Arulia

Kenku! You're Welcome!
Whose Turn Was It To Watch Dahlia?

Chief, who got his long rest during long rest time, sold off the looted doctor’s gold plaques and awards at the curiosity shop in the Quays known as “The Fast and the Curious.”

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With all of our heroes enjoying a long rest, we will catch up with Violante. Having left the basement of the Freejus Institute, Violante made the usual evening rounds of drinking and fleecing the locals, then went home, where she found a letter on her pillow. The seal had been broken and someone had read the letter (I guess she saw eye-tracks on the words). The next day at breakfast, Violante tested the servants and easily determined that the staff was all abuzz with the content of the letter. Violante’s mother revealed that she has been talking to three different houses to marry her off, and then having dropped that news, went out, telling Violante that there will be a gentleman coming to talk about arrangements with his nephew later.

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Left all alone, Violante decided to try out some new tricks she had been practicing to sharpen her Lemonjack game, having won an afternoon of basic magical training from a mark some weeks ago. She magically disguised herself, pretending to be a servant of a neighbor, and went to a different neighbor’s house to gather gossip about herself. The servants always know. Learning very little about the actual houses she was being bid off to, she returned home to the parlor to await the “gentleman” and created the illusion of the curtain so she could hide behind it. Safely hidden away, she prepared to spy on the the conversation her mother had told her of. While her mother, unaware of Violante’s presence, was trying several poses to look affluent but disinterested, the servants escorted Sabato into the room.

“This is not ideal,” thought Violante.

We cut to Rose and Lily who wake up and find that Dahlia is already up and out for the day. Lily went down to the innkeeper and said she wanted a breakfast sent up, and the innkeeper revealed that the room tab was paid with an expense account for things like that. When asked by whom, he leafs through the papers behind the and reveals, “By…. a Mister Sabato.” Lily decided to cost Sabato as much as possible, and had beef and turkey sent up to the room with some wine and fresh fruit. The two young ladies decided to go shopping. They stopped in a curio shop called “Buy Curios.” Lily wanted to to a pet store because she missed her dog, and also she can talk to animals. They went to a chocolatier, where Lily got some chocolate for Ouss, and then they gave up on the shopping episode. Ouss set up his shop for the day and Chief pretended to help his capos look for an escaped slave.

That evening, the group had arranged to meet up in taproom of The Fresh Prince. Lily gave Ouss the chocolate. Ouss politely accepted, even though chocolate is poisonous to birds. Sabato joined them with a large bottle of wine, the contents of which promptly disappeared into Ouss. Sabato told the group that his nephew Enzano was actually missing, having disappeared shortly after they met at a dive bar in the Quays – a place they typically go after a gem shipment has been arranged – The Wharf Rat. To incentivize the group beyond the leverage he already has, Sabato put a coin purse containing 10 gold sovereigns on the table for each of the party (including Dahlia, for when she returns). He promised another 100 sovereigns each when they find Enzano. Sabato, whose house deals with the shipping and sale of valuable gems, revealed to them that the thief in the Arena, Tore Como, had stolen 500,000 sov worth of gems and hidden them somewhere, presumably in the city. Como then had the memory of where the gems were hidden removed from his mind — magically extracted and stored elsewhere. So Como did not reveal the location of the gems under torture, and Sabato realized he had nothing to lose by throwing him to the dinosaurs. Chief tried to negotiate for the return of the gems, but Sabato assured Chief that they would be considered for further tasks related to it.

Sufficiently motivated, the party went to the Wharf Rat, which they could easily identify by the fairly fresh rat nailed to the sign outside.

From a couple conversations, they found out that Enzano met up with another friend after Sabato left. The other friend, Pasquale, shared more drinks with Enzano and they left together. A witness said they were followed by 5 unknown men. Well, almost unknown. One of the bar’s regulars who knew Chief also knew one of the men to be a member of the Blackscale Assassins. The same informant also offered the fact that there was a warehouse over on Candle Lane with the black drake on the door, the sign of the Blackscales. Lily talked to a cat outside the Wharf Rat and found out that the men followed the pair of drunken dandies into an alley and attacked them. Rose examined the site and determined that there wasn’t enough blood on the ground for the men to have been murdered there. The cat said both men went to sleep and were carried off.

