The Architects of Betrayal (TAB) 2: Silence is Silver
Updated: Jul 20
As we left our heroes they'd been arrested by the watch and marched off to jail. The guard quickly separated the groups, throwing the Harpers and Cultists in their own small cells and chucking everyone else into the larger one. It wasn't long before the Harpers were released for unknown reasons.
Afterwards each of the cupcakes was trooped, one by one, into the magistrates office for some light questioning. That's my way of saying I made everyone else wait in the dining room while having each one on one in the living room. And I insisted they stay in character, because I'm devious like that. By the time I was done they'd all realized they had business in Blackstaff Tower and decided to group up. Because I'm devious, not because they wanted to play as a group. . .
That bonding ritual executed, they were released with a strong warning about engaging in such schoolyard clique behaviors. But as they were being trouped out one of the cultists pulled out a bag of alchemical powder and threw it at them, despite the fact that none of them were alchemists. Fortunately for the group he was as nearsighted as a storm trooper (you'll get used to my penchant for rolling 1's) and managed to hit the bars right in front of him. Unfortunately for our heroes the fine powder spread in a fifteen foot radius hitting most of them, causing a brief strangely disembodied burning sensation. And coughing. And complaining. Most of that was the gnome cursing that he'd forgotten his snorkel at home.
Once out of jail the group headed back to Blackstaff, this time armed with the letter Elminster gave to Calith. One glance from the receptionist found them launching to the upper floors in an air lift. Most of the group managed to make the transition out of the lift onto the floor fine.
Tanic pegged the landing.
Calith pegged the landing.
Zubat pegged the landing.
Vex pegged the landing.
Zornesk . . . landed on his face.
Quagrim . . . did a triple axle, followed by twin wall kicks before pegging the landing. Showoff.
The meeting with Khelban went both better and nothing like I'd expected. Calith presented her letter and described how she'd known it was an Harper that had poisoned her mother by their characteristic symbol tattooed on his chest. After reading the letter Khelban assured her that Harpers tried to retain their anonymity and wouldn't tatoo themselves with their symbol. Still convinced that the Harpers were involved she decided to stick with the gnome, in the hopes that his previous ambushing was not a fluke.
The gnome then explained his needs. Khelban gave him a hard once over as if something seemed off before asking for the artifact. As it turned out the piece belonged to Arumdina, the axe once held by Garl Glittergold. By divining upon it momentarily he was able to gain glimpses of the other pieces' locations. The haft was in the ruins of a great castle to the far north east, somewhere in Narfel. The hilt was currently held by a wizard half a day's travel east of Neverwinter. The blade was clouded from his vision.
He also explained that the gem would act as a locator for the other pieces, when the group got close enough, by glowing at the closest end.
Zubat could be forgiven for missing some of this for at the mention of the axe's name (almost as if scripted) he suffered a flashback of him paging through an ancient tome in the library of the gnomish village of Augerhead.
And of course, interspersed within this it was Vex and Zubat (not Tanic) making odd comments, each punctuated by Zornesk offering to kneecap them. In his defense that's about as high as he can reach. But after the third or fourth threat Khelban used the silence spell that had Tanics name written all over it on the kobold. Of course this only encouraged Alex to act like a mime and silently mouth everything. (I gave him extra xp for staying in character)
Of course, they completely forgot to ask about the alchemical powder that burned their souls. You'd think that was important to them. Well, except Tanic. I'm fairly certain he sold his some time back; probably for a copper piece, somehow still managing to feel guilty for ripping the poor sod off. On the plus, Khelban gave them access to the library to research the hints he'd gleaned. As they were leaving his lab the more perceptive of the group might have heard him muttering to apparently no one that this went way past coincidence.
Back into the air lifts they went. In the interests of protecting certain member's pride I'll leave what happened up to your imagination. Also the gnome gets too much attention as it is.
While in the library it suddenly dawned on them that burning souls were an important question. On cue Khelban dimension doored into the library, almost as if he was their latest stalker. Apparently he'd noticed the aura caused by the powder but had chosen to give the subject the respect of an STD: don't ask, don't tell. He informed them that it was a tracking compound and tried to remove it. And failed. That's right, I said it. Khelban failed to remove it. (don't tell him, but he can (barely) do it. I just rolled poorly.)
Afterwards the group decided to pay Augerhead a visit, as it was the closest location. And so they set out, completely unaware of the magnitude of the forces they were opposing.
There was just enough time to get one random encounter in the game so I had them get attacked by 3 wild boars as they slept. As fortune would have it Tanic just happened to be sleeping closest to them. Imagine the horror of waking up to a boar treating your legs like the breakfast sausage you'd eaten earlier. That was made of pig. Almost makes you believe in karma.
And of course Tanic had to get even with the boars. So after almost succumbing to a CR3 creature he then cut off said CR 3 creature's head and back skin. And proceeded to use it as a hat and cloak as he pranced around like a rich fop showing off the latest fashion at a ball. The Rogue's New Clothes, if you will. Meanwhile the gnome got it into his head that following suit would start a trend, and used another boar's head . . . as a helmet. Needless to say, the rest of the party was beginning to wonder about their choice of companions.