Worlds Apart

Session 51 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

The hovering halfling begged for her life and dripped something on Lance below. Crossbows and bows were readied against her taking any aggressive action. She told the heroes that they had prisoners, and that these prisoners were in the basement, and Christian went in to investigate. However, in his hurried state, Christian failed to take extra precautions and tripped a wire which sent a ballista bolt flying from a nearby trap which slammed against his armor and knocking the wind out of him. He winced and pushed forward. He took a quick study of the dusty restaurant and the burnt meat smell coming from the kitchen before finding himself downstairs. There were indeed two girls, but they were dead. He could surmise that they were young, maybe teenagers, though their bodies looked like they were dead for longer than they should be. Their skin was darkened and their muscles recessed, as if hollowed. He fought off a familiar feeling of discomfort. A feeling similar to that which he felt a few nights ago by the fire.

Outside, the halfling tried to float up more, and made it a full 5ft before being told to stop. She was clutching at something. Lance and Redden told her to drop it. She did so and Lance barely had time to react to the sight of a vial. He jumped back just before it exploded into alchemist’s fire.

The fight started anew. Redden took a shot at the halfling and hit her. She said some words and floated up another twenty feet. In the basement, there was a bright flash from a nearby grate, and Christian was surprised, while Lance and Redden were surprised outside as a familiar grinning skull appeared in the flames and started drinking away at Lance’s lifeforce.

Christian had to rush outside after the flash, but the distance kept him out of the fight for a short while. Redden and Lance were alone in the fight as it began and the skull used its magic to put Redden to sleep. Fortunately for him, Tequila and Boram were not far away and able to assist. The angel flew to Redden’s side and woke him with a slap from her tiny hand. Boram raised Adrian and took aim at the little witch floating precariously higher and higher above the battlefield.

The party focused most of its attacks on the undead creature which took every opportunity it could to greedily feast on their lifeforce. The halfling woman kept moving up, and up and up. Once she reached above the tree-line, she spread open her cloak, hoping to catch the breeze, but the winds did not favor her. She moved ever so slowly towards the Lethe river.

The party flanked and foiled the undead menace, crushing its skull and destroying it. It let out a sigh of seeming relief and words of thanks upon destruction. By then, the halfling was more than a hundred feet in the air above them before being shot down. She exclaimed something indecipherable, which Tequila later paraphrased as “Janosz Poha, I join you in death!” Her body fell down in a loud thump on the snow and her head slamming against the wood of the walkway. Her illusion was broken as her skull no longer supported the magical headgear she wore. She was revealed to be a frog-like creature known as a grippli and was dressed in wet robes with bone charms. In her pockets, she had a stained bone-hilted dagger, gruesome trinkets, and a pet frog that was crushed in the fall.

The party searched their other adversaries bodies for loot and went inside to find out what else they could of the situation. Boram kept by the boat, keeping his precious River Rat safe. Inside, the group found the bodies of the teenage girls were likely from a nearby village in the reach. They were caught and likely fed to the malevolent spirit that was also seemingly held captive by means of dark magic surrounding something that looked like a lantern at the end of a chain that was dangling in a drain or well below. Tequila took some time to study it more and was focused on finding the best way to dispose of the cursed container.

From there, the group moved back upstairs and searched through the rooms. They found hunks of human meat burning in the kitchen and more long shanks hanging from hooks in dry storage. They found and looked through the rooms where the goblinoids and grippli took rest. Christian took great pride in his duty in destroying some Lamashtan prayer books and a gruesome idol of Lamashtu with a garnet inside. They also found the bags of the two girls. They didn’t get names, but found a shield with initials carved into the back with “Winter of adventure” This shield, along with their matching bracelets might be enough to identify the lost girls by their people.

More pressing was the discovery of a carrier bird; an imposing arctic raven that was kept caged. This white feathered animal was used to relay messages between the villains here and whoever they work with. A letter written in an unknown script (goblin?) was found on the desk of a nearby office. The party decided to keep the caged bird with them for the time being.