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The party all had different ideas about how to investigate the warehouse. Chief and Violante concocted a scam by which they would approach the warehouse and pretend to want to put a hit on someone. Lily befriended a dog and began to cast a spell that would allow her to see through the dog’s eyes. Since she needed 10 minutes to cast it as a ritual, Chief and V went past her and right up to the door. Lily finished the ritual and asked the dog to go scout the warehouse. All the doors were closed, so the dog wasn’t able to do anything useful there. After getting really frustrated at not being able to control the dog, Lily said “Oh. I’m an idiot. I could have just turned into a dog.”

Chief and V knocked at the door as Ouss flew recon overhead and Rose stood ready as backup in case of a fight. No one answered the door, but their excellent perception skills allowed them to hear scuffling from inside, as if from many footsteps trying to be quiet. Chief easily picked the lock and they burst in to se…. about a dozen dead bodies lying against the wall. After the whole party except for Ouss was inside, they were ambushed by 4 Kenku, who fired arrows from behind the cover of crates. Ouss quickly joined the fight, and together, the party overwhelmed the Kenku, killing 3 and leaving one alive, in a rather swift exchange of blows. They then examined the bodies and found that all of the dead against the wall were Blackscale Assassins.

The party went about searching the warehouse and found a secret room with some fungible items inside. They also opened another closet and found a person. Not Enzano, but Pasquale, hiding under a tarp. Pasquale said that he took cover in the closet when the Kenku attacked their captors. He had thought Enzano was right behind him, but didn’t see him come in. He explained that he previously had in his possession a stone which held the memories of Tore Como, with information on the cache of gems. Pasquale said he was in the process of finding Sabato in order to deliver the stone and be the hero, when it was stolen from him, just before he met up with Enzano. Pasquale said that Enzano was probably taken because they thought Enzano was him. While Pasquale was explaining all this, the city guard showed up.

“Nobody move! What’s going on here? Oh! Hi, Chief. What are you doing here?” Maso, the Capo of this troop, recognized Chief, who is quite well known among the guard. What could have been a rather awkward situation turned thusly:

Maso (looking around at the bodies): I see what went down here. This guy tried to pick your pocket, and accidentally cut off his arm when he bumped into your ax. Then this other guy got mad and jumped on your back, also killing himself on your ax.

Chief: I never even drew it.

Maso: What happened here is a tragic accident.

The guards looked around and said “Hey Chief, you know who these guys are? These birds (no offense) are with the Shadowblade Council!” The guards continued to look around while the rest of the party was looting the office upstairs. They ended up finding some very high quality framed maps, as well as some unmarked silver bars.

Enzano is nowhere to be seen, so the party can assume these four kenku weren’t the only ones involved. The party swears to investigate the Shadowblade Council.

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You Know What Really Burns My Aasimar?
Fire. Actual Fire.

Picking up from where we left off, our erstwhile heroes examined the prisoners they had just rescued from the pits. Lily handed out Goodberries to the wounded. Persis’s wounds showed signs of incredible cruelty. She had been burned and healed repeatedly, scarring the skin of her arms and face. Persis revealed that Dr Freejus was insane, and sought to petition the Coveter by offering gifts consumed by fire. The constant burning and healing was preparing her for an unknown ritual.

The other victim rescued was Arcturus Lahl, who had been captured while investigating a lead on his own interests. He revealed that he was a necromancer who belonged to the Order of the Tranquil Night, an organization devoted to the destruction of undead.

After Ouss reminded the group that there were voices coming from the next room, Arcturus opened the door and upon seeing the tableau of Doctor Freejus intoning a religious chant in some dark language, and then tossing a burned and scarred living man in to a pit, Arcturus cast a spell to put a cloud of fog around the far end of the room. The rest of the party charged in.

