joke was on Cheech as the position allowed him to sit and listen and observe the place in relative peace. He said that the beautiful girls, in particular, were trouble, taking advantage of young and innocent adventuring types. Getting them drunk, loving them up, stealing their goods, and dumping them somewhere else. Cheech took offence to the kid talking so openly about his operations and without outright admitting to his crimes, said he should fire the kid for his allegations. The boy quite simply told him he could take the job and re-staff it.

Twiggy also took notice of the actions of Herman, who had been offering work and paying people out of the bar these past few nights. Strangely, Herman would occasionally come up from the basement without having previously entered through the front door. This information gave the Red Raven and the party exactly the line of questioning they required of the man.

They struck a deal with Cheech to use his kitchen downstairs as an interrogation room. The Raven trusted Christian and Lance with interrogating Herman. He didn’t trust Cheech, so he Redden and Twiggy remained upstairs to avoid any funny business.

Lance took on the roll of ‘bad guard’, donning Jack’s mask and a few kitchen knives to intimidate the criminal. Christian, took on a softer touch as the ‘good guard’ who could potentially protect the poor guy from Lance’s harsh methods, if only he could tell them everything he knew. It didn’t take long before Herman went from tough and ignorant, but sobbing and spilling out all the secrets he knew. He valued his toenails and really wanted the man in the iron mask away from him.

He revealed the he was indeed paying out the copper and silver out of the Drowning Cat Tavern for Mr. Big. Big was operating underground, in a literal sense. He had a hideout in the sewers, and those in the know could find the place through the many turns in the tunnels by following chalk markings on the wall shaped like circles with arrows pointing in the right direction. He assured the men that they would find no trouble or traps should they follow the markings. Most importantly, he told them Big and his right hand man Mr. Dinero were having a midnight meeting with people hired to kill the Red Raven and that a message would be delivered to the Raven tonight.

When Christian and Lance came back upstairs they walked in as the Red Raven was completing a speech about how crime doesn’t pay and how justice always catches up with criminals. They took Campbell aside and informed him of what they were told. He immediately went outside and mumbled under his cloak for a moment. A raven appeared out of nowhere and headed off in a north easterly direction, where the party were told Michael was also playing the role of the Red Raven. He informed the party that with the meeting fast approaching, this would be a good time to deal a decisive blow to Mr. Big before things could escalate further. He said the party should get whatever things they needed from Boram’s boat as quickly as possible, so that they could head underground before the city guards arrived at the Drowning Cat.

The party did exactly that, deciding to get underground before they lost time to answering questions from the guards. They left that responsibility to Twiggy who was disappointed to not join the Red Raven’s Unkindness, but happy to provide the help required of him. He promised to do his best to further the Red Raven’s agenda and to make sure the men they arrested were brought to justice. Tonight, the city jails would likely be filled with broken men telling the stories of the Red Raven and his Unkindness.

Blackfeather stayed safely above ground, circling nervously in the skies while Tequila took her place hiding in Lance’s backpack ready to provide support if need be. The party went down to the kitchen in the basement of the tavern and into the sewers.

It was dark and smelled bad, as they expected. Redden found his mythic eyes quickly adjusted to the environment. He promptly discovered bootprints and followed them to the first chalk marking on the wall. So far, Herman’s intel seemed legitimate. Campbell put on some goggles and said he’d keep watch for trouble from behind and that the party should take the lead in getting them all to Big’s hideout.

Round some bends, following the markings, and taking leaps across stagnant waters, Redden found a torch lit at a door and a large collection of dirty boots. He didn’t notice activity coming from within, and took it upon himself to throw the boots into the waters to prevent anyone inside from giving chase. He collected his friends and they had to decide on a plan. They could kick the door in, or try for a stealthy approach. They decided that a mix of the two would likely be the best method. They’d try to be sneaky, but would be at the ready for fighting should it come down to it.

It was somewhere around midnight when they opened the unlocked door to what they believed to be Mr. Big’s hideout. Within they found that the first room was surprisingly clean for a sewer. A cloakroom/supply closet full of cleaning supplies, clean boots, candles, and more alluded to this place being well kept. A heavy door lead to the south, and a door to the east was slightly ajar and from inside came the sound of two men talking and a mix of scents that the party identified as scented candles and marinara sauce. This combined with the smell of the sewers behind them made for an almost sickening mix. They listened to the men.

The men conversed about whom they thought would be the one to kill the Red Raven: the dwarf, the archer, or the guy with the knives. The party took their chances trying to disguise themselves as hired men here for the meeting. Lance used his hat to make himself a “dwarf” of a man. Redden was already good at passing for an archer. Christian decided to just look tough while the Red Raven and Tequila kept to the back, ready to assist at a moment’s notice.

The party knocked and went in. They introduced themselves, and one uneasy look later Christian found himself knocking out the first guy and his friends finished the rest without even the need for the Red Raven to intervene. They had a moment to gather themselves as more voices came from a door in the south east corner of the room. They tried to hold off attention with a bluff and some time to close some doors and to take a look at a list held by one of the men in the kitchen.

They noticed quite a few names and brief descriptions listed, crossed out were "Frank the Tank " “The Sterling Archer” and “Slash” The party took note that these people must all ready be here, while others may not have arrived. Lance took a look at the list and decided to disguise himself with his mask as “The Immolator” someone hiding their burned face from the world. Redden found himself drawn to someone listed as “Quiet Archer – Silent but deadly.” Christian, again decided to just look tough and see how it goes.

Someone was coming from behind the door and there wasn’t much time to worry about fabricated identities. They knocked out the first man to get in their way and headed into a long, narrow hallway with the Immolator at the front and The Red Raven climbing and moving along the ceiling along with Tequila, in an effort to move just out of sight above the doors to the west. They had almost reached the end of the hall when the door opened and someone stepped right in front of Lance. Lance did his best to impersonate the Immolator, but his lack of knowledge about the character and a particularly insightful thug prevented their success. Men started to stir in their barracks to the west, but the party was quick enough to not suffer a pincer attack in the hall and could instead fight their way into the barracks and take advantage of the wider space. The party noted that between the kitchen and barracks, the furniture and décor of this hideout looked like it was stolen from a nobleman’s mansion.