Also in this office, the party found the journal of the owners of Pleasant Pines. They took it over years ago after the previous owners sold it after heartbreaking tale of a young camper getting lost and dying from exposure. The new owners seemed optimistic in taking over and bringing happy times back to Pleasant Pines. Crumbled on the floor was another letter, written in two parts. The first part explained to the owners that some unpleasant people had taken residence in their establishment, the writer went on to explain that they took care of the problem as best they could, and would send people in the spring to ensure that everything was safe and okay for them. The second part of the letter was addressed to any other squatters taking residence in this place, warning them that their evil deeds would not go unpunished and that they should run away while they can. The notes were signed by a circled R, like a Returner’s badge, and Redden could recognize the hand-writing as Gwyn’s. It would seem that Gwyn and her group had taken to the heroic side of Returner work as well.

As they started to make arrangements to finish up here, Lance’s could no longer resist the liquor shelf behind the bar. Most bottles were emptied or broken, but there, miraculously unbroken was a bottle of rum. The same spiced-rum that was his father’s favourite. The same rum that his father gave him his first drink all those years ago. As he grabbed the bottle, felt compelled to take a drink. It was a tough fight and he had earned it, after all. As the familiar taste filled his mouth and he gulped it down, he felt an instant feeling of drunken euphoria wash over him. On the other side of the bar, he saw Thais looking just as saucy as he remembered, though perhaps a little more faint and ghostly. He tried to say hi, but she motioned for him to be quiet and pointed to the corner of the room. Christian and Redden watched as Lance gawked at seemingly nothing.

Lance had a visualized memory of sitting there as a happy young boy with his dad watching a man they called “Billy-Goat” telling all kinds of stories of monsters and adventure. In his memory, he could see that Billy-Goat wore a holy symbol of Desna. The image faded and Thais lead him down the hall towards the office. Redden and Christian tried to interject as he was acting strange, but he pushed past them as he had “something he had to take care of.” Lance found Thais in the office with her hand on the bookshelf. She flung a book off the shelf which opened in front of him with a map of some Sabre Mountain trails as detailed by a mountaineer named William “Billy-Goat” Woodward. Lance barely had a chance to look up before Thais winked at him and waved goodbye as the feeling of drunkenness left him and the itching in his arm where the rusty beartrap clamped down on him had somehow subsided. Dad’s favorite drink had hit the spot and, thankfully, there were a few good swigs left.

After explaining yet another instance of divine intervention, Lance and his friends could look over the map a bit. The map was old, but the journal had plenty of helpful tips for people climbing the hills and mountains of the region. Difficult and easier trails were marked, as were scenic spots. However, it was a warning of harpies that stirred another memory in Lance… the day his father was taken, standing in a daze as his father was carried away by a harpy years ago on the Lethe river. Was it the harpies’ infamous song, the booze, or his own pain that made him block out the memory? He couldn’t be sure, but today, it was staring him in the face though with a chance for a revenge of sorts? He wasn’t sure how to feel.

The group buried the bodies and hurried to shut down the restaurant as best they could, leaving Gwyn’s notes for the owners. They left with a guide to the mountains, an arctic raven, an ‘evil lantern’ of sorts to dispose of, four more caps of human guise, and even more questions.

The first and foremost was would they climb the nearest peak and face the threat of “the Widowmaker” trail and potential harpies, or would they defy myth and cross Sabre Beak’s lake to take the “Long and Winding Road”? The rest of the questions were mostly for Oracle, who waited for them at the twin peaks of the Sabre Mountains.

* END OF SESSION *

Notable NPCs

William “Billy-Goat” Woodward – Story-telling mountaineer and devoted follower of Desna. Part of Lance’s past and your present as his journal was presented to you by someone with Lance’s best interest in mind.

Noteable Things

  • Arctic Raven An imposing bird that squawks out the occasional “Durr-kaw! Durr-kaw!” a tool of the enemy for sending messages somewhere up north.
  • Evil lantern In the right (read: wrong!) hands, can be used to capture and exert some control over spirits. Tequila thinks that a well-placed holy smite and some of her own magic might break the dark enchantments bound to it. Christian’s idea to put it at the bottom of the lake so that no one would be likely to find it might also be a good idea. You can never be too sure with these things.
  • Mountaineer’s Journal William “Billy-Goat” Woodward has spent years exploring the mountains of the region, and without a guide to take you up, his journal is the next best thing. Filled with trail maps, tips, stories, anecdotes, and occasionally his dreams. This book is a helluva find for a group of adventurers wanting to reach the peaks of the Sabre Mountains.

