Shadows of Acheron

37 - Mint Condition
  • Azerus sent his servants Rory and Steve to help Bendix track down Hazelnut Waffles, the corrupt police mage who framed them for the murder of Silvia Swanson.
  • The party sat down and digested all of the information they knew so far. Dark Dawn had always been interested in gathering power (from both the Shadowfel and Feywild), gathering large weapons of mass destruction (at the Goblin Kingdoms), and destabilizing local governments (at Argent).
  • Dark Dawn clearly wanted to attack the party’s reputation and implicate them in murder to get them out of the way. Clearly a major plot was about to be executed in Arkadia.
  • Bendix, with Rory’s help, located Hazelnut Waffles. She was near one of Arkadia’s Residuum Mints, the sources of limitless ritual components which were used to create Arkadia’s currency and fuel the magical rituals that made the city so magnificent.
  • Clearly Dark Dawn’s ultimate plan was to break into these mints and steal massive amounts of Residuum, perhaps to fuel some massive ritual of nefarious consequences.
  • Bendix contacted some of his colleagues in the city… “Baby Body” Muldoon (a halfling male rogue who was an expert at infiltration), “Miracle Girl” (a human female jack-of-all-trades), Slotrow Hornbath (a half-elf male master of disguise), and Hodgemaproops (a gnome male illusionist). This group gave their opinions how how to best perform a heist of this magnitude, and told the party what to look out for.
  • A plan was formulated. Team A would go to the mint Hazelnut Waffles was at and try to stop her from breaking in. Team B (the thief team) would go to a different mint and stop them from breaking in. Team C would warn the gods and Archibald Bacon about everything, hopefully getting them involved in protecting the other 3 mints.
  • The party (Team A), arrived at the mint Hazelnut was at. She was already inside. They used magic to disguise themselves as the mint’s president and entourage and sneaked inside.
  • They convinced the security team that they were performing a spot inspection, and navigated to the vault, where they found Hazelnut in the middle of her theft of all the Residuum in the vault.
  • After a brief skirmish, they subdued Hazelnut and stopped her from stealing the magical components.
  • Archibald Bacon showed up with a squad of Arkadian police. Reginald Van Dyke also showed up a moment later to again chastise the party for their involvement in crimes.
  • Surprisingly, Van Dyke suddenly stabbed Bacon in the back, killing him! He ordered the police to attack and kill the party as well. Van Dyke was a member of Dark Dawn, and was behind this entire plot!
  • The party killed him in an epic battle.
  • All told, they stopped Dark Dawn from stealing the contents of the vault they were at. Team B (the thief team) also stopped Dark Dawn from stealing their mint’s contents… only to steal the contents for themselves. The other 3 mints were unfortunately successfully robbed by the cult.
  • The next day, they resurrected both Van Dyke and Bacon and interrogated Van Dyke. He revealed it was too late, that the 3 mints worth of Residuum was more than enough to complete the ritual they needed to perform, and “the master” would be more powerful than ever before, and become unstoppable. When asked who “the master” was, Van Dyke said, Yusha of course.
  • Archibald Bacon said the party should travel to a location called The Glimmering Isle, which was the place of origin for the two cults. Bendix recognized this from ancient history as the final resting place of the body of Yusha.
  • Over the next few days, the truth came out in the public about the End of the World, the party’s involvement in trying to stop it, and the recent smear campaign to destroy their reputation. In time, the controversy will die out, but people have very mixed opinions about the whole situation.
  • Has Yusha come back from the grave “tainted” by the evil he once fought? Has Dark Dawn gathered enough power to complete their evil plans? They have already gathered energy from the Shadowfel and Feywild, and obtained vast amounts of Residuum from Arkadia. Van Dyke claims it’s too late, but the party now ventures out into the wild once more to attempt to find The Glimmering Isle and get to the bottom of this once and for all.
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36 - The Plot Thickens... Again
  • Reginald Van Dyke showed up to investigate the scene of Silvia’s death in the park. He agreed to let them leave the scene as long as they remained under the watchful eye of Archibald Bacon.
  • Bucky Brooks released another article about the murder of Silvia Swanson at the hands of the party, and how they tried to kill him too. This was devastating to the party’s already shaky reputation.
  • The party decided the best way to combat the rumors and implications was to cooperate fully with the investigation. The police were recording all of their actions magically, so the recording should prove they didn’t kill Silvia. They decided to turn themselves into the police.