Together, they quickly dispatched of the men until only one remained. Campbell, as the Red Raven, tried to get more information out of the last one standing. Utterly intimidated, the man spilled that Big and everybody were around the corner in the meeting room and likely questioning the prisoners. When pressed on the subject, the goon said there were two prisoners… an old lady and some guy with a messed up face. Campbell gasped and knocked out the man. Recognizing this as likely the “message” for the Red Raven, he aid that the group best move fast. If Garret and Agnes were in trouble, they needed to act now. He stressed that while he did care for Garret, it was utmost importance that they rescue Agnes and ensure her safety. He told them to be ready to fight as he rushed around the corner and listened at the slightly open door.

In the surprisingly opulently decorated room, someone was indeed questioning Garret about the identity of the Red Raven. He was still healthy enough to play “dumb” and claim that the inn was named after THE Red Raven and that whoever was running around in the cowl must be a copycat, though he must be doing something right if they are that scared. This upset his captors who went on to threaten him with a crossbow and hurting the old lady.

With this Campbell A. Williams, the Red Raven, nodded to his allies and burst through the door and engaged the enemy. He rushed in and put on a dazzling display with his aklys, swinging it with such grace and precision to add weight to his growling words, warning them against hurting anyone. Many in the room were shaken by his sudden, and surprising appearance.

He warned his group to watch the corners he noted a bit of a crowd.
Across from him, he spotted a halfling sitting on a desk with a crossbow (Mr. Big) and a heavily armored dwarf at his side (Frank the Tank.) In the center of the room was a tall, imposing man with a heavy mace on his shoulder (Bobby Dinero, the money man) stood above Garret, who was tied to a chair. In the corners were some thugs, and people matching the descriptions of Slash and the Sterling Archer. Mr. Big and Mr. Dinero were wearing some sleak looking parade armor, while the other Lance would go on to recognize as clothes pertaining to guilds of bodyguards, bounty-hunters, and could assume the last with his dark clothes, knives, and vials was an assassin.

The halfling “Mr. Big” inspired the men in the room with a promise of 1000gp to the one who killed the Red Raven, and 100gp for any of his helpers. He himself stuck to his desk and kept his bodyguard by his side. This was his way of mitigating their fears and helping them get the drop on the Red Raven, but he didn’t count on the Raven having such capable help.

The party wasted no time, and put to use their gods-given abilities to coordinate their movement and attacks accompanied by a rousing soundtrack by their angelic companion. They stormed into the room and Redden and Lance dispatched the Sterling Archer. Lance fell the handsome bounty hunter as he attempted to make a last ditch point-black shot. Christian cornered the assassin Slash, keeping the agile killer at bay. Without a flanking partner or room to maneuver, and despite some attempted trickery, he was quickly brought to the brink of defeat. A closer look at his snarling pale green face revealed to Christian that this assassin was another of the mutated people of Aveh, much like the bandit leader King Kilmister he defeated in Kili’s Quarry.

Campbell, who had leaped to the side of his friend and smashed Mr. Dinero on the head, warned the party of strangely uneven ground beneath the rugs. The party took positions to put a choke on “Bobby.” Mr. Big took offense to their dirty boots treading through his home and on his nice rugs, but had trouble coordinating his men from behind an illusionary curtain drawn shut by the tiny lyrakien, Tequila. Christian nearly fell through the floor after charging over the rugs in the center of the room. It seemed to be that they did more than just tie the room together. Tequila provided even more support with the wand of grease to hinder the movements of Bobby and Slash.

The session ended mid combat, the party with the upperhand, and Bobby trying to get Big’s attention to look at Lance’s mask. How did he recognize it?

END OF SESSION

NOTABLE NPCS:

Stickman / Twiggy: Young sellsword working undercover and trying his best to impress the Red Raven

Cheech Bedrock: He and his girls are kind of small-time and usually prey on naïve adventurers. Agreed to be helpful if the Red Raven and his Unkindness put a stop to all the fighting in his establishment and stay out of trouble.

Herman: Thoroughly intimidated by Lance’s kitchen knives and cutting words spilled the beans about Big’s underground hideout, secret meeting, and plans to send a message to the Red Raven.

Campbell A. Williams / The Red Raven: Conjures birds and has some cool goggles. Let you take point a number of times this night.

Mr. Big Described as a hulking man, but looks like a halfling to you. A bit of a neat-freak and kinda hates you right now.

Mr “Bobby” Dinero: Big’s money man and consigliere.

Hired Muscle:

Sterling Archer: Bountyhunter proficient in hunting for men in urban environments. Was armed with a well-made composite shortbow.
Slash: Green skinned, mutate assassin with a penchant for knives.
Frank The Tank Bodyguard. You assume it’s a dwarf under all that metal. Has a long lucerne hammer.

Garrett Anravis and Agnes: Taken prisoner and paying the price for working at a place called the Red Raven Inn. Campbell seems particularly protective of Agnes.

View
Session 41 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

The party had Campbell’s full attention now, after their return from Clover Keep, the attack of the Cryohydra, and now the stories of the djinni, and demiplanes, and the ancient cultures who toyed with them. There was no more room to discount their tales as exaggerations; it wasn’t bullshit.

As the conversation was about to progress to the topic of our heroes moving on to report to Banon, the Oracle, and the other Returners up in the mountains to the north, Campbell was rather quick to interject and make a personal request.

He told them that soon, he and Michael would be heading out for their now nightly patrols which had rendered them rather tired and weary. He lamented that despite an increase in guards around the city, there had somehow been more and more crimes with each passing night. Michael went on to explain that a number of robberies, assaults, arsons, and more had kept them far too busy and they needed more help to nip this situation in the bud before it got even worse.

Campbell said that, all things considered, they should consider themselves lucky. His grandfather Aric, the original Red Raven had quite a gallery of rogues challenging him on the regular; even a clown with a really sick sense of humor. He hoped that with a strong enough reputation most criminals wouldn’t dare to call upon the wrath and ire of the Red Raven.

Campbell and Michael’s proposal involved the party taking on the role of the Red Raven’s ‘Unkindness’, his black-cowled army of the night, as seen outside of the Jarl’s longhouse days ago. He recognized their many talents and gifts, but stressed that there could not be any personal glory for anyone but the Red Raven. With their added muscle and fantastic feats, along with their increasingly abundant trove of wondrous items, he hoped that they could build up the legend of the Red Raven to untold levels, and figure out just why the crime-spree was escalating.