Notable Places

  • Diamond Lake – Ahead of you, rumoured home of the mythical Sabre Beak.
  • Sabre Mountains: Two major trail entrances at either the west or east of Diamond lake, each with potential danger. Your goal lies at the peak.
View
Session 50 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

The party discussed their current situation and decided their best approach was to lure out the bad guys by threatening to set fire to their boat. They had the sinking feeling that they were being watched and eyed the boarded up windows as they announced their plans.

As they started making preparations, Redden climbed aboard and was greeted by a swarm of rats that suddenly appeared and forced him to jump overboard. Tequila helped as best she could by making an illusionary fire on the boat and planned to make it appear to spread quickly.

As they dealt with the rats, both the party and their unknown foes made preparations: positioning themselves, readying attacks, and more. The front door opened and the halfling they saw earlier had a knife to the throat of a halfling woman. This nasty hobbit claimed to only want to escape in the row boat and unless they stayed back he’d slice the throat of his hostage who was now begging and pleading for her life. Lance had no recollection of halflings running this place in his youth. He had never seen either of these little people. Redden stood by the boat, ready to smash it with his hammer after previous attempts to ignite it with flaming arrows did not succeed.

Christian centered himself and once again focused his attention to detect evil off of the two halflings that came out the door. The one with the knife had a moderate aura of evil while the woman gave off no detection. However, as the halfling made to push past the party, his human shield made eyes at Lance and he felt doubt begin to seep in to his mind, and the same happened to Christian moments later. Something was not right about these two.

Frustrated, Christian ordered the evil halfling to let her go, and much to their surprise he obliged. However, it was even more surprising that she proceeded to float up 15 feet into the air and chuckled a throaty laugh. Something about this caused more internal problems for Lance who felt a wave of misfortune wash over him. The halfling man snarled and threw off his ha. He seemed to instantly grow a few feet taller and revealed himself to be a hobgoblin! Even for a hob, he had an exceptionally frightening face and was wearing an unholy symbol of Lamashtu. He drew a falchion. and spat.

With this moment, the tension was lifted as Boram let loose a readied bolt into the floating halfling after seeing their actions as hostile. Tequila followed up by singing a song of inspiration for her allies as combat officially began. From behind the covered boat, a laughing halfling with a floppy, funny hat and two very sharp knives came charging behind Redden who remained standing by the rowboat. He succeeded in striking the ranger with painful precision to the back of his legs. The little one squee’d with delight as another halfling, in chef’s garb, wielding an exceptionally large looking cooking knife followed close behind stomping through the snow with a weight and gait that betrayed his appearance. He came in swinging at anyone he could reach, which at the time was a singing lyrakien. “Stupid fairy!” he bellowed as he swatted at the angel.

What followed was a bloody brawl on the snows outside of the restaurant that involved heavy damage trading from both sides, but was ultimately overcome by the heroes’ teamwork on two fronts.

On one side, Christian smote the hobgoblin warpriest who failed to instill fear into the heart of a man who no longer felt it. Lance defied all misfortunes and doubt to fight off wicked enchantments and deliver slashes on the hobgoblin and an acrobatic assault on the chuckling floating halfling wench before resorting to using crossbow shots as she floated higher out of his reach.

On the other end of the field, Redden made it back to the River Rat where he coordinated with Steve. The deckhand had prepared the ballista as per Boram’s instructions and provided some covering fire, but only proved a distraction to the enemies. Tequila flew out of harm’s way and protected her allies from deadly charge attacks using multiple castings of the wand of grease as she sang her heart out. Redden stuck his enemies with countless arrows and, once, a ballista bolt. The ballista knocked back the chef with such force that it removed his magical hat to reveal him as a raging bugbear armed with a falchion.

The quick halfling with knives was a goblin who quickly found himself outmatched as he could not get charged attacks in on the heroes. Christian closed the distance to help finish off this goblin and his hulking bugbear associate. Through mythic and mundane maneuvers, these monsters were brought down by the mighty heroes.

In the end, only the floating halfling woman remained helpless 30 feet in the air above Lance. She found herself, once again, begging for her life… though this time perhaps in earnest!

