Thursday, May 23, 2024

Campaign Journal: Cobalt Lake, Part the Second

After the day's events, the party was welcomed to spend the night among Queen Adra's loyal subjects.

Who's partying tonight?

  • Fulvus: halfling
  • Frederick: thief
  • Slick: thief
  • Rondel: elf
  • Jax: barbarian
  • Miscellaneous Mooks 
Ok, let's get it on. Partying occurs. Jax and Flick took part in hobgoblin axe throwing contests, with mixed success. Goober was accosted by several goblin children. Fulvus tried out a few varieties of goblin 'small beer' without any deleterious effects, and got some inspiration for herbal amendments to his future brews. Rondel made association with a handful of gnolls, who were impressed with his language skills. Frederick communed in a sweathouse with Adra, her hobgoblin shaman, Shazen, and whatever aromatics he was tossing on the fire. 

Frederick's celebration was hampered by a premonition that an ally had been displaced or otherwise detained. Something to contemplate.

Everyone woke up, bleary, in the morning to a commotion at camp of the goblin tribe who the party had escorted into the settlement. The two tribal heads had been slain in the night, and their prized bow stolen! Murder most foul...

A search of the area turned up tht bow stashed among the party's gear in their wagon. Accusations flew, focussing on Murdar, the dwarven man-at-arms ("It's in his name!"). Murdar is a rather simple-minded dwarf, known for carrying a rag doll. He was questioned under the close inspection of Jax (with the help of Faith Perpetual), as were the other two mooks, Golman and Barlow. Alibis seemed to be consistent, although Faith was having a hard time getting a read on Barlow... Rondel attempted a charm, but the spell fizzled. The party described to Adra how they had been tracked by one or more Chaos assassins, who had slain a number of individuals who the party had made contact with. This stunk of their doing.

In any case, Queen Adra was not pleased with this development. The goblin camp and party camp were investigated, and few clues were uncovered. The bow was returned to the goblins.

Adra made council with her advisors, Shazen and Golandan the desert elf. The party would be allowed to leave, but in the light of the Chaos attack, and the mysterious deaths, they would be requested to leave a hostage advisor among their number to help keep an eye out for more Chaos incursions and aid in strategy. Flick volunteered/was voluntold that he would remain. Slick left him with a beloved (stolen) hat and Fulvus left him with a device known to stun chitin drakes. 

a better representation of Adra (source)

The party loaded up, said their farewells, and headed back north. After all, they had a number of friends to look in on in light of Frederick's vision. Speaking of which, Rondel used an amulet gifted by Thefri the druid to call a duck from the lake and attach a message to it to check on the status of the druid and his kin. The duck flew off, the party trailing behind. The hobgoblins and ogre at the hedgerow gate waved and yelled "Come back soon!" as they jangled their "tip" from the party. 

On the way north, the party met a southbound tribe of gnolls led by "Queen Deadtooth." The gnolls had been "collectors" under the thrall of the Chaos forces, but had broken the influence and were heading south to join Adra's community. Rondel tossed them 50 gold in case they needed to gift the guards, or keep for themselves. Whichever.

The party made good time north to Hardbrand Tower to check in on the dead knights. Gladwin met them, and showed them the reliquary they had uncovered in the depths of the tower. The coffered remains belonged to Sister Sowena, an old crusader. The reliquary was capable of creating a large stunning force to Chaotic forces, as well as being a serious hazard to their touch. The spare lens was currently contained within... Gladwin prepared to open it, advising those "not pure of soul" to look away. Slick didn't, and was blasted back against the wall. Nap time... Gladwin withdrew a prosthetic gauntlet from the coffer, the Fist of the Sister (yeah, it came out all wrong...). Anyway, Sowena's Hand may be able to find other "friendly" undead. Henry Cee took it. 

The duck returned from the druids, with a note that all was fine.

The party stayed the night, and Slick volunteered to stalk the camp, invisible, seeking out possible assassins. Nothing occurred, but the party now spreads out on the road, with thieves and halfings in the brush, scouting ahead and behind. A healthy level of paranoia.

Onto the druid-occupied Kabrel Tower. The party made their way through the increasingly threatening trees (some adorned with Chaos denizens). As reported, all were fine, as was the adventuring party who had scouted Ashryn Tower. Sister Nikhita Mahesh and her crew had encountered a few mutants, who they dispatched, but realized a larger force was dug in, and would need more bodies to dislodge them. 


The following day, the two parties headed back toward Neuforde. Nothing of note occurred until that night, when Slick noticed Barlow creeping toward the cleric's bedroll. Slick waited until Barlow drew a blade, then shanked him. The assassin was mightily wounded, and Slick wrestled him to the ground. Tied and swearing, the traitor did the usual curses to the party's goals and empty threats. A loyal dog soldier, he wasn't fearful of death and was proud of whatever nuisances he caused or intelligence leaked. Slick killed him messily.

Rondel found a communication bead to contact Barlow's handlers and activated it. More taunting and not-so-veiled threats ensued. Thus ended the evening's excitement.

Rolling back to Neuforde, the party came up behind a familiar, odiferous wagon. Hugo the gnome alchemist was in town. As were a number of new halflings sporting scars, rough tattoos, missing fingers, and bad accents. They were there to make sure that the newly rebuilt trading post didn't burn down again.

The innkeeper, Camus Elabella, saw the party and called for the bath house to be prepared. She also mentioned that someone was waiting for them. The someone was Bella Hoekstra, second to Brother Sigeric of Acroria.

The Brother had been detained in Acroria by the Paragons of the Comet, the Home for the Wayward disbanded, and many of occupants dispersed.

So Frederick's premonition had been sound...

DM Notes:

Not a lot to expound on. Barlow has been causing trouble for some time, small sabotage, a couple of thefts, a death or two... Perhaps other things, we'll see.

The goblin murder was Barlow's doing, and his resistance to charming and magical reading a mutant side effect. The party was amicable to leaving a hench with the lake community, as they have bigger fish to fry. And we'll see what adventures Flick has in their absence.

So another cusp point. Continue on with the goals in the south, or head back to Acroria to attempt extradition of the cleric-thief? We'll see...

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