Anatole spoke up with his own theory: someone was trying to wear down the Red Raven with hopes of putting a stop to his brand of vigilante justice. If the Red Raven was a man, he could be beaten, and the more tired and spread thin a man was, the easier it would be to dispose of him. What these criminals didn’t know or count on was that there were actually two Red Ravens, and with the help of the Returners; a formidable Unkindness.

A previously captured informant, Tight-Lip Tony, would take days in jail to break before offering up anything, but with a little luck and a lot of legwork, Campbell believed they could crack the case that night by stopping crimes as they happened and questioning the criminals themselves.

The group agreed to help. Lance, Redden and Christian would accompany Campbell in the more crime ridden Lower Midgard district while Anatole and Loquar would accompany Michael and ensure that the crimes weren’t spreading to Upper Midgard. The Returners would not, under any circumstances, be showing any badges nor would they flaunt their identities or personal reputations as heroes for fear of retaliation and to better build up the legend of the Red Raven. Instead, they would wear disguises of sorts. Christian would cover his ornate breastplate and dress as a mercenary patrolling the streets. Redden, in his stealthiest of blacks, would stick to the shadows and be as a helpful ghost if things got out of hand. Lance used his hat of human guise to magically appear as a non-descript, non-threatening halfling with an angel hidden in his backpack. Anatole and Loquar opted for typical civilian garb to blend in where needed. They’d all carry the black cowls of the unkindness with them and would wear them when things got hairy.

They also agreed to avoid killing the criminals if at all possible, as was the Returner way. Campbell suggested using a sap or blunt arrows. Their strength and skill would surely be enough to drop street thugs rather easily without the need for excessive violence. Campbell and Michael had trained for years to use a light hammer known as an aklys for dealing non-lethal damage, to trip, and to intimidate their foes. There would hopefully be no need for dismemberment tonight. Besides, a lot of attention could be drawn by walking around with many large weapons hanging off their backs and belts.

So, after dropping off some equipment on the River Rat and changing into their disguises, Campbell’s group made their way into Lower Midgard sometime before 11pm. Within 20 minutes they came across and subsequently put a stop to a thug shaking down a merchant for protection money. The merchant was on his way home after a long day of selling cabbage and produce and likely a night of drinking, judging by the time. The loud shouting of the thug gave way trouble early on and allowed the group time to take positions. The Red Raven quickly and stealthily circled around a block to flank the criminal, while the others took positions. Redden took note of how the Red Raven took advantage of the shadows and features of the urban terrain to hide his presence, and he too found a great vantage point; bow at the ready. Lance and Christian approached the arguing men. Christian faked his best drunken stagger, what they called a “Clortho Shuffle” back in Grimby.

Not impressed with interlopers, the thug was ready to attack these nosy strangers when the Red Raven sprung from the shadows, his cape outstretched and menacing. The criminal, ready to run, were taken by surprise as the two strangers punched him in the face and softened him up with saps, blunt arrows. Moving up and grabbing at the thug’s hide shirt, the Raven did some very convincing intimidation. Through all this, they found out that he was working for someone named “Mr. Big” because his brother-in-law promised him it would be good, easy money. The Red Raven recognized the name, but had a hard time believing it. Mr. Big hadn’t been heard of for years. The thug didn’t seem to know much more, so they left him tied up and had the merchant find the town guard to arrest him. The Raven then grabbed some silver out of the thug’s pocket and tossed it to the merchant, telling him to take care of his family. Blackfeather flew in and grabbed Redden’s arrow and carried it back to the shadows, the merchant was momentarily startled by the flutter of wings in the night as the group disappeared into the darkness.

They moved on, through dark alleyways and stayed off the bigger roads to avoid detection. Campbell let them know that Mr. Big was a crime boss that supposedly disappeared years ago. He was reputed to be a huge, mountain of a man who could crush the life out of anyone who got in the way of his greed and ambition. He was never caught, and nobody knew what became of him. Most presumed that he had collected as much as he wanted and simply moved on. Most people, Campbell included, had never even laid eyes on the man.

They heard shouting in the distance and found a circle of three men beating down on prone victim, howling in pain. “Nobody holds out on Biggie!” one shouted. “Pay up, chef!” they went on. The group moved in quick to put an end to the violence. The thugs were so focused on their beatdown that they didn’t see a group of courageous cowled avengers moving in on them. Redden took point on a rooftop to provide covering fire, while the others moved in swiftly. “Boo!” quoth the Raven as he dropped one of the thugs in one well placed blow; his startling appearance seemed to play a big part in getting the drop on enemies. “Time to serve up some savoury justice,” he announced. Campbell seemed to be having a bit of fun at the expense of the downed chef’s situation, but the criminals were scared enough to buy into it. Lance struck hard with his sap, Christian with the blunt side of his scimitar, and Redden fired ‘warning shots’ to keep the thugs from running. The Red Raven worked with what was given, and informed the criminals that they best look up before they even consider any wrong-doing, because if they didn’t see him, they’d at least see his army of the night raining justice and arrows from above.

By the end of it, only one thug remained conscious and was intimidated thoroughly by the group. Lines such as “Meat is best after it’s been tenderized” and such were thrown around as he was tied up along with the rest. He, too, gave up what he knew. He said that they indeed worked for Big, but didn’t know from where he operated… only where they got paid. A man named Herman was their contact and he could be found at the Drowning Cat Tavern. Chef Dingle thanked the Red Raven and his group for their assistance, and bid them good luck in their pursuits before agreeing to fetch the city guard so that these criminals would get their just desserts.

The group made their way through the city at night and arrived at the Drowning Cat promptly. They worked on a quick plan when they got there. The group would move in one at a time and try to figure out who was Herman, while taking up strategic points. Five minutes later, the Red Raven would make his entrance using the party’s horn of fog, and some dancing lights from their lyrakien friend to up his supernatural presence and put some fear into the bad guys.