END OF SESSION

Notable NPCs:

Reverse trick-or-treating monsters disguised as halflings, revealed to be the most likely source of trouble along the Lethe River. Lamashtans… you hate these guys.

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Session 49 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

The group wrapped up their investigation of the campsite. Protective trinkets and tools convinced them that it was Reachmen who had met a horrible fate while attempting to fish from the Lethe River’s salmon runs. The trinkets offered no protection from whatever impaled them with ballista bolts and cut strips of flesh from their bodies.

Redden resolved to follow the sled tracks and called a giant elk to ride along the riverbank to with the trail as the boat pushed on. As they moved forward, he noted that the trail went in and out of the forest, but mostly followed along the river. After about an hour or so, he rejoined the party on the boat and they pushed onward until they started losing daylight.

Together, they found a good campsite and made a warm fire to gather around. Tequila prompted them for questions to ask during her next commune, but they could only come up with some vague ideas to ask about the green/rift and the dangers of contacting their sentient weapons with these unknown energies. They considered it best to hold off until it was absolutely necessary, or at very least until after they met with the Oracle.

Redden wondered if they should approach the lake and risk fighting “Sabre Beak.” Boram reassured the group that there would be opportunities to make that decision as early as the next day as they should be approaching the mountain base before the boat reached Diamond Lake.

As the last of the light had left the sky, and the moon and stars barely shone through breaks in the clouds above, the group found themselves in a cold, dark wood where Boram felt it appropriate to tell a scary story. This might have had much more of an impact had Christian not recently found a bottomless well of courage within himself that could even make allies at his side braver and more resolute. That said, Steve and his child-like wonder was definitely scared by Boram’s tale of a boy being haunted by a head in a basket on a cold winter’s night. At the end of the story, Tequila used her magic to throw her voice and Steve howled in terror. Boram hadn’t counted on the lyrakien to add such a punch to his story and was forced to head back to the boat to distract Steve with work on the engine so that he (and vis-a-vis everyone else) could sleep that night.

Lance awarded Tequila with a high-five. She asked if the guys had any more ghost stories, and was a little disappointed when they had none to share. She yawned and informed the party that she wanted to sleep and dream as she hasn’t done so in a while; she left them with a smile and a wink having enjoyed a little mischief this night.

The fire felt particularly hypnotic as the party quietly stared into its dancing flames. In their introspection, they unlocked more of what the Green had planted in them. As the evening wore on, Blackfeather flew away and the party found themselves alone in the dark. It was Christian that first noticed something very wrong. He felt strange, like something was not right within him, and saw from within the fire’s embers a smoldering skull glaring out, its eyes wells of cold darkness. Tendrils of smoke danced around and through it like tongues or writhing snakes. He immediately sets to putting out the fire with boots and snow, but was stopped before he could finish and questioned by his friends.

Lance saw nothing, but Redden saw the jarring image that Christian spoke of. There was some argument over whether or not it was real, but then Christian suddenly decided he no longer wanted to put out the fire. Instead, he felt a strong urge to just sit down and bask in the fire’s warmth. Lance decided to walk back to the boat for help, but fell asleep. Redden woke him up with some snow to the face, and the party set themselves on figuring out what was going on. A voice from beyond the fire said, “Boooo!” and caused them to investigate more. They all occasionally felt a little unwell, but were curious.

Christian, pushing through the urge to sit and do nothing, detected evil in the fire and felt as though his mind and body were being attacked. Focusing, he detected a moderate evil presence in the fire and then brought his sword down into it. The flaming skull flew up and out of the fire. Christian missed with a swing of the scimitar, as did Redden with an arrow. Redden managed to hits the skull once with an arrow before it flew out of sight in a northernly direction. Lance had no such opportunity at striking the creature and was shocked by its sudden appearance.

They rushed back to the boat to wake up Tequila who didn’t want to go to school. She immediately noticed that the party was extremely pale and most unwell. She healed Lance first and then the others amongst the party a bit who were drained of life and energy. Having not been there to see it herself, she could only identify the creature as a ghost of some sort, but couldn’t know more. She felt strong concern for them and felt they were lucky to have survived the encounter.

The all slept on the boat, bundled up from the cold but thankfully not attacked further by ghosts or other creatures that go bump in the night.