  • In the “Accusation Parlor”, the new more politically correct name for the “Interrogation Room”, the party submitted themselves to questioning.
  • Hazlenut Waffles, the gnome mage who cast the tracking spell on them, cast a ritual to play back the recording of the events from the park.
  • Surprisingly, the recordings had somehow been doctored! It clearly showed Darius Nirro summoning the Behir which killed Silvia, and Diego attempting to kill Bucky Brooks!
  • The party was immediately placed under arrest, but they spotted the Dark Dawn tattoo on Hazlenut Waffles’ shoulder!
  • Archibald Bacon came to the party’s cell and helped them break out of prison, saying this all was a Dark Dawn plot and obviously they wanted the party out of the way. Something big was coming up soon, and they needed to be free to stop it.
  • After a daring escape, the party boarded their airship. Murza, the god of luck, contacted them and offered them a place to hide aboard his giant floating airship casino. They flew and docked up there and began to plan their next move.
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35 - I'm Bucky Brooks!
  • The party set about investigating Silvia Swanson, the reporter for the Arkadian Times who was suspiciously “in the know” about the party’s misdeeds, and had been printing stories about various atrocities they’d committed. They suspected she was secretly a member of Dark Dawn, and was pulling strings to set this whole plot into motion.
  • They tracked down where she lived and where she worked. Most of the party distracted the door man at her apartment complex while Izzegio “Izzy” Harloen sneaked upstairs to have a chat with her.
  • She surprisingly let Izzy into her apartment. Izzy asked why she had been reporting all of these bad things about them without ever hearing their side of the story. She agreed to let the party come to the newspaper office and have an exclusive interview to clear their name.
  • Izzy failed to “put the moves” on her, but did manage to sneak a peek into her study and spy a new article she was writing. From what he could gather, the article was about how the party, with the help of Azerus and other deities, were concealing facts about the supposed “End of the World,” and were involved in a major conspiracy.
  • After leaving, the party cast a ritual to allow Izzy to scry into her apartment once more. He witnessed her having a discussion with someone, saying “phase 2” was almost ready to begin, and they should meet in the “usual spot” tomorrow after her interview with the party.
  • The party went to a competitor newspaper named the Gazette and tracked down a plucky young cub reporter named Bucky Brooks. They preemptively fed him the “real, true” story about everything from the End of the World to their involvement with the cyclops village murders, etc. He was excited to get the “scoop” on the story.
  • The next day, Darius Nirro paid for the Gazette to print triple the amount of papers normally in circulation, and Izzy bribed paperboys from the Times to throw that paper away and distribute the Gazette instead, thereby ensuring that their version of the story would flood the streets instead of the “false” story printed by Silvia Swanson.
  • The party ran into Zyne at the Gazette office. He was happily giving an interview with Silvia in order to further drag the party’s name through the mud.
  • The group had their interview with Silvia and informed her that her plan was foiled, that they had preemptively released all details of the story to the public. She was not happy.
  • After the interview, they followed Silvia to her secret meeting spot in the middle of the park. She was having a discussion with a person who turned out to be Bucky Brooks. It was a simple matter of her wondering how he had scooped her, and didn’t appear to be the “secret meeting” she had alluded to earlier.
  • Silvia secretly summoned a giant dragon-like creature called a Behir, which immediately ate her, effectively she committed suicide. She managed to scream out to Bucky, saying the party had summoned the beast to kill and silence her. Bucky Brooks, terrified, began to run away but was stopped when Diego Armando knocked him unconscious.
  • The party killed the Behir, but when they looked around, Bucky Brooks had somehow disappeared without a trace. From Bucky’s perspective, they had killed Silvia. This was bound to come up again in the near future.
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34 - A Gaggle of Orphans Without Depth Perception
  • The Arkadian police officers Archibald Bacon and Reginald Van Dyke investigated the crime scene of Bane Brisbee‘s murder. Darius Nirro and Balthazar set about the work of hiding evidence of the company’s involvement in any misdeeds, and locating Bane’s will… which laid out 50 different ways to attempt to bring him back to life before actually moving on to making other plans about the company or his wealth.
  • Hazlenut Waffles, a female gnome mage with the Arkadian police force, cast a ritual which displayed an illusion recreating the events in the room over the last few hours. A shadowy figure was seen murdering Bane and then setting up the explosives outside the window.
  • This cleared the party of direct involvement, but as a precautionary measure, Van Dyke told Hazlenut to cast a tracking spell on the party. This would record their actions and allow the police to track their whereabouts for the next few days until this whole thing blows over.