As they made their way in, one at a time, the place was much the same as they remembered it: same dankness, same grumpy looking dwarf behind the bar, same stick-man in the corner, only this time with two groups of “unsavoury” types were guffawing and speaking rudely to each other. Christian got some ale at the bar. Redden took to a table and through low profile, didn’t even attract the waitresses’ attention. Lance approached the bartender Cheech as “Mr. Underhill” in search of whisky and work in that order. The whisky wasn’t great, but provided Lance with the little pick-me-up he’d come to rely on more and more. Cheech laughed off the prospect of a halfling providing any kind of muscle, but suggested he could perhaps be involved with something that rhymed with “huggling” before sending him off to speak with Herman and his group at the far table. The mention of Herman got Lance excited and he headed over to the table to introduce himself.

Herman and his group of malfeasants also got a good laugh at Mr. Underhill’s expense as they, in their expert opinions, felt Halflings were short and looked funny. They wanted to see if a little man could hold his liquor, and just as his first drink was being poured the door was kicked in with a blaring of a horn and the sudden appearance of fog and light. Everyone’s focus was on the door for a second that felt like an hour, glasses dropped to the floor and the whisky meant for Lance’s glass was instead poured all over the table and floor in front of him, barely missing his pants. This, by the way, would be considered alcohol abuse by our hard drinking hero.

“Criminal scum of Nikeah. Your reckoning has arrived!” The Red Raven blasted. The more thug-like patrons rose from their seats wielding hitherto unseen weapons. Short swords, short bows, and some with hand crossbows. Using his aklys, the Red Raven pulled out a chair from under one such patron. Undeterred, and feeling power in their numbers, they focused their swings and shots at the masked vigilante in the center of the tavern. He deftly dodged their attacks until his Unkindness kindly joined the fight. Redden masked up and fired an arrow at one of the armed men, Lance threw whisky in the eyes of another, while Christian made his way to the center of the room to join the Red Raven in a target rich environment. He cowled up and, for the night, fancied himself “Nightwing.” He took great delight in knocking crossbow bolts and arrows out of the air before they could hurt anyone.

Chaos ensued as other patrons and barstaff cowered against the far wall towards the door, and Cheech himself dug out a heavy crossbow from under the bar. He shouted out at everyone “Not in my bar! Knock it off!” and swung his crossbow around without taking a single shot, seemingly unsure who to side with.

From the back corner, the assumed ‘stick-man’ got up, calling to the Red Raven. “Yeah! Red Raven! I worked with you days ago! You’re awesome! Let me help you!” he grabbed a bottle from the bar and made his way to the center of the room, ready to break it on a thug. He smashed it on the back of a man tugging at a barmaid under a table, putting a stop to his efforts and freeing the lady from the man’s lecherous grasp. As the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished,” so he was rewarded with some swings from the thugs near him . The Red Raven then had to focus on keeping this man safe. The cowering patrons sounded their support as well. The reputation of the Red Raven was indeed increasing in Nikeah!

Christian, Lance, and Redden managed to take down Herman’s entourage, and subsequently Herman himself. Some were knocked out, while others were left bleeding and in need of serious medical attention. Eyes shifted back to the Red Raven who flipped over the shoulders of the last goon standing and wrapping the rope from his aklys around his neck and bringing the poor bastard down hard on his head; knocking him out.

END OF SESSION

NOTABLE NPCS

  • Mr. Big Big man making a big comeback in Nikeah. This crime boss was previously MIA, but now as the city seemed on the verge of repair has strangely doubled down on his effforts.
  • Herman One of Mr. Big’s goons, reportedly handing out work and payment at the Drowning Cat Tavern.
View
Session 40 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

Separated by time and/or space, the party had to decide what to do.

Outside, on the deck of the Caitlin’s Breeze, the angels explained that there is a second part to the rite. The binding had to be completed, and that if Lance and Redden wanted to save their friend they better be quick, they’d have less than a minute. They worried that the djinni would trick Christian into making a wish that could be twisted to horrible effect and negate their efforts, or worse.

Redden thought jumping in would be suicide, but Lance didn’t think they had a choice. They couldn’t just leave Christian in there alone with the angry djinni. Tequila and the other voice stressed to have faith that even should the worst thing happen and they get trapped, to remember that when Desna closes a door, she opens a window.

Lance instructed Boram to toss in a rope after them, the proceeded to take a drink for courage and chased it with a potion of curing before jumping in to the rift. Redden reluctantly followed, cursing “Fucking Lance!”

Inside, the djinni indeed tried to bargain and manipulate Christian; though Christian would have none of it. Christian was prepared to die in there before releasing the djinni to hurt and kill people both directly and indirectly through robbing the people of Nikeah of their source of warmth and protection. He grabbed a golden chalice sitting at a ledge in front of the djinni. Not caring so much about the cup, but rather frustrated by Christian’s unwillingness to wish the two of them out somehow, the Djinni attacked the Paladin. Christian deflected the blow by grace of Seranrae and returned the attack in kind (mythic point) just as the first chain of binding connected to the djinni’s leg and Redden and Lance dropped in from above. Fucking Lance!

Christian was both happy and upset to see his friends. He was worried that they’d just doomed themselves along with him. He lamented to himself that he couldn’t save them from themselves. Lance said that help was on the way, and to trust him. Redden with his any-tool grappling hook, expertly tossed a rope up and out of the opening above them. The djinni looked up from his bound ankle and around the tall chamber. He was seemingly unable to see the opening as a second rope made its way down by Redden’s feet.

Lance made his way around to Christian’s side, and created an opening for Christian to take another swing at the Jarl of the North Winds. His scimitar this time cut off the very end of the djinni’s beard, angering him further. The furious djinni brought his large warhammer down, crunching against Christian’s armor and shaking him to the core, then took a second swing at Lance which he dodged artfully.

The group then felt it best they pull a hasty retreat as the magical bindings once again took hold of the djinni’s limbs… now both legs were clasped and the creature was pulled back to the center of the altar.

Redden was first up a rope, expertly climbing out of a combination of skill and fear. Lance and Christian were behind him. The djinni made efforts to tempt them again with wishes, and swung out his arms at Redden, missing him in the process.

What followed was a struggle; the djinni against his magical bindings and Lance and Christian against time. The ropes swung a bit wildly from the narrowing portal opening above. Once Redden could get his head through, he shouted at Boram to assist in pulling the ropes up and to get help. Boram complied and had Steve and Sam come to his aid. They tried as best they could, but it was all for naught.