Rose waded into the fog and found herself confronted with a burning skeleton that had climbed out of the pit — the remains of the victim Freejus sacrificed. Trading blows with it, she was burned by its very nearness. The fire raged from the skeleton itself. The guards emerged from the fog, only to be confronted with the unexpected sight of the party further into the room than they expected. Attempting to back away from Cheif, one subjected itself to his ax and was hurt. The other fired crossbow bolts at the party members at the back of the room. Lily became an ox and charged, shattering the burning skeleton. Freejus’s voice rang out saying “Sacrifice!” Whereupon the two guards made for the pit. One was blocked but the other jumped in and emerged as another burning skeleton.

The party defeated that skeleton as well, but Rose fell in the fight. Lily arrived to heal her and then the rest of the party turned their attention to Freejus. A brief fight ensued in which Freejus cast spells that didn’t seem to take hold in their targets. Chief strode up to the injured fanatical doctor and beheaded her. The head rolled into the pit to be incinerated.

The party found notes from the doctor’s research showing that the Coveter hungered and would be fed by the burning of victims. By a strange coincidence, Persis was sent to this institution because her vision was blinded by the sight of fire. Everything she saw was consumed before her eyes, making her break down and be unable to function.

The rest of the basement was explored and Lily found and claimed a teapot with the magical ability to heat water without a fire.

The party returned to their homes and Rose returned to the temple with Persis. After a warm welcome by Father Warmond, Rose was asked to return in the dark hours of the morning for purification and ordination. She was bathed, oiled, scented and dressed in a gold gown, before being led to the nave where she was bathed in the dawning light of the sun and Anrahd’s glory. This holy heavenly brilliance caused her to grow a pair of angelic, ghostly wings from her back and hover in the air, to the awe and amazement of all.

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Blackmail & Basements
Session 2: Crawling Through Dungeons

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When last we left our motley crew of misfits, they had just been outgunned, outmanned, outnumbered, and outplanned by Sabato, a very rich and powerful man in the city, when he revealed that he knew Lily’s true identity. The party briefly argues with him that while the wanted poster says “kidnapped,” clearly Lily is here of her own volition. Sabato doesn’t care, and it’s quickly established that he’s more interested in having the party carry out deeds or tasks for him in exchange for not revealing Lily to her parents and claiming the reward. He specifically and briefly mentions that there’s a person he might have them find. “But enough business talk, we can discuss the method of repayment later,” he says, ushering the group to his box in the arena so they can watch the fight.

There are a few opening acts for the fight, and Chief bets on a gladiator. Ouss bets that the other gladiator will win. Chief’s gladiator ends up winning and Ouss begrudgingly gives him his payment. A bard performs and does terribly, much to the chagrin of Dahlia, who claims she could do much better. Ouss reminds her that the intention is NOT to go into the pit, no matter what the purpose. Eventually, the main event occurs. This is the fight between the dinosaurs and Tore Como, who is a hardened criminal who Sabato holds a personal grudge against for stealing a great deal of wealth from him. One smaller dinosaur from the pack appears first, and Tore easily dispatches it. Sabato remarks to Violante that her suggestion of sending out one dinosaur to raise the suspense and then overwhelming the man with the rest of the pack was appreciated, and may have changed the game when it comes to arena strategy. The other dinosaurs from the pack are released, and Tore is having trouble. However, despite taking deep injuries from the pack as well as from the larger dino, he manages to stay alive past the time that V said he would… and then, to everyone’s surprise, he barely manages to take down all the dinosaurs. Sabato is understandably upset as Tore is re-chained and dragged back to the holding area, and he storms out of the box and out of the arena. The group follows him, but he gets in a carriage and rides away. Violante jumps in another carriage and follows him, leaving the rest of the group behind. They debate what to do regarding Sabato, and decide he’ll call for them when he’s ready. Most of the group goes to a nearby tavern, while Chief goes to his day job of working in the Quay.

