Knowing they are too weak to challenge the Corpsecrafter, Newton, Thomas, and Bee choose to remain at camp for the rest of the night and approach in the morning.
As the sun rises, Newton prepares his spells and the party sets out to see if they can rescue Jenny from her own mistakes.
As they approach the walls of the town, they spot the bug-like thri-kreen looking down at them.
The thri-kreen are reluctant to allow them to enter, but Thomas convinces them they have something to trade.
When the gates open, the party notices that zombified thri-kreen are opening them.
Other zombies emerge into view, along with living members. They are surprisingly docile, suggesting they are being controlled somehow.
The party climbs some steps to the town center, where they meet the thri-kreen cleric of Wee-Jas.
It tries to get them to go away, but Newton insists upon viewing their temple.
The party enters and notices several crucified thri-kreen inside.
During their stay near the crucified members, Newton notices the deadly aura surrounding him and Thomas kills the weakened creatures.
They are followed by powerful looking thri-kreen as they enter.
The cleric enters, followed by a troll skeleton. It continues to try to get them to leave.
Bee catches Jenny’s scent, and the cleric accidentally indicates thet she might be in a nearby hut.
The party demands entry, but the cleric set the surrounding thri-kreen to attacking them.
Several of their assailants are undead called necropolitans, many of which Newton destroys in a single greater turning.
The thri-kreen are formidable, but Newton and Thomas dispatch them fairly quickly. Bee opts not to fight during the engagement.
Nonetheless, the cleric manages to summon a pair of wraiths that nearly kill Newton.
He is saved, surprisingly, by one of the living thri-kreen, which dies shortly thereafter to the troll skeleton after the cleric falls.
The party moves quickly to the nearby hut and Thomas peeks inside.
He sees a strange creature that seems to be the head of a hairless woman connected to the torso of a thri-kreen and the tail of a giant snake where legs would be.
Newton identifies this as a wight named Chimmetz, a creature Jenny knew during her stay with Father Craddock.
Along with Chimmetz is Jenny in hybrid form, staring blankly.
The party enters, and Chimmetz begins to sing a haunting tune.
They quickly realize it is trying to sap their strength, so they attack.
Bee is badly drained of energy by the wight’s draining strikes, but he manages to deal enough damage to cause it to flee.
Thomas tries to shake some sense into Jenny, but quickly realizes she was an illusion.
Newton heals Bee of his strength damage and energy drain.
The party returns to the temple and enter the catacombs below, where Bee claims to be following her scent.
Once there, Newton falls into a deep pit trap.
Before the party can figure out how to get him out, he’s accosted by Sliven.
He does his best to attack and defend in turn, but Sliven once again bests him, draining him of almost all his strength.
Thomas and Bee do what they can from above, but Sliven seems perched to finish Newton off for good.
Just then, though, Father Craddock emerges from a nearby door and orders Sliven to cease.
After the sinister shadow flees, Thomas climbs into the pit, helps Newton remove his heavy armor, and the two climb out.
Craddock invites them into his workshop where he’s stitching together a two-headed ghoul.
The demand to see Jenny, but Craddock insists on discussing the merits of undeath and the Naras-Timal first.
Thomas asks if the Havenite refugees are in any danger from him or his minions.
Craddock reveals that he knows of a force from the Warband setting out to destroy the refugees, bu insists that his own “people” are of no danger.
He also reveals that in the intervening 5 years since Jenny left him, he has become a lich, and spent a time-dilated stay in the negative energy plane of 30 years.
Craddock convinces Thomas to hold still for a spell, which was a mistake, as he implants a dangerous necrotic cyst in him
When Thomas demands an explanation, he treats it as “insurance”
Finally, the fully-armored Horresbin enters and takes the party to see Jenny, who is this time fully human, alongside Chimmetz.
She’s terrified to see the party, insisting she was fine and they were only endangering themselves by coming after her.
Newton and Thomas scold her for running off without speaking to them first.