As the binding ritual came to a close, so too did the opening and the ropes above Christian and Lance’s heads were cut, sending them falling to the floor. Redden and the others above were speechless and heartbroken. Inside, the djinni was locked in place and no longer struggling. The runes on the walls glowed with intensity and the air grew instantly warmer. Waters started to pour into the well nearby.

Christian and Lance had a brief exchange. Christian not so much approving of Lance’s decision to simply take a drink and dedicate it to Desna, in foolish hope that she would “open a window.” But, sure enough, as he finished, they could hear the waters in the well rushing. Upon inspection the waters were now draining down in a whirlpoo. It seemed to the two trapped heroes that this would indeed be their only chance at escape. Lance helped Christian out of his breastplate to make the swimming easier. Then Christian jumped in and was taken around and down by the rushing currents. He gave a quick thumbs up as he went down. Lance dove in after him. Christian soon felt his feet hit bottom and could feel a narrow opening just big enough for his person. Lance’s feet kicked at his head before Christian could navigate through it with Lance following suit. They felt a pang of nausea and heard a whoom! -like sound as they popped out, soaking wet below the floating orb and a very relieved Tequila. As they got up, their eyes met those of their friends who were equally amazed and surprised to seem them again.

“You are welcome!” Lance happily exclaimed upon catching his breath. Maybe it was the drink talking, but Fucking Lance’s risky decision did indeed save Christian from a needless sacrifice.

All could see Tequila slump down as though her angelic possession was now complete and the orbs slowly floated down to the deck, taking a resting position. The fog was very quickly pushing back further and further, revealing a beautiful clear day across the lake.

The party very carefully stowed away the orbs before helping out the nobles, and the two imbecilic swabbies to keep the secret as best they could before amassing everyone and attaching a tow-line from the River Rat to the naval vessel for transportation. The dwarven engines work hard to pull the large ship.

On the way, nobles asked about their heroes. Lance bragged of their triumphs, particularly his own as a hometown hero of Grimby, how he put a stop to political and theological corruption in Tamran, and recent turns in Nikeah as a liberator of slaves, and slayer of the hydra as he “captained” the Caitlin’s Breeze while it was being towed. Redden trained Blackfeather and Christian prayed to Seranrae under the bright light of day.

Tequila took some time to “read” a story off the cup Christian found in the prison, revealing a dark history. The ship swabbie, Jay, hit on her only to have her gently shut him down and preach to him the ways of Desna, god of travel and how he might live a happier, more productive life in service of this cosmic butterfly. Lance expressed interest in having her ask the other angels more questions next week and took note of what they might ask.

They arrived back in Nikeah late on the fourth day, barely keeping their promise. Communal fires burned but the air didn’t feel cold. The welcoming girl they saw when they first arrived made brief eye-contact before recognizing and going out of her way to avoid them. The group escorted the nobles to their home district before bringing the Vernal Orbs back to the Jarl’s longhouse to hopefully meet with him.

Guards greeted them at the door, and as one went inside to announce their return, the other filled them in on happenings in the city. City guard, military, reachmen, and Returners worked together to secure the safety of the city as temperatures dropped a few days before. The Red Raven was reportedly spotted in many places around the city, aiding in making the arrests of looters, arsons, and more. He recognized the group as those who slew the hydra and shook their hands as they entered.

The Jarl looked tired, as though he had hardly rested in days but was quiet overjoyed to see them back with the orbs. They explained all that happened and stressed a serious need to better document just what these orbs are and how they function, and perhaps look for a better way to deal with the wrongly imprisoned djinni within. The creature was angry because of his current situation and could be set loose again someday. They suggested the jarl work with the Returners, and perhaps Ragnar to keep the secret with a few trust-worthy people to ensure the safety of future generations. They enjoyed some drinks and food and were rewarded with local titles (Thane), treasure (Box totalling 4500gp) , and a magical horn of fog.

The group then made their way to the Red Raven Inn. Agnes was working late and was impressed with their heroics, smiling flirtatiously at Lance as he gave her the quick version. They made their way upstairs, where they found the others having a talk. Campbell and Michael both looked exhausted after the last few days and nights, dreading the need to go out again shortly. Anatole was buried in tomes and parchment rolls. He informed the group that he was still working on file on Razmir and elves, specifically. He was not surprised to have the group tell him that the elves were also somehow tied to the djinni. Loquar, whose presence came as a surprised, told them that he stayed in town a bit longer to help out while they were gone and that any day now he should be expected to lead another expedition to Droskar’s Crag in the western territories. The party requested that he summon an air elemental to see what state the plane of air was in and if any information could be told of the Mad Caliph through some translation through Tequila.

The session ended mid-conversation.

END OF SESSION

View
Session 39 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

The prisoners shielded their eyes from the bright lights of Christian’s badge. He announced his group as Returners here to help. They pleaded with him to please hurry. Redden took to work opening the door. Within there were 4 nobles who claimed to have arrived 2 nights ago after being pulled through the skies at high speed. They didn’t know why they were taken. When asked of their family heritage, they informed that they were indeed part of the founding families of the city of Nikeah generations ago. They said the blue man who captured them claimed they would pay for the sins of their forefathers, but were just as confused as our heroes as to why it happened.

In the next room over, Redden heard more voices pleading for help before the creature returned. Within they found four more nobles, including the venerable Tharsten Trut, who had all been taken the night before. They, too, offered little in the way of help. They relayed only their fears and pleaded to the party save them from the blue monster that stole them away and flew them to this isolated prison. The group fed the prisoners pickles from a nearby storeroom and tried to alleviate their concerns while wondering what they were supposed to do. Many feared that the djinni could return any moment. As they conversed, Tharsten asked repeatedly if they had the key, and Tequila felt panic take hold. She cast a spell on Lance, allowing them to communicate with long range whispers, and took wing back to the River Rat. She told him she would let him know of any trouble coming.

The group was at a loss with the prisoners as they surely couldn’t sail the ship and trailing it slowly behind the River Rat would only keep them a target of the djinni should it return. They heard movement upstairs; something was afoot! As they made to rush towards the upper decks, they were confronted by some mephits. In the crowded lower deck, they fought bravely and fell the monsters that impeded their progress, though one managed to fly upstairs.

They told the prisoners to stay where they were as they would likely be safer in their cells. Tequila whispered to Lance that she could feel something was coming, and with that Christian felt a shift; as if the walls of the ship were vibrating or warbling with some unheard oscillation or pitch. They pushed forward and the wood of the walls themselves warped and blocked their path.