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Violante arrives at Sabato’s house, and after many failed attempts at convincing the butler to admit her, she is finally allowed to enter. She has a back and forth conversation over a game of Lemonjack with Sabato, basically saying the group could be of use to him after also threatening to tell his wife that he’s blackmailing them. The threat doesn’t seem to work.

Eventually, it’s time for Rose to go to evening services. Dahlia and Lily tag along like they did that morning, and the group decides to meet back up in that tavern afterwards. They attend the services, and then Rose is beckoned by Father Warmond, who explains that Rose will need to prove herself before she is fully accepted as a paladin of Anrahd. He tells her that he believes her vision of Anrahd saving her life, but is cautious because there have been others with less hopeful visions. He tells her of a priestess by the name of Persis who had such visions; ones where everything was consumed by flames. She was so distraught by these visions that she was not able to function, and the temple sent her to the Freejus Institute for the Restoration of Equilibrium, a place for restorative healing for those who are plagued by imbalances of the mind. However, they haven’t heard from Persis since, and are getting worried about her. Father Warmond asks Rose to check out the institute and bring back word from Persis. Rose promises she will do this.

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The group of three return to the tavern and reconvene with the other party members. Rose asks them all to accompany her on this recon mission to the Institute, but fails to mention that it’s to potentially rescue a priestess (a detail that will be important later). The group travels t othe building, but are rebuffed by the assistant at the front desk. However, they eventually manage to get someone from the building to give them a tour of the facilities. The tour guide specifically steers them away from the basement, which makes the party suspicious. While the guide is distracted, Dahlia changes her appearance to look like the assistant from the front desk and comes around the corner, telling the guide that she’ll handle the rest of the group. Ouss guides that tour guide up the stairs, pointing out the instability of the wood in the building, while the rest of the party sneaks into the basement. Here, they come across two guards who are playing cards in front of a door, and Violante suggests to Dahlia that they play-act that V is a new prisoner being delivered to the doctor (whom they’ve discovered does most of her work in the basement, which is the reason they were barred from entering). They try this facade, but it doesn’t work very well, so V ends up escalating the conflict. The rest of the group runs in and quickly dispatch the two guards, keeping one alive, but while they open the door, a trap is triggered, which knocks the guard unconscious. Rose quickly brings her back to consciousness by laying her hands on her (1hp) and hogties her, leaving her bound outside the door. The group retrieves Ouss without alerting the tour guide, and enter the hallway, traveling further into the basement. Lily turns into a wolf to hone her senses.

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The group finds an octagonal room filled with smoke, which upon further investigation holds the skeleton of a fire giant in the middle on a platform. Some sort of energy seems to emit off the skeleton which is being siphoned away somewhere. There are orbs of fire that are too hot to approach in some of the corners. Lily in wolf form scatters the bones to try and disrupt whatever is going on. The group continues into a hallway and enters a room, where there are four guards lying in wait for them. They manage to pick off all these guards and notice that there are three grates in the ground. Ouss hears voices coming from a closed door at the far end of the room. Rose calls into one of the grates for Persis, and a male voice calls back “Well I could be!” Rose finds Persis in another grate, and the party pull both Persis and the man up from the pits. The party takes a few seconds to reconvene and begin to ask questions of these new people, keeping in mind there are more people in another room, as we end the session.

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Dinos and Drama
Session 1 In Which the Party is Formed

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It’s a normal afternoon in the city of Serenza when two blondes and a cat walk into the bar (you think they would have noticed) called The 18 Hit. The cat, Dahlia, performs onstage after being introduced by “Beth” (who does so in a snooty uppercrust language that people don’t seem to understand), leading the tavern in a rousing song while the other two look on. Meanwhile, Ouss, “Jill,” and Chief are playing Lemonjack at another table in the tavern. Suddenly, the sounds of shouting and screaming fill the air outside the tavern, which inconveniently doesn’t have windows. Five of the six party members run outside to see what’s going on.