  • The attacks at the statue and Synergistics HQ were not the only ones. Many buildings around the city were bombed, including a church of Azerus, a church (aka Casino) of Murza, several government offices. The uniting pattern was all of the targets seem to be anyone who has ever helped our party of heroes.
  • Newspaper articles stirred up a lot of controversy, claiming the Coalition Expedition Force is a corrupt front, and the “heroes” are directly responsible for a few atrocities in the wilderness, including the attempted genocide of a tribe of cyclops, and the ritual slaughter of a religious tribe of trolls. The article highlighted the existence of refugee cyclops and troll orphans who were now dwelling in a slum of Arkadia who fled the destruction.
  • The party found the orphans in the slums, and it was all true. Anna Maelstrom took it upon herself to look after the children.
  • Meanwhile, Bendix and crew went back to the hotel to interrogate the mysterious assailant who blew up the statue of Darius the previous day. The perpetrator turned out to be a female cyclops, the wife of the slain cyclops chief from the village in the wilderness. She swore to get revenge, and said she was not alone.
  • It seems the attacks around town were being committed by victims of the parties’ various deeds and misdeeds.
  • The party tracked down the port authority officer who admitted the orphan refugees into the city. He said a reporter named Silvia Swanson from the Arkadian Times had been by weeks ago to interview him about the children. The same reporter was responsible for writing the articles slandering the party and blaming them for the attacks.
  • The odd thing was, this reporter was aware of the situation weeks ago, and was suspiciously ahead of the curve on this plot. She warranted further investigation.
  • Archibald Bacon was contacted by Bendix and the others, and took the cyclops woman into police custody. He revealed that he was actually a member of the secret organization The Faithmarked, and he suspected the involvement of Dark Dawn in this plot.
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33 - Another Explosive Entrance
  • Ozymandias Menethil made another appearance on the airship. Bendix, unfamiliar with the wizard, approached and spoke. Ozy proceeded to freak out and use highly overpowered teleportation magic to send the airship careening through multiple planes of existence. Anna Maelstrom was finally able to calm him down.
  • Azerus appeared after the commotion and revealed what he believed to be the cause… Ozy has become the new god of Travel. Azerus had sent him beyond the rift to determine what had happened to Terminus, the previous god of Travel who hadn’t been heard from since the cataclysm. Ozy found his body and absorbed his divinity, and was having a hard time adjusting to his new state. Azerus would need to help Ozy through this time, being the only mortal who has actually ascended to godhood before.
  • The party then traveled to Arkadia to follow up on their investigation into the mysterious organization Dark Dawn. The trolls in the Goblin Kingdoms had information that could only have come from someone with detailed knowledge about ancient history… which only could come from someone in Arkadia.
  • Upon arrival, the party witnessed the explosion which destroyed the beloved statue of Darius Nirro. Above the site, the words “Your idols are false, and must be destroyed” were written in the sky in fire. The explosion also killed a few innocent bystanders. Springing into action, they resurrected a small child and attended to the wounds of others.
  • Faren Harloen, from aboard the airship, spotted a large cloaked figure in the crowd. The others ran after it, and Bendix managed to mark the target with his ability to track them down for 24 hours.
  • Darius discovered the explosion was caused by an alchemical explosive combined with a magical ritual to create the words in the sky. They noted the best place to obtain such reagents was the magical superstore named “Prestidigitation Nation.”
  • Reginald Van Dyke and Archibald Bacon, members of the Arkadian Police, showed up at the scene to investigate. Van Dyke, an inept captain, bickered with Bendix about their storied past. Bacon simply asked how his parents were doing and offered to take him out for a drink sometime.
  • The gang went to Prestidigitation Nation and asked for a list of names of people who acquired any reagents that could be used to make the explosives.
  • They also attempted to do some shopping, but realized they did not have Arkadian currency, which are paper bills infused with Residiuum (magical reagents). Bendix took them to a bank to exchange their currency before they were able to purchase equipment.
  • After shopping, Bendix tracked down the mysterious assailant to a seedy hotel on the other side of the city. He was able to sneak in while the person was in the shower and place paralytic poison in their shoes.
  • Meanwhile, Darius went to the headquarters of Synergistics to check in with them, only to discover that the CEO, Bane Brisbee, had been murdered! He summoned Balthazar and they began going over the legal implications of this event.
  • As they were talking, Darius noticed another cloaked figure on the ledge outside. The figure placed an explosive on the window and dove off the side of the building. Darius and Balthazar dove behind cover just as it exploded.