Christian, leading the charge, smashed through the barricade with his mace and they quickly ran up the stairs to the middle deck. He was greeted with the slashing guisarmes of two mephits whom the party also took to dispatching. Lance, in particular, found his longsword making short work of the creatures.

There was something in the air, all right. And the party pushed forward, paying particular attention to the walls when the floor instead opened beneath them almost swallowing Christian if not for a quick catch by Redden who swung him to safety around the corner. They assisted each other and pressed forward up to the main deck. Tequila reached out to Lance and her voice suddenly dropped a few octaves as someone or something was taking hold of her. The voice informed Lance that the vessel they knew as Tequila would be indisposed, and that they should keep her safe as the angels worked their magic.

It was on the main deck that they encountered an enormous and imposing figured of an ancient blue man with legs like tornadoes and a voice that lingered in the wind. Blackfeather circled overhead and squawked in panic. The distant sound of barking and whimpering was telling that the dogs had returned to the shady hall leading to the captain’s quarters; likely trapping Jay and Swabby Bob within. There was no sign of Tequila. The djinni known to some as Niflheim and to others as Jarl of the North Wind demanded to know where the Vernal Orbs were, and just who dared to venture onto his ship.

Set aback, the group stepped onto the main deck and started to speak to the hulking creature that huffed and puffed in frustration. They introduced themselves and he recognized them as the brave adventurers who destroyed his pet Cryohydra. He knew they must be capable warriors, but wondered if they would be smart enough to make a deal with him. He knew they had the Vernal Orbs somewhere, so he asked if they would be so kind as to destroy the artifact somehow, he would grant them anything they wanted. Anything they wanted.

As tempting as the offer was, they knew they couldn’t trust or accept it. However, with encouragement in his ear from Tequila and her “passenger,” to keep the djinni busy, Lance instead showed interest in the creature ’s story and pressed him for some history as to why he wanted the orbs gone and why he was trapped inside.

“Niflheim” claimed that ages ago, as Jarl of the North Wind, he assisted the people from before… elves, mostly, who made deals with outsiders and other creatures to improve upon their magic and create objects of such great power to improve and benefit their society. Sometimes the deals weren’t mutual, and the creatures were trapped inside objects against their will. The Vernal Orbs were made to use the power of a powerful outsider to create warmth and magical protection. The orbs themselves were meant to imprison someone known as the Mad Caliph, a djinn of great power and notoriety… but the mortals were deceived by a trick and the Jarl was incarcerated instead.

This was the first any of them had heard of a Mad Caliph. None was seen or discussed around these parts that anyone could figure. It was a name lost to the ages.

He claimed that he spent years, centuries, perhaps millennia within the orb due to the greed and ignorance of mortal beings. He was released recently due to shaking and magical disruption of some unknown cause, and found himself in a world much unlike the one he left behind. As much as the people now comparatively suffer with primitive cultures and superstition, he still felt the need to exact his own revenge on the world for the wrong done unto him; starting with the descendants of those who founded the city of Nikeah. For generations, these people enjoyed the warmth of the orbs to protect itself from the cold of winter, and the monsters that came with it. How dare they find prosperity in his misery? How dare they use him!?

Christian asserted the elves and their culture seem that have been mostly wiped from existence and that people today were innocent of any wrong-doings from the people before.

The Jarl felt that the heroes were stalling and did not know how to destroy the orbs, nor trusting that they actually would do so if they could, he told them to simply get on their boat and leave him to his revenge…. lest they anger him further with their ignorance. They couldn’t do that. They had promised to return the people and the ship back to Nikeah and found themselves at an impasse with this creature.

The tension was relieved quite suddenly with a bolt from the crossbow of the impetuous Boram Slystone. A shot which travelled straight through the head of the giant djinni and into the mast of the Caitlin’s Breeze. This was accompanied by the rising figure of Tequila who radiated with holy magic unseen before. Her arms were outstretched and her posture adroit as she and a pulsating, nay, breathing orb rose from the port side of the ship. The party had to do more than talk to keep the angry Jarl of the North Wind busy.

Combat was swift and dangerous, the large djinni garbled on as a smaller one appeared from nowhere and attempted to swing his warhammer at Christian who barely deflected the blow with his shield. The attack was a fly-by and the djinni made it’s way above the port side, seemingly away from retaliation. Lance showing acrobatic prowess and great sea legs ran along the rail of the ship and swung at him with intimidating finesse. “The power of Desna compels you,” he shouted and sent the creature into a shaken state. Redden called Blackfeather to fly to the safety of the other side of the ship and then provided covering fire at mephits and the djinni alike.

Noticing the lyrakien and the orbs floating behind him, Niflheim put two and two together. He commanded the angel to stop her ritual at once and flew at her with full-force, fully intending to smash her into the clouds with his warhammer. His weapon rebounded off a forcefield around the Vernal Orbs, and Tequila’s tiny frame kept her safe within. The mephits also tried whatever tricks they could muster to keep the lyrakien away from the orb and put an end to her chanting, but failed in all manner of attempt. In frustration, the djinni commanded her again to stop or else he would kill her friends and took to focusing his attacks on the others. The tiny azata gasped at the thought, but put her faith in Desna and the strength of her friends to the test; she and her passenger would not stop.

Lance jumped aboard the wheelhouse of the River Rat and readied himself to strike his foe should he make another move towards his angelic friend. Tequila moved past him with the orbs back to the Caitlin’s Breeze to try to keep the djinni in range of the party’s attacks. The Jarl did a flyby towards Lance and the two traded blows. Lance stuck his longsword into Niflheim’s core with unerring precision, while the djinni struck hard at his shoulder with his warhammer causing the hard drinking hero great pain. Truly, the djinni was fierce and due to his speed was difficult to strike with even ranged attacks. His mephits proved to be more than an inconvenience as they interposed themselves to prevent attacks on the Jarl and chip away at the health and morale of the heroes with magical abilities and slashing guisarmes.