Craddock presents the party with an offer: leave Newton behind for one evening so they may catch up, and he will destroy the hobgoblins threatening the refugees.
Newton agrees, but Jenny believes Craddock will try to turn Newton into one of his undead.
Craddock assures her of Newton’s safety by stating “I assure you, Jennifer, our friend Newton shall leave this place come tomorrow morning in one piece and with all of his bodily functions as they are now. Only he may choose otherwise.”
This seems to satisfy the party enough that they leave without him.
Newton and Jenny continue their daily Peloran lessons, and Bee rebuffs any of Thomas’ attempts at conversation, preferring to join any druids or rangers in their activities.
Thomas speaks with Fierna about her experiences after Roonda betrayed Llewellyn, and he begins to realize that her regret stems mostly from a realization that Roonda too easily manipulated her proclivity for violence.
He also reminds her that he and Newton have some sort of life-leeching aura, so they may not be the best people to protect the children in the group.
Fierna agrees, and the next day Thomas, Newton and Jenny join the rangers in the advanced protection party.
A group of scouts report a large group (200+) of gnolls slavers in the path of the refugees, but they estimate they’ll be out of the way soon.
When they report that the gnolls are also transporting over 100 slaves, Jenny requests that the advance group (some 60 combatants strong) try to find a way to free them.
The ranger commander, though, refuses to abandon the refugee group, lest something happen in their absence. Thomas agrees.
Newton manages to convince the commander to allow them and a small group of rangers and scouts to shadow the slavers.
The commander agrees to divert his forces temporarily if the gnolls decide to make camp within the hour.
Jenny claims to know their habits, and insists that they will be stopping any minute (gnolls are largely nocturnal).
The three set out with their four elven rangers and avoid the gnoll rear scouts, hoping the main force will stop soon.
After an hour passes, the slavers still show little sign of stopping.
The rangers insist they turn around, but Jenny and Newton ask for more time. Jenny again insists to know they’re behavior well enough to suggest they will stop soon.
Thomas asks her how she knows so much about gnolls, and she reminds him that she, her father, and her brother, Alex, were slaves of the gnolls when she was a child.
Thomas realizes he won’t talk her or Newton out of pursuing the slavers, but he can’t force the elven rangers to join them, so he lets them return to the main force.
After more following, the three party members see that the gnolls have made camp in a burned down village by a stream.
With the help of an oil of armor silence and castings of invisibility from Jenny, Newton manages to sneak into the camp along with his rogue-like companions.
They identify the holding areas for the slaves, as well as a cache of stolen weapons.
Without any backup, they decide the best course of action is to arm as many slaves as possible and create an army of their own.
Newton is prepared with two castings of earth reaver so the plan is to cast it on the highest concentration of gnolls directly before the newly weaponized slaves are prepared.
Thomas and Newton butt heads unexpectedly when Newton refuses to follow the initial plan of using earth reaver on the sleeping gnolls
When Thomas demands an explanation, seeing as Newton’s killed evil creatures in their sleep before (see Before Session 1), he states that he has regrets for his actions and will no longer do that.
Thomas once again concedes to his requests, and the plan is to awaken them with a loud flame strike, then attack in earnest
Jenny and Thomas catch some gnolls in a small building by surprise and kill them (though they nearly botch the whole thing when one cries out for help)
Once Newton gets in position, Thomas and Jenny move to the wagons of stolen goods and collect some weapons after killing their guards.
They sneak into one of the central holding pens and kill the guards.
A hobgoblin quickly takes charge and distributes the acquired weapons to his fellow goblinoids before any of the other slaves.
After sneaking a few more shipments of weapons to the pens, the hobgoblin convinces Thomas to release a rather burly bugbear.
He does so, and the barbarian nearly blows everything by trying to head straight into combat with his captors, but the hobgoblins convinces him to wait.
Before all the slaves can be released, a patrol of gnolls notices some of the slaves out of their bindings and attack.
Almost simultaneously, another patrol notices the corpses near Newton’s position and begin to converge on him.
Newton fires his flame strike, and the fight begins.