  • The others on the streets below saw the explosion and rushed to investigate. They arrived just as the Arkadian Police did. Van Dyke ordered that they stay where they are, as this was now an active crime scene.
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32 - The Goblin City is Saved! Well... About Two-Thirds of It!
  • The party began their epic show-down with Rakash atop the walking castle. He was being guarded by two troll shamans and the last two constructs provided by the castle… two large shield guardians who were protecting him from all damage.
  • Outside the castle, the battle also raged between the Stone Dragon of Dragonstone, The Wyvern Airship, and the giant walking castle.
  • Although he gave it a valiant attempt, Bendix was unable to take the castle’s control gem over. It seemed to have chosen Rakash as its new master, and he would have to be killed before it would allow anyone else to control the castle… some sort of fail safe mechanism for the castle.
  • Outside, the Stone Dragon ripped off the second and final arm from the castle, leaving it with just its energy beam attack.
  • Finally both shield guardians were destroyed, one of the two troll shamans were killed, and the other one ran away, leaving Rakash alone to deal with. Bendix finished the job by stabbing him in the back.
  • To their surprise, the castle’s control gem shot a beam out, pulling his body back into the chamber and bringing him back to life! This fight wasn’t over yet!
  • Outside, the castle was getting worn down bit by bit. It wouldn’t be long now.
  • The party overwhelmed Rakash again, killing him a second time, something Bendix claimed he had never had to do before… and he didn’t like it!
  • Outside, almost simultaneously, The Wyvern Airship landed the final blow to the castle, which immediately started crumbling and collapsing.
  • On the roof, the intrepid Darius Nirro quickly grabbed the now-powered-down control gem of the castle and stowed it in his bag.
  • The party all activated various magical items and flew off the castle to the ground below.
  • After the battle, the Goblin King thanked the group by giving Izzegio Harloen a Friendship Bracelet. You heard me. The king also said that any magical items they discover in the ruins of the castle were also the party’s to keep. They did ask that any gold or gems in the rubble be left to the Goblin Kingdoms for repair of the Stone Dragon and the rest of the city.
  • The Goblin King agreed that the Goblin Kingdoms should join the Southern Kingdoms, and he would meet with the leaders of the other kingdoms as soon as possible.
  • Jimmy the Troll was declared the “Hero of Dragonstone” for his sacrifice in powering the Stone Dragon, staying alive only by using his troll regeneration. He was named the new General of the Goblin Armies.
  • Darius negotiated with the Goblin King, securing an exclusive contract with the Goblin Kingdoms for Paradigm, aka Synergistics South. The company will provide imported magical goods and services from Arkadia in order to repair the Stone Dragon and improve Goblin society in general.
  • Anna Maelstrom warmed up to the advances of Dreod, ultimately agreeing that she and Gary G. Gnoll would accompany the party on their airship now that their business in the Goblin Kingdoms was done. They’d be able to gather much more information for the Argent League of Explorers while travelling with the party.
  • Darius identified the magical properties of the castle’s focus gem. It was a powerful artifact and would react favorably to an owner of “fey” origin, so he reluctantly gave it to Dreod. The gem was forged into the Stoneshard Gem Necklace and had the powers of stone control.
  • The party all had a conference with Azerus, who was surprised anyone knew the location of that buried animated castle. It had been lost and had last been seen well before The Cataclysm, so no one in the Southern Kingdoms should know anything about it.
  • Jimmy said he had noticed one thing about Rakash recently. He had gotten a new tattoo on his shoulder which didn’t match any troll tribal tattoo designs. The party recognized the symbol Jimmy drew as the symbol of Dark Dawn, the secret organization that Altruis Whisperwind had been a part of.
  • If Rakash was getting information from Dark Dawn, and no one should know about the castle in the Southern Kingdoms, Bendix inferred that the organization also had to have ties to Arkadia as well… troubling.
  • Finally, throughout the course of the conference, Bendix finally was caught up-to-date with all information the party knows, including the fact that they are trying to prevent the end of the world, and that they are in possession of The Sword of Yusha.
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31 - In Goblin Kingdom, Castle Storms YOU!

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  • The castle was indeed mobile, and very… VERY large. Apparently the bulk of it had still been buried underground when the party had entered it.
  • The party determined the destination of the walking castle to be the Goblin Kingdom’s capital city of Dragonstone! They needed to act fast or else the entire city may be destroyed.