Redden and Boram fired arrows and bolts at the Jarl of the North wind and his menacing mephits, as the party remained steadfast. They met the Jarl and his band of outsiders with great courage and conviction. They would not fail or falter as the lyrakien azata’s chanting caused the orbs to spark out in large rays, much like the picture they saw on the pages of Jarl Albrook’s book, eventually resulting in the air itself cracking open and a strong suction pulling towards anyone and anything too close to the portal. Tequila and the spirits within her pleaded at Christian to get away, but he bravely pushed forward, gripped the rail of the ship and attempted the strike down the djinni with his scimitar. He hoped to weaken it enough to trap it within the orbs and didn’t want it to get away.

The Jarl of the North Wind had other plans, if he could not avoid his fate he would atleast take someone with him. Making himself invisible, he maneuvered away from Christian and behind him to catch him in a grapple. Christian could not break free and was pulled through the portal along with the djinni.

Christian found himself in a chamber that had a blue radiance about it. The room and the prominent altar at its center had five points, like a star. He had to wonder if it would be his fate to spend the remainder of his life trapped with an angry djinni within the Vernal Orbs. He looked up above him and saw the opening revealing the skies above. The sun, Seranrae’s light, was high in the noon hour and shining brightly down on him. Would he die to keep this creature trapped in this place with him and provide warmth and safety for his friends and the people of Nikeah? Or could he somehow make it out of this mess? He wasn’t sure. In stoic selfless confidence, he felt glad it was him and not any of his friends.

END OF SESSION

NOTABLE NPCS

Niflheim, Jarl of the North Wind – Wrongfully imprisoned by magical people aeons ago and really, really pissed off about it.

View
Session 38 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

A marvel of dwarven technology, the steam engines installed on the River Rat allowed it to press forward through the fog without need of wind and sail. The artifact on board melted through the fog around them gave them some visibility. Aboard, the party took to assisting Captain Boram in whatever way possible. Redden was assigned to tend to ropes and check on tow-line which was hastily installed the day before by Sam. Christian checked on the reinforced hull and found it to be suitable armor to protect the boat from damage caused by being rammed by ships or overly large gars. Meanwhile, Lance took some time to teach Tequila some sea shanties, and worked with Steve, getting a general feel for the activities and maintenance involved in running this sturdy old barge that was made by his grandfather. Their teamwork solidified them as a capable crew, despite most of them having little experience on boats.

Tequila spent a large portion of the morning below deck examining the Vernal Orbs with hopes of better understanding their use, function, and how they might assist the party if and when they would meet the djinni somewhere on the lake. She planned to commune with the azatas of Elysium for assistance in the matter, but needed to wait until the next day before she would be able to do so.

By the afternoon they had discovered the body of a man floating in the lake. Boram lowered and cut the engines and they pulled it in with gaff hooks. He was a Gilead Naval Office, but only the stripes on his jacket could identify him as such. His body was bludgeoned by something big, and some of the creatures in the lake had been nibbling on his arms and legs.

As the group examined and discussed the poor officer’s fate, they noticed a large fish with its head out of the water staring at them and seemingly taking interest in their conversation. It stared at Redden in particular. When hailed, it replied in what they recognized as sylvan. It asked the one with “fey eyes” like witch lights what he sought. Despite Tequila doing the translation, it kept its focus on him. The group had Tequila ask about the ship and the islands nearby with hopes of tracking down the djinni. It didn’t know of flying creatures, having little interaction with the skies above the mists, but it spoke of a man ship having some trouble in the days prior.

Their conversation was interrupted as the fish changed forms into something a little more humanoid. A shape that they recognized as a nixie, having encountered one before in the Phantom Forest. It shouted some words of warning and pointed behind them. From the other side of the boat, a stealthy devil fish was climbing aboard and took to striking and grabbing Lance with some of its seven tentacles. Tequila informed the party that devil fish were intelligent creatures, believed to have abyssal heritage. Their bites were known to be highly poisonous. Outnumbered, the creature barely got a chance to get a grip on Lance before his friends cut into it. Tequila used the wand of grease to assist Lance with escaping before the creature could pull him overboard. Realizing this would not be an easy meal, the devilfish sprayed dark ichor onto the party and boat before retreating to the safety of the water.

Christian and Tequila tended to Lance’s wounds and the group was left to clean up the ship and themselves after talking further with the nixie. The devil fish did not return.

She told them that should they seek the ship they would need to correct their course a little and she pointed in the direction where she saw it go. She also told them of a nearby island in another direction, but discouraged them from heading there as it was inhabited by merrows, the amphibious green skinned cousins of ogres. The lake nixies knew nothing of djinnis flying through the sky but wished them luck with their dealings as they discovered together that much was changing on land and in the water.

They decided to follow the course towards the missing ship, and would hopefully get more help from Tequila after her commune to confirm if they were heading in the right direction to save the most amount of people. It wasn’t a decision any of them took lightly, but the city of Nikeah took precedent.

By evening, the engines were cut and the anchor was weighed. The group worried about what was happening and if they could somehow put a stop to it all. They wondered if and how the portal under the temple of Razmir which swallowed their foil, Jack, had something to do with it. After all, it was accompanied by a powerful earthquake and the appearance of the fog. They discussed what they knew, and came up with some questions to ask of the angels, finding it challenging to word them for yes or no answers.

They organized a watch for the night, and all was quiet and safe… though during Boram’s watch, his girlfriend Sam came out of hiding , having stowed-away below deck. He thought he had left her sleeping in Nikeah, but it would seem she had other plans. The two of them argued even after Christian was woken for his turn at watch. They headed to the wheelhouse and while both Christian and Boram were both concerned with her well-being she was adamant about being aboard “her boat” and not being left out of adventures anymore. She brandished a heavy wrench and claimed she could take care of herself. Christian felt it would be best to let Boram deal with it on his own and focused on patrolling the ship and watching the waters of Lake Yggdrasil as the boat bobbed. No further disturbances occurred in the night and all aboard tried to ignore any sounds coming from the wheelhouse.

In the morning, Christian sat, facing east, and greeted the rising sun in worship as best he could through the fog. Redden and Blackfeather meditated on the roof of the ship. Lance wiped the sleep from his eyes after whatever alcohol-fueled lucid dreams he had made for himself. Nobody felt much need to address to the elephant in the room, especially seeing as she had prepared a warm cereal breakfast along with some dried meats and fruit. Tequila took to her ritual and communed with Elysium for answers to the questions they came up with the night before.
The questions and answers were as follows:

1 Can the power of the orbs be recharged? Yes.
2 If we kill the djinni, will it get rid of the power of the orbs? Yes. 3 Is the djinni evil? No.
4 Does it reside on an island? No.
5 Are the orbs dangerous for sentient creatures to possess? “Nature of people to covet” 6 Can you help us? Yes.