Morning prayers and meditations along with a bit more healing started the day. They rode further up river and Christian and Redden caught some fish big enough for everyone to share. Eventually, Lance was hit with a tinge of nostalgia. He had fond memories of traveling up this river with his father in his early childhood… memories he hadn’t thought of in a long time; perhaps buried by the years of drinking and cavorting. Perhaps he tried to erase this river from his mind… it was the river where he lost his father and almost lost his life, after all. He mentioned to the party that they would soon be coming up to a favorite restaurant of his called “Pleasant Pines” which also had a campground where he would stay in the summers of his youth. Pleasant Pines sat there the river bent towards Diamond Lake and the Sabre Mountains. They would reach it today, certainly.

Redden had Blackfeather scout out ahead, and eventually she came back squawking which lead the group to presume that the restaurant was ahead. As they approached they saw the large log cabin restaurant with smoke coming out of the chimney. A small person, probably a halfling, was walking around outside and watched them approach as they shielded their eyes from the sun. They were bundled up from the cold and difficult to ascertain gender and race, but seemed friendly enough as they waved to the party as if to say “Come on in!” as Boram shouted “Ahoy!” They little person walked casually back inside the restaurant.

Boram pulled the boat up to the river’s edge and dropped the gang-plank for the party. They headed out to stretch their legs and perhaps get some of the famous goat that Lance was now craving. They noted, however, that the windows were boarded up and there were sled marks as well as a number of footprints around outside mostly from medium humanoids, though some where small. As well, Redden noted the presence of heavy animal footprints, predatory animals by the look of it. Bears? Dire wolves? The prints were a bit old and some snow made it difficult to be sure. Sled marks were also found, and something large was covered with tarps.

Lance went up to investigate the large something, and found some rusty looking metal sticking out of the snow. He attempted to brush the snow away when it snapped shut on his arm; it was a bear trap and it was crushing his arm and wounding his pride. Redden made quick work of removing the trap from Lance’s hurt arm, but could do little for his pride. Christian lifted the tarp a bit and revealed what appeared to be a boat underneath.

Boram joined them on the ground as the group searched around. He noted that the sign for the restaurant said “CLOSED FOR THE WINTER” as the group circled around a bit. They took to knocking at the front door and a voice from inside simply said “Come in!” to which Christian did not oblige. The group moved around into positions as Redden snuck around behind the “boat.”

Suspicion seemed to go both ways as the people inside did not want to come out, now claiming fear that the party might be bandits. Christian asked if they had a first aid kit available as his friend was hurt. Shortly after, the door opened and a little hand threw out a kit before closing the door. The smell of sweet, cooking meat filled Christian’s nostrils and gave him cause to ask what was being offered. “Long shanks of boar,” the voice replied, which might check out as boar are native to the area. Christian and Tequila took to detecting evil through the door and found what they were looking for. They felt it best to regroup and come up with a plan. They said goodbye to the people inside, and were told to fare well in return.

Back by the boat, they met up with Redden who whispered his discovery of broken chains, harnesses, and rigging for a large sled. More of the large animal footprints went off into the forest to the north. He surmised that the bear trap put down may not have been for the large predators as they may have been the creatures pulling a sled. The trap seemed rather deliberately placed by the large boat.

The group considered moving their boat upriver and sneaking back.

* END OF SESSION*

View
Session 48 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

Curious, Christian and Redden approached The Green with their weapons held aloft. Energy washed over them and they felt stonger (Redden +1 BAB, Christian Aura of Courage.) Their weapons were also basking in the energy and asked to get closer. Christian got closer and focused to detect evil despite some sparking and a low rumbling of the ground. He expected Jack or something evil to come through a portal.

Jack did not appear but some fey shot out of the widening green crack in the air. Christian found himself faced with four tiny blue gnomish-looking men with hammers, chisels, and icy beards. They stared at him with beady little eyes. Also, there was one slightly larger fey of similar description who looked as surprised as Christian. He immediately defended himself with 5 illusionary doubles before making a break for it.

The little ones danced and dazed Redden. Christian took out one with a swipe of his blade and noticed something not right about it as he had visions of color and feathers as it paff’ed out of existence. The rest of the party joined in and eventually surrounded the largest of the fey while animated trees, under instruction from Nanabush provided support.