  • The party received a communication through their sending stone from Euro Albion, the captain of the Wyvern Airship. He was wondering if the party was aware of the situation, and asked for their advice as to what they should do. Diego Armando advised the captain that the situation was “fine… don’t worry about it.” The captain responded by immediately ordering his crew to prepare for full-scale battle.
  • Meanwhile, Rory, Steve, and Jimmy the Troll had arrived in Dragonstone hours earlier and were conversing with Anna Maelstrom and Gary G. Gnoll when the giant “Castle Man” appeared on the horizon. They all immediately ran up the dragon-shaped mountain to the Goblin keep on top and started asking the king what they could do to help defend the city.
  • The king told them there was this “instruction book” that had been handed down from Goblin King to Goblin King over the years. He knew it had something to do with the town’s defense, but he had never read it himself, because it had “never come up.” Rory began translating the magical ritual instructions contained within the texts.
  • Meanwhile, the party was inside the castle, and started running toward the staircase to make their way up to Rakash to stop this thing! They were interrupted when two animated constructs… with parts both mechanical and magical, attacked them. The robots had retractable blades in their arms, and could change the elemental magic the blades were charged with at will. They systematically began attacking the party, amassing data on their individual elemental resistances and adjusting their fighting styles accordingly.
  • While the battle raged inside, Captain Euro Albion communicated over the sending stone that the front facing of the Castle Man had opened up, and it looked like a giant “mouth”. Diego warned the captain to pull up and get out of the way. The Wyvern Airship did just that, and barely dodged out of the way as a giant energy beam blasted out of the opening, tearing a large section of the Goblin City up.
  • Meanwhile, Rory had finished translating the Goblin instructions… apparently there was a room underneath the Goblin Keep, within the mountain, that they needed to get to and perform a ritual. The group (Jimmy, Rory, Steve, Anna, and Gary) made their way down and found the room, which had a glowing red crystal in the middle of it, suspended in mid-air by a column of pure magical energy.
  • Rory and Steve, both high-ranking members of the church of Azerus, the god of magic, began performing the ritual. However, the ritual required great sacrifice, as someone needed to grab the crystal and be the focus of the ritual, but they would surely be killed in the process. Jimmy the Troll stepped up, saying, “I’m a troll… I regenerate, baby!” He became the focus, and luckily he was healing just as fast as he was being disintegrated, but he was in incredible pain.
  • Outside, everyone could now see the results of Jimmy’s sacrifice as the mountain in the middle of Dragonstone, which was in the shape of a sleeping dragon, became magically animated and in fact became a Stone Dragon!
  • Now the Goblin City below was being defended against the giant Castle Man by the Wyvern Airship and the Stone Dragon (epic)!
  • Meanwhile, Warren Maelstrom suddenly became visible, peeking out of the upper windows of the Goblin Keep on the Stone Dragon’s back. He was with the Goblin’s High Shaman, and was wielding the Goblin Tri-Crystal. Apparently the keep had a focus for the artifact on top, and Warren could direct the crystal’s shield to pinpoint areas around the city to protect. He was heard yelling, almost maniacally, “Aren’t you glad I gave the Goblins back their artifact now!?!?!” Diego yelled, “No!”
  • Inside the castle, the party had finished dispatching the robots. At this point, Bendix decided that the large energy beam the castle was firing needed to be disabled. He told Diego to call Euro Albion and have him bring the airship close to the front of the Castle Man, and advised that the rest of them should make their way up the keep’s stairs to try to reach Rakash.
  • Diego told Euro to bring the airship up, and to expect their new friend Bendix to be joining them on the airship. Euro asked, “…wait, did you say BENDIX?!?!? Aww, hell!” As it turns out, Bendix and Euro worked together long ago in Arkadia. Bendix was on an assassination mission and Euro was piloting the airship he was on. Bendix decided the best way to complete his mission was to drop the entire airship on his target. As a result of this incident, Euro Albion lost one of his eyes, which is why he still wears an eye patch to this day.
  • Bendix leapt off the front of the castle, flipping through the air nearly 30 feet down to the deck of the Wyvern as it passed by below. When he saw who the captain was, he said, “Thanks for keeping an eye out for me!” After Euro scowled at him, Bendix reassured him, saying that he was still planning on finding a new eye for Euro one of these days.
  • Outside, the Stone Dragon attacked the Castle Man, but was dismayed as they discovered the giant castle was being protected by a magical shield. The Castle retaliated by grabbing the Stone Dragon, punching it repeatedly, and blasting it with its energy beam.