Those who go outside see an overturned cart with cages broken open around them. Four smaller lizard-like animals surround a figure on the ground, while a larger creature is menacing another figure. CHief runs towards the smaller creatures, followed closely by Ouss and Rose. Dahlia and Beth follow at a distance. One of the men on the overturned cart, seeing Chief sprinting toward the creatures, yells “They’re more valuable alive! Fifty gol dif you capture them!” CHief, with Ouss’s help, knock out all four of the lizard creatures without incurring too much damage. Rose approaches the larger creature, making a lasso with her rope. Beth casts Entangle, failing to grapple the larger creature, but keeping innocent bystanders wrapped in place, and then casts Frostbite. She also loudly demands that someone bring her meat, and a bystander runs into the tavern to fetch it. Dahlia gets close enough to successfully cast Bane on the larger creature. She yells “Your feathers ain’t slick!” But the mockery has no effect on the creature. The larger creature charges Dahlia, dealing her a nasty blow, before Rose is able to lasso it. She tries to drag it away but it’s too strong for her. CHief runs up to the creature and finally knocks it out, and the group drag it and carry the other four creatures to the cages. The handlers called the monsters Dingadookus and Vassarombus. Jill corrected them to Dingus and Rumpus, which actually turned out to be a Deinonychus and a Velociraptor.

Meanwhile, Jill has been taking advantage of the chaos ot clear any coinage left behind on the tables. She starts to attract the attention of the barmaid but then goes over to help her clean, striking up a conversation with her about marriage and the barmaid’s aspirations. The bystander runs in and asks the barmaid for meat, which distracts her enough for Jill to finish cleaning all the gold off the tables and into her pockets. Jill travels outside to see what all the commotion was, and is able to understand that her companions helped prevent chaos from spreading (with the assistance of the newcomers). She goes up to the animal handlers and basically convinces them that 50 gold isn’t sufficient, and if they value their jobs and their lives, they’ll compensate her friends fairly.. The handlers are sufficiently intimidated and whisper among themselves. Jill picks up the name Sabato, a familiar name to her, and continues to press the handlers until they are very intimidated by her and lead the rest of the group to the arena to be paid. Beth, meanwhile, is attempting to hide her face from Jill, and tells Rose and Dahlia that she knows her and wants to reiterate that her name is Beth in this city (as opposed to Lily, her real name).

The group is led to the arena, a place where prisoners fight for the entertainment of the people. They are brought to an office where Sabato praises them for their bravery. He also impresses upon them the importance of not letting it get out that he was the one who commissioned these dinosaurs to be brought into the city (and therefore was indirectly responsible for the chaos). The party is given 20 Platinum to split evenly, amounting to the equivalent of 40 gold per person. Rose requests that the family of the handler killed in the attack be looked after as well. Sabato invites the group to be his guest in th ebox seats for the fight tomorrow, and Jill makes a bet with him on the fate of the prisoner who will be fighting (Rose and Dahlia debate whether this is how humans flirt). Ouss has been whittling since beginning the journey to the arena, and sets a likeness of one of the dinosaurs down on the desk before the party leaves, promising to return in the morning for the fight.

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On the way to another tavern (The Fresh Prince, located in the Bellair district), the group stops at the market. They drop Beth off at an herbal shop where she presents the shopkeep (Anastina of Anastina’s Green Grove) with some mushrooms and a letter. Anastina tests her ability to make a healing potion. The rest of the group stops at a blacksmith, where a woman named Munya Ostergaard shows Rose an expensive set of plate armor. She then gives Rose a simple set of bracers with roses etched in them and asks that Rose not go to any other armor shops but hers when she wants armor. “I’m investing in your future business.” Rose asks Dahlia if this is flirting.