Deciding to focus on the ship, the engines were fired up, once again, and moved forward. The crew of the River Rat caught first sight of the Caitlin’s Breeze by late morning through the spy glass. They slowed down and approached with caution. There was no sign of sailors on deck and as they got closer the sound of dogs barking could be heard. So strange that dogs would be on the deck of a naval vessel; this was not standard protocol.

Boram pulled up on the port side, and it was discussed that Boram, Sam, and Steve would stay aboard the River Rat with the Vernal Orbs while the rest explored the ship. Redden used his Traveler’s Anytool in the shape of a grappling hook to allow the party easy access to the ship. They gathered some of the dried meat and Redden headed up the rope first.

Peering on the deck, he noted a handful of well-bred dogs sprawled out in the morning sun; some slept while others licked at themselves or drank rain water caught in the unused lifeboats. Some looked at him and growled with suspicion. He took to using wild empathy and dog whispered the pooches into a friendlier state before inviting his friends to join him. Christian, Lance, and Tequila joined him on deck and they took to scanning the ship for signs of human life. The door on the forecastle bore little beyond empty hammocks and untouched personal affects. The aftcastle passage was clogged with dogs pawing at a door and barking. The party used their meat to distract the dogs and took them out to the deck.

As Redden approached the door he smelled what could only be some of the cannabis herb that many a country boy enjoyed. On the door itself, a sign with the words “Captain Dante Hicks” were written, though “Dante Hicks” had been hastily, and messily painted over with a big “J.”

Testing the door for traps and locks, he found that the door handle was suddenly held shut. Christian took point and knocked. After a moment of seeming hesitation, a small voice called out “Who’s there?” to which Christian replied “Returners.” and was rewarded with a swarmy “Returners who?” as if been played with. He managed to make his way into the room where he found himself flanked by two men. One halfling in ill-fitting captain’s garb and tricorne, and one barrel chested human with oddly expressive eyes. “Whappow! Get him, Lunch Box!” shouted the halfling, while the big man looked at Christian’s armor and steely gaze and threw his friend an angry dismissive look. Christian turned his attention to the hatted halfling and demanded he take off his tricorne to check to see if this was not another goblin in disguise. The halfling bowed sarcastically with his large hat in hand and didn’t change into a goblin; good enough, Christian supposed.

The room reeked of smoke as the two of them, who the little one introduced as Captain Jay and Swabby / First Mate Bob were held up inside for almost two days, hiding from the dogs outside. They claimed they didn’t want to hurt the animals, but the dogs kept jumping on them and humping them. Jay did all the talking and swore a lot, even by sailors’ standards.

When asked about how they ship came to be under such dire circumstances, and how he came to be captain Jay told his story of the “big blue fuck” who surprised him on deck one day as he was mopping.

He used be a swabby deckhand which was really boring for him and Bob. But a few days ago, a blue guy flew up to him. He called himself “Jarl of the North Wind” and asked Jay what his wish was. Being hungry, Jay told him to make a sandwich and the blue man conjured up a sandwich so big it couldn’t be finished. It had a nice rye bread, spicy mustard, but to Jay’s disappointment, the turkey was a little dry.

When pressed to get to more important things, Jay continued.

The blue man promised Jay two more wishes and encouraged him to be more ambitious. Jay claimed he had wished that he could be captain of the ship as he always wanted to sail around the world, find a mermaid and fuck her. What he didn’t count on was the blue man’s follow through… he killed everyone on board that didn’t agree with Jay’s promotion (everyone except for Bob) He smashed them with a big hammer, and spun them up into the air in a big wooshing whirlwind and sent them flying into the lake. Jay felt bad that so many people died as it wasn’t really his intention. With his last wish, he asked that the blue man bring him some fine ass bitches who wanted nothing more but to fuck him and Swabby Bob all the time (Snoogins!) but once again, the blue man twisted his words and brought aboard the many female dogs seen on deck.

When Christian showed disapproval for his actions and wishes, Jay lamented that Swabby Bob couldn’t get past his silent bit to try to wish things better. This stirred an anger in his friend who suddenly shouted “CAN’T YOU SEE!? HE WAS FUCKING WITH US! GODS!” before focusing back on his smoke to relieve the tension.

The only particularly helpful thing Jay could say was that he and Bob were told not to go to the lower deck. They asked the party to help them open the chest in the room to see if there was anything helpful inside. Redden obliged and found some valuables belonging to the former captain, but chose to leave the items inside and lock it again; Jay never seemed to get what he wished for.

The party left them in the room and Jay asked if they could bring back some pieces of the sandwich if they could as he and Sw-First Mate Bob were starving. The party gave it the briefest of consideration, but little else as they explored what they found to be a ghost ship. Their Returner badges illuminated all the rooms and revealed them to be devoid of people. The crew’s things were left as they were on the day that they died. The only sounds were that of the creaking wood of the ship and their own steps on the planks.

Indeed, they found the biggest sandwich they had ever seen on the table in the mess hall on the middle deck. One of the dogs was pawing and whimpering at the door.

Eventually, the group found their way to the lower deck. Many boxes, and some empty cages cluttered the hold. As they reached the rear of the ship, the party could hear some sounds of movement and muffled speaking. As they rounded the corner, their lights shone through some bars of a cell door. Inside, some finely dressed noble people shielded their eyes from the sudden glare. “Oh no! He’s back!” a few shouted with notable fear in their voices.

END OF SESSION

NOTABLE NPCS:

Samantha “Sam” Frye – Stowed away for shiny adventures with her boyfriend, Boram.

Nixie – Paid close attention to Redden, helped the party find their way.

Azatas of Elysium – Supposedly going to help Tequila with the Vernal Orbs.

Niflheim – djinni, self-proclaimed Jarl of the North Wind

Captain Dante Hicks and crew – deceased, supposed to be here today.

Jay and Swabby Bob – Hetero lifemates, former deckhands and now defacto captain and first mate of the Caitlin’s Breeze.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.