  • Euro Albion conveyed this information to the party, and they all agreed to search inside the castle for a way to disable the shields.
  • Bendix jumped off the airship into the mouth of the giant castle and ran inside, hoping to reach the inner workings before the energy beam fired again.
  • The party ran up the stairs and searched until they found a room filled with mechanical and magical equipment. Dreod determined that yes, indeed, this was the room that was generating the shields for the castle. However, they noticed that the room was also being guarded by more of the castle’s robot drones. Diego and Izzegio held off the robots while Dreod analyzed and disassembled the shield equipment. She did this by throwing seeds into the gears and causing them to sprout into giant vines, gumming up the machine and causing it to overload.
  • Bendix had reached the room that powered and focused the energy beam, and began dismantling it. As he did so, another of the castle’s robot drones attacked him. Bendix threw a dagger, slicing the drone’s head off. He then used his assassin tricks to become insubstantial, grab the robot’s head, and phase it into the inside of the machinery, leaving it behind. He capped the destruction off by pulling out the large-sized Greatsword he took from one of the troll foremen earlier, shoving it into the machines, and snapping it in half.
  • As the machinery exploded behind him, Bendix activated his Winged Boots and flew out of the castle’s mouth.
  • Outside, the battle still raged on. The shields had now been deactivated and the castle’s weapons had been weakened but were still functional. The Stone Dragon sustained heavy damages, but was able to leap up onto the Castle and attack it viciously, ripping off one of its giant stone arms! The arm fell on part of the city below, destroying several city blocks.
  • Inside, the party had made its way further up the keep and had found an Artifactory which was creating and churning out the robot drones that were protecting the keep. Bendix flew into the window and rejoined the main party. The room was occupied by 3 trolls who were operating the machines, as well as a few robot drones.
  • During the battle, Dreod and Bendix were able to destroy the machinery in the room, disabling the castle’s ability to generate more drones.
  • All of the remaining drones were killed, along with the trolls in the room… save for one. Bendix poisoned the poor ice troll, causing him to permanently become insane. He began dancing around the room like a chicken (well, SORT of like a chicken… he had no real concept of what chickens are really supposed to sound like), and declaring his hatred for Rakash, the troll boss who dragged him into this whole mess. The party convinced the insane troll to lead them to where Rakash was so they could make him pay!
  • Outside, the battle raged on between the Stone Dragon, the Wyvern Airship, and the giant Castle Man. The Stone Dragon took the brunt of the damage, and was in really bad shape. Goblin City was also taking its share of collateral damage, but was still in manageable shape.
  • Finally the party emerged on the roof of the keep, and were able to look out over the city and see the sheer destruction that was unfolding below them. On the roof, in a chamber similar to the one Jimmy the Troll was in inside the Stone Dragon, Rakash stood, grasping a gem to control the castle. On either side of the chamber stood two large robots, much larger than the ones the party had seen previously. And finally, two more trolls, the last of Rakash’s men, completed his entourage.
  • It was time for the final showdown… Will the Goblin City of Dragonstone be destroyed? Will Rakash pay for his crimes against goblin-kind? What ever happened to that guard troll on the wall of the keep? Will he replace Gretch’s stolen ham?
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30 - When I Come Back You'd Better Have Replaced That Ham!
  • Darius gave Jimmy the Troll a stern warning, assuring him that the last several individuals who had double-crossed him have ended up on fire. Jimmy assured the party that he had seen the error of his ways, and never liked the other trolls anyway, especially since their boss Rakash was so secretive about his plans.
  • The group made their way toward the newly-uncovered castle in the middle of the swamp, arguing all along the way about what the best method would be of shutting Rory up. A few suggestions ranged all the way from giving her free food to eat to non-lethal poisons, all the way to using a dimensional dagger to remove her tongue or vocal chords. Ultimately, they occupied her by pantomiming the motion of throwing a ball into the swamp and letting her trek around for minutes trying to find it.
  • Upon arriving at the castle, they noticed a small humanoid figure stuck flailing on the castle wall. It was Gretch, a Goblin shaman whose hut had been destroyed when the castle sprang up from under the swamp. After helping her down, they agreed to let her tag along to get restitution for her destroyed belongings.
