The 29th full game session. Dean (Thic Duc), Matt (Barron), Mariel (Leah), Jon (Elion), Nathan (Kevin) and (Coby) Gunnar are returning cast members.
As we left the party, they had just returned to Saltmarsh with a cargo of weapons captured from the sahuagin. After selling the weapons in Saltmarsh, the town council wanted to know why they had so many unusual weapons to sell, so the party shared with them the abbrieviated story of their adventures since the haunted manor. In turn, the town council revealed that many of their fishermen have gone missing since the sahuagin appeared, and there are rumors of a slave trade ring running at the quarry in nearby satellite down Darkshelf.
The party decided to take a step back from the sahuagin problem, having delayed any plans the fish-men might have to attack by stealing their weaponry, and investigate the slave trade. Since the sahuagin were using slaves to finish out their lair, it seemed reasonable to suspect a connection, and the prisoners the party had just rescued might be bound back to that slave trade ring following their recapture by the sahuagin. They decided to delay their reconnaissance of the sahuagin lair to investigate the slave trade ring. Rumor placed the trade in a quarry near Darkshelf, to the north of Rookroost.
The party traveled to Rookroost from Saltmarsh. There, they restocked their healing potions (three each), picked up two suits of dragonscale armor (Kevin and Barron, leather and split) and Leah's masterwork bow. Gunnar ordered a masterwork bow, which the bowyer declared he was not ready for, but might be in a month when it was ready -- if he practiced with the one he already had.
Planning to spend the night in the sage's tower, the party had agreed to meet there. Elion separated from the rest, asking after rumors of a wizard who might be able to teach him new spells. Barron snuck after Elion, with something very strange indeed on his mind. Oddly enough, though, the directions Elion received also led him to the sage's tower, though he did not recognize the address (having never been there before). Once there, he knocked. Barron emerged from the shadows and used the password to open the door. The two of them explored briefly before calling out loudly, "Hello? Is anyone here?"
A voice from above replied, accusing them of breaking into his home. After some negotiations and many complaints, Elion and Jim agreed to trade spells: Elion would provide a scroll of Unseen Servant, which he had found on his adventures, and Jim the new court wizard would provide a scroll of Find Familiar. The exchange would ahve gone smoothly, save that Elion failed to learn the Unseen Servant spell when he tried to copy it into his spellbook first, and so left a false copy of the spell for Jim. And, of course, Barron stayed behind to attempt an ambush.
Jim was successfully ambushed. However, while Barron attempted to extort a sort of rental agreement and groundkeepers' role from Jim, and Jim protested that General Perneti himself had given him permission to live in the tower, Jim was also using the time to scramble back up the stairs to the top of his tower. While negotiations continued, a sequence of strange flashes was seen by those outside the tower... flashes in some sort of pattern.
Having successfully signaled the guard for help while distracting Barron with negotiations, Jim decided to go on the attack. He lept from the top of the stairs, muttering the words of a Featherfall spell as he did. Barron called out "He wants to play rough, guys!" The party wasted their time readying missile weapons. On the next round, Jim cast Sleep, knocking Elion and Gunnar out of the fight, and then landed. Barron attacked and left Jim with a minor cut, not enough to end the fight. Kevin cast Produce Flame and lit the staircase on fire while shouting threats.
Jim opened the next round with three magic missiles to Barron's face as Leah rushed in from outside the tower. Jim beat her initiative roll and cast Charm Person; Leah is Jim's good friend for the next two weeks (at least), until she makes a save. This also took Pyro out of the fight. Kevin chose to throw his Produce Flame at Jim, which did no immediate damage but set his robes on fire.
This brought Jim close to death, and Barron negotiated his surrender, then put out the flames by pouring a healing potion on the burning wizard while he begged. Barron then resumed negotiations, seeking to keep title to the tower while leaving Jim there as a "caretaker" paying rent. Despite his close call, Jim was pretty insistent that he had the full right to live there.
Shortly thereafter, two guards from the city watch arrived, followed closely by Thic Duc. They approached the door, banging on it loudly and demanding entry. "Open up in the name of the General!" they shouted! Barron quickly demanded Jim reassure them they all was well. "I'll be right there," Jim replied, "and I'm perfectly fine, no one is holding me hostage right now!" Barron cursed under his breath.
After a few minutes of pounding, with creative excuses for delay, Barron swung the door open. Elion greeted the guards and immediately began casting. The guards recognized it and attacked, but failed to interrupt the spell. The targeted guard failed his save against Elion's Charm Person, and Elion took a minor wound from the other. The two guards immediately began arguing over what to do, with the uncharmed guard dragging his partner away while explaining that he was under the effect of a spell. Before they left, Jim called out, "I'm not being held captive by 5 people and a huge dog!" It was Elion's turn to groan, while the guards reassured him they would be back with reinforcements.
Seeking to honor the deal they had negotiated under duress, Elion took his scroll of Unseen Servant and attempted to copy it into his spellbook, and then prepare a scroll to offer to in trade. He failed to learn the spell, and chose to present an inperfect (ie, useless) copy of the spell to Jim in trade for Jim's perfectly honorable copy of Find Familiar.
The party proceeded in a hurry to the village of Darkshelf, one step ahead of the guards. One of them gave a jaunty wave as they passed by.
In Darkshelf, the party found a small mining town with four taverns surrounding the central area and a lone peddler hawking his wares. Aside from him and the occasional resident making their way from one tavern to another, the streets were empty.
The taverns are named:
The party first visited Fair Measure, and found it to be about half full of well-dressed individuals and their bodyguards and staff. The party bought drinks and took in a meal, asking questions about the town. They learned that more bodies have been found in the area, attacked by something with teeth. Strangely, carnivorous fish still seems to be the opinion of the locals, despite the town being inland. They are puzzled by this as well.
During the meal, Gunnar asked about how they would find slavers rather loudly. Oops. Later, when they asked for a recommendation on where to spend the night, the barmaid directed them to the Rest In Peace.
To be continued...
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