Unhappy being flanked by all sides, the fey steps out and creates a wall of ice separating Christian, Redden, and the two trees from him, Nanabush, Lance and Tequila. Christian and one of the trees struck at the wall, while Redden and the other attacked the fey who kept attempting to daze the party.

The wall of ice broke and, with no anchor points, came down. Redden deftly dodged the crumbling ice as the group was once again joined together. They all set upon what Tequila identified as a “Frosty Chiseler,” an evil, tricksy fey weak against fire and armed with a number or ice-based abilities.

When a tree got past his defenses and struck him hard, he returned the favor with an icy curse rendering the tree brittle and limiting its ability to move and act. Tequila used her innate ability to produce a silent image of an illusionary fire to limit the movement options of the creature. With this, the group managed to surround the creature again as it lashed out at the party, the trees, and the two summoned wolves Nana conjured into flanking positions.

At death’s door, the creature put its hands up and begged for mercy. Nana interrogated the creature in Sylvan and Tequila translated for the party. The Frosty Chiseler put on an innocent front saying that he was simply doing his thing in the forests of the First World when he was set upon by the annoying mocking fey. He chased them and ended up running through a door of green light that opened quite suddenly in front of him. He described being shunted through darkness and finding himself before you all.

Nana didn’t want the creature in his forest. His kind was too chaotic and too evil… not to mention the fact that it attacked them and cursed his friend. It would only be trouble, so the nicest he could do would be to hand the prisoner over to some fey friends, but he surmised that they would likely just kill the creature anyway.

Christian swiftly dished out the only mercy this creature could expect at this point: a quick death.

Next, the party discussed the green portal. They could see how it was good and bad; chaotic in a way. The swords were unable/unwilling to clearly answer their connection to it. Perhaps it was part of their make and composition? Perhaps that they are arcane in nature? They all seem to appreciate the power and energy provided to them, but feared the unknown source.

Nana explained that with some, the Green could plant a “seed” of sorts inside of them. It fosters and encourages growth. It did with him. It did with Gwyn and seemed to be doing so with the heroes. The gnomish druid encouraged them to contemplate where they came from and what they aspired or needed to be as they went forward on their journey.

Nana, in his wisdom, also believed that despite any innate ability or skills picked up on the way that something else might be shaping the party for challenges ahead. A forest doesn’t grow overnight… though with magic, it seemingly could! The party was young, and while they experienced a lot as of late, most would not develop so much so quickly. Magic was the only answer.

Lance and Tequila took themselves closer to the green to test this theory and also felt stronger. (Lance +HP, Tequila + skills)

Strengthened, the group sauntered back to Nana’s hut in the warm swamp. There, he gave the party a Warding Staff to protect them as they traveled along his forest. The forest and its good creatures should not mistake them for enemies nor attack them so long as the staff was displayed prominently at the bow of their vessel. Also, the gnome gifted Lance with what was left of the absinthe, enough for two healthy swigs.

They continued to the River Rat where they found Boram (Ahoy!) very ready to move on. They said their goodbyes and Nana asked that they say hi to the girls, especially Gwyn for him. He warned them to be on the look out for trouble makers with smoke and magic, and to investigate that fishermen that were killed/eaten upriver, if they could.

They push forward up the river with what daylight they had, and found a good camping spot further up river with some bushes and overgrowth to hide the boat a little. Reading the clouds, Christian and Redden saw signs of cold weather coming.

They were not attacked in the night, and woke up to misty morning on the river. Fish were caught as the sun burned through the mists. Christian landed a large trout, and Lance caught a perch. They noted a crispness to the air and approaching clouds as they found the ravaged fishing campsite just a little further up the river.

The tents and equipment was broken and partially buried under snow. Ballista bolts were stuck in the sides of tents and in some reachmen corpses. There signs of a small boat coming to shore. With eagle eyes, Redden spotted sled tracks and heavy animal footprints on the other side of the river.

  • END OF SESSION **

Notable phenomenon:

*The Green / Portals / Rifts / Tears *

The fabric of your reality has once again shown itself to be torn. A strange power comes from it which may assist you on your journeys, but there is also potential for extra-planar troubles. You’ve seen it triggered before at ancient arcane sites with altars and other such machinations… but this particular rift was found out in the wild of a section of forest that grew much too fast around it. Changes are happening more and more… will The Returners be able to do anything about it?

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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