  • While conversing with their new travelling buddy, Bendix noticed a troll perched on the wall and eating Ham above them. He was just about to alert the others of the party’s presence when Bendix decided to use the troll’s less-than-stellar intelligence to his advantage. Bendix claimed that Rakash, the troll leader, had arranged to have the party meet him here in case the other groups of trolls had been killed. The party was “back up”, and the gate should be opened immediately. It was determined that the ham came from Gretch’s destroyed hut, so Bendix warned the troll that he needed to replace every bit of ham he had stolen. Confused and not wanting to face Rakash’s wrath for the stolen ham, the troll opened the castle gates for the party.
  • Rory, Steve, and Jimmy the Troll were sent back to the Goblin Kingdom’s capital city of Dragonstone to warn them about what was happening here.
  • They made their way toward the keep in the center of the castle, and came upon a group of trolls guarding the entrance. Bendix futilely attempted to bluff his way past the guards, but they were under very strict orders and didn’t go for it.
  • As it turns out, one of the guards had two pets… some pretty dangerous Displacer Beasts. During the fight that ensued, all of the trolls and one of the beasts were killed. Dreod was able to calm the remaining animal down and speak with it. It told the party Rakash was at the top of the keep, and there were no more than 4 or 5 more trolls left, now that all the others had been killed. After answering the questions, the beast ran away into the swamp.
  • The party entered the keep and decided that only 4 or 5 trolls were no real threat, so they had time to take a full rest before engaging them in battle. Darius used his dimensional dagger to open a pocket dimension, and the party climbed inside to take a well-deserved rest.
  • When they came out of the pocket dimension the next day, the party was surprised to find that the ground beneath them was shaking. They were even more surprised when they looked out the keep’s windows and noticed that the entire castle seemed to be moving! As it turns out, the “ancient weapon” the trolls had been looking for wasn’t buried inside this castle, the “ancient weapon” WAS the castle!
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29 - Mrkplx... You Done F@#ked Up!
  • As we picked up where we left our heroes, Darius “Double Luck” Nirro and Dreod were in the middle of the interrogation of the captured troll witch doctor who killed poor Clip-Clop the horse.
  • The troll knew only a partial piece of the full story. He said his boss, Rakash, gave them all instructions to seek out these pylons in the swamp and perform these rituals. He said they were searching for an ancient and powerful weapon which was buried in the swamp. He did not, however, know who gave any of this information to Rakash or what specifically they were looking for beneath the earth.
  • Darius thanked the troll for his cooperation by allowing him to be engulfed in a minor fireball, clearly one of the least powerful of his spells.
  • Meanwhile, we joined an odd collection of individuals who were themselves travelling in the swamp, on their way north to try to find our main group of heroes. This group consisted of Bendix, an assassin, who was being escorted by two members of the church of Azerus named Steve and Rory. Hilarity ensued as Bendix became increasingly annoyed by Rory’s simple-mindedness and lack of basic understanding of magical principles even though she was a high ranking official of the god of magic’s church.
  • Bendix parlayed with Darius, and explained that he was sent to join the group. Bendix has been hired by an unknown benefactor, and his task as the World’s Greatest Assassin is to kill the god Zyne! As the party has been known to have their differences with the god, Bendix figured his best shot was to tag along with them. Azerus agreed to help the assassin reach the other heroes since Zyne had attempted to sabotage and kill the team on many occasions.
  • The group set out to track the rest of the trolls in the swamp, and discovered that there were a total of 4 pylons in the swamp, and 3 of them had already been activated! They quickly made their way to the last one.
  • They came upon another group of trolls who were in the middle of the activation of the last pylon. A battle erupted as a result.
  • In the fray, Bendix addressed one of the trolls, calling him " Jimmy ." The troll insisted that his name was “Zubex,” but this protest fell on deaf ears. Bendix made a strong argument to Jimmy that he should avoid being killed, and should instead turn on his friends and join the party. After seeing the sheer destruction these assailants were capable of, Jimmy soon agreed and helped the heroes take down his friends.
  • Bendix also attempted to convince another troll named Mrkplx, or “Jimmy 2” as Bendix called him, to jump ship. Mrkplx was not as amenable to negotiation as Jimmy, and so Mrkplx responded to Bendix by lobbing a spell at him, causing roots to spring from the ground and attempt to entangle him.
  • Bendix exclaimed, “Mrkplx… You Done F@#ked Up!” Mrkplx was soon destroyed in a storm of blades and fire.
  • The party was unable to stop the completion of the activation ritual, and as they finished the battle, the earth beneath their feet began violently shaking. Soon, it became impossible to stand up.
  • All trolls except their new-found friend Jimmy were killed.