The group finally goes to The Fresh Prince tavern, where Dahlia performs onstage and Rose and Ouss get a drink. Jill plays Lemonjack in the back room, fleecing the people she is playing with. Rose meets a man at the bar who notices that she wears the colors of Anrahd, and introduces himself as Brother Bhaltair. He recommends Rose go to the temple and meet with Father Warmond. She agrees. Eventually the whole group get together to play Lemonjack, which the new players seem to always win. Jill claims to be completely new at Lemonjack, and Dahlia believes her. Eventually Beth returns and falls asleep at the fire. Jill says she can’t quite place it but that Beth seems familira, and both Rose and Dahlia are noncommittal. Eventually Dahlia also falls asleep by the fireplace, and Jill has to wake both of them up to take them to their rooms. Chief goes back to his place near Armatto Quay (where he buys the thieves tools he can finally afford), Ouss falls asleep at the table but eventually wakes up and makes it back to his roost, and Jill decides to return home to her manor (where she is Violante, a daughter of the nobility).

Before they go to sleep, Beth (Lily) tells Rose that Jill is actually Violante and that she’s rich and good at Lemonjack. Dahlia tells them both to go to sleep. In the morning, Dahlia, Rose, and Beth eat breakfast and then start for the Arena by way of the Temple District, since Rose wants to visit the temple of Anrahd. When they arrive, Rose is so overcome that she falls to her knees directly at the entrance. An acolyte approaches her and she asks for Father Warmond. He is a Githzerai. Rose tells him that Anrahd saved her life and that she wishes to devote her life to him. Father Warmond says that she is truly privileged to have received a revelation from Anrahd and asks her to return for evening services, where he will task her with a quest to set her on her path.

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The trio pass through the market on the way to the Arena, and Beth stops to buy meat pies for everyone. Suddenly, Jill, who has been tailing the group, steers her away before Dahlia and Rose notice, and confronts her, revealing that she knows that Beth is really Lily, the runaway daughter of a perfume merchant cartel. She asks what Lily has told her friends about Jill, and then says, “Nevermind, I can see it on your face that you’ve told them everything about me.” Violante (who Jill really is) admonishes Lily for not having a good plan and Lily retorts that she does have a plan, because she’s a druid now! Violante and Lily argue n their way to the Arena, and when Rose and Dahlia don’t see Lily anywhere, they, too, go to the Arena. There, they meet up with Ouss, who has already been drinking and decided not to set up his pop-up shop today; and Chief. The six are brought into Sabato’s office, where there is a catered spread of hors d’ouevres. Sabato welcomes them back, and says that before the entertainment begins, he has something to talk to them about. He did a little research on the group, and while he is confident in the bet he made against “Jill,” he’s also confident that if he loses he’ll still be able to recoup his money. He reveals a wanted poster, which proclaims that Lily has been abducted and that there is a 1,000 GP reward for her safe return.

And on that cliffhanger, we end the session! (And level up to lvl2!)

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Session 0 - The Adventure Begins
(after a nap and probably a drink, and then maybe another nap)

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Group 1

Ouss and Violante meet in a bar in Serenza. Violante plies him with enough drink while they play Lemonjack and ends up stealing his money. Ouss hires Chief to track her down, but she talks her way out of it. The three become acquaintances and are frequently seen at the bars together.

Group 2

Lily, a bedraggled woman, shows up at a farmhouse in the middle of the night while it’s raining. The woman who lives inside, Rose, invites her in and offers her a place for the night. In the morning, the two set off on a journey to Serenza, meeting a Tabaxi named Dahlia on the road, who sings them a song in Celestial.

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Campaign 1
Everything before this point was the old campaign

ARULIA

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The world is facing the greatest threat it will ever know in its past or future, and a nation torn apart by inner strife ignores the danger to play petty politics.

Lurking just beyond the Astral Veil, dozens, possibly hundreds of astral vessels lurk, awaiting a signal from… From whom? A comet appeared in the sky some months ago, following a deadly fall of Nyan’s Tears. The biannual spring festival usually marked by beautiful streaking stars across the sky was tainted by the fall of brutal meteors, which broke apart in their landing craters, revealing vile beasts, all tentacle and tooth, cruciform terrors that plagued the countryside and corrupted life in every form it encountered.
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The Source of Some Evil
Not All Evil, of course

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