  • As the ground shook more violently, the group looked in the direction of the center of the swamp and saw an entire castle rising from beneath the earth. Clearly, this buried and magically sealed castle was the cause of the formation of this swamp. As the castle loomed ahead, the party feared they would not be able to make it there before the other trolls in the swamp would get there first.
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28 - Alas, Poor Clip-Clop, I Knew Him

Alternate Title – “Why Does Everything We Touch Catch On Fire? This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things!”

  • Darius “Double Luck” Nirro began the session by regaling the new members of the crew with the party’s heroic tales. As we recall, new crew members were hired in Argent to replace members of the airship crew who were lost in various cyclops attacks, sneak attacks, and ship cannon explosions along the way. The crew of the Wyvern now consists of people from a wide variety of locations, including Arkadia, Argent, and even the Feywild.
  • Anna requested that the party come to Dragonstone and help the goblins with troubles they are having in a swamp in the kingdom.
  • The Wyvern set sail through the air on a course to Dragonstone. Along the way, Izzegio “Izzy” Harloen was keeping watch over the ship one night… and keeping “extra special” watch over its pilot Laranh Grandfalcon. He noticed a person standing on the bow of the ship. It was Ozymandias Menethil! Before Izzy could react, Ozy disappeared from view. He recalled that this exact thing happened to Diego Armando a few weeks ago. Study of the area revealed traces of very high level teleportation magic.
  • Upon arriving at Dragonstone, which is nestled at the northernmost point of the Death Guard Mountains, the party was greeted by Anna and Gary G. Gnoll, who was now healthy again after his run-in with the Nightmare cultists so very long ago.
  • Izzy awkwardly attempted to reassure Anna that the past was in the past, and implied that he didn’t want to “make it weird” while inadvertently making it weird in the process by mentioning his new “girlfriend” Laranh Grandfalcon, the beautiful moon elf pilot of The Wyvern. Gary, who still has great affection for Anna, shook his head in disapproval. Darius, an old acquaintance and travelling companion of Anna’s and Gary’s, immediately recognized the situation at hand and decided to make things worse for his own amusement. He played the part of a “wing man” for Dreod, playing up they dryad’s exotic and extraplanar qualities to Anna, who seemed keenly interested. Could this be the beginnings of a rare “love polygon” with more interested parties and complications than previously thought possible? (Yes… yes it could.)
  • Anna took everyone to meet with the Goblin King, Grand Shaman, and General of the Goblin Kingdoms in the castle. The king explained that in the Vilewater Marsh to the north, there have been strange occurrences. After the investigative party went missing, they sent a search party. After the search party also went missing, the king declared the marsh “off limits” to goblins in the kingdom.
  • The party agreed to travel to the Vilewater Marsh and see what is going on there and solve the problem for the king. In return, the king agreed to meet the leaders of The Five Kingdoms and enter into diplomatic talks with them.
  • The Wyvern airship was left in the care of Warren Maelstrom, who wanted to stay behind to catch up with his sister Anna. He was overheard telling the Goblin King about all of the new fancy magical artifacts the group has found in their travels. Faren Harloen and Tamar Reeve also stayed behind with the crew.
  • Upon the group’s request, the goblins provided the party with a horse named Clip-Clop and a wagon for their journey north to the marsh. After a few days’ travel, they finally arrived.
  • Dreod noticed the soil was devoid of nutrients that were necessary for large plants to grow. Only slimes, molds, mosses, fungi, and vines could grow there.
  • After a day or two of searching through the marsh, the party came upon a man-made structure… what appeared to be a short cylindrical structure like a tower or silo. More importantly, the tower was surrounded by a group of large trolls who seemed to be in the middle of a magical ritual of some sort. Darius determined the ritual was intended to “activate” something, but wasn’t sure what.
  • In the intense battle that ensued, Darius accidentally(?) was too overzealous in his lobbing of fiery magics, and lit the wagon on fire. Unfortunately for Clip-Clop the horse, he was still harnessed to it. In a panic, Clip-Clop began running frantically all over the battlefield with the flaming cart in tow.
  • Clip-Clop was tragically killed right in front of Izzy by a troll witchdoctor’s shadow bolt. Izzy, in a most dramatic fashion, yelled “Clip-Clop… NOOOOOOO!!!”.
  • All trolls were slain except for one, the main witchdoctor who killed the horse. The trolls had managed to complete the ritual they were casting before the battle was over. The party decided to keep this troll alive in order to interrogate him.
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