The armed slaves fight the tide of gnolls, while the sleeping gnolls awaken to join the fray.
Newton fires off his two earth reavers in rapid succession, badly injuring a majority of the gnolls.
Before the slavers can realize what has transpired, nearly half of their force is slaughtered. The remaining slavers flee from the city, many dying to vengeful slaves.
In the aftermath, the goblinoids finish killing and looting the gnolls along with some opportunistic halflings.
Many slaves quickly thank the heroes before grabbing what kin they have and fleeing.
The party notices a few halfling children with no family to help them, so Thomas offers them protection with the Havenites.
They accept and mount Newton’s horse.
The party also finds a young hobgoblin boy teen with his legs cut off above the knee.
Newton heals him with a regenerate spell.
The boy thanks him sincerely, but declines the offer to join them, deciding to join his own kin instead.
After seeing as many slaves to safety as they could, the party returned South to catch up with the Havenites.
Jenny thanked her companions for taking this risk at her request.
Fierna is unconvinced and continues the attack, turning into a dire polar bear. Llewellyn speaks up trying to convince her as well.
The party agree to drop their weapons and let Fierna see Roonda’s treachery for herself.
Fierna pins Bee and threatens to kill him, but she yields and allows the party on to see Aulara in Haven.
The party sees Haven for the first time, a beautiful if quaint village built almost vertically inside the central stone spire of the Cursed Forest.
They hustle to the center of town and find Aulara with a few elf rangers and her air elemental.
Fierna tries to speak, but Aulara attacks quickly. She captures Bert and Klatex in a whirlwind, then transforms into a battlebriar.
Bee positions himself between her and the others and tries to convince her that he’s a trusted protector of druids, taking the brunt of her attacks.
Llewellyn realizes she’s dominated by Roonda’s magic. She and Fierna try to dispel the magic, but fail after several attempts.
Bert gets Klatex to safety while Thomas and Jenny keep the elf rangers busy.
Thomas prepares himself to face Aulara, believing that the woman he saw as his mother for decades would not kill him.
Right before he can test her love, though, Llewellyn stops concentrating on her distractions of the Great Leader and dispels the domination.
Aulara immediately cries out that Roonda has betrayed Llewellyn and has taken over the magic of Haven.
Fierna is now convinced that this strange Llewellyn and the party are telling the truth.
Llewellyn orders the two to gather up all the citizens of Haven and get them out via secret tunnels.
She and the party rush up steep steps to the final magic grove to face Roonda.
Along the way, though, they are confronted by Terra and her earth elemental.
They tell her that Roonda betrayed Llewellyn, but she claims to be fully aware of his treachery and in league with him.
As she attacks in elemental form, Bert and Llewellyn fly to the cliff above.
Bee once again positions himself in front of the druid, trying to convince her that he’s a friend, but she attacks mercilessly.
Newton attacks Terra from range while Thomas and Jenny handle her elemental companion.
Bert, Klatex and Llewellyn keep away from Roonda’s final protector, the Minotaur Brutus.
The situation becomes desperate below as Bee approaches death under Terra’s devastating attacks. He rages and jumps from the switchback below the cliff to escape her. His companion, Bessie, flees down the mountainside.
Above, Llewellyn transforms into a cloud giant and flies toward the many illusory clones of Roonda gathered around the magical focus of Haven.
Their battle causes the magic to surge, knocking Bert into glowing tree roots. He’s absorbed bodily into the tree.
Newton attempts a final attack against Terra: disintegration, but it fails and she brings the cliff side down on the party with an earthquake spell.
Newton and Bee fall unconscious under the falling rocks. Jenny runs to Newton’s side to stabilize him.
Magical energy coruscates from the mountain above where Llewellyn battles Roonda, tearing the trees from their roots and sending them falling on the party below.
Just before they land, Bert emerges from nearby roots sticking from the rock wall, and dimension doors the party to the nearest escape tunnel.
The building housing the tunnel begins to crumble. Bee spots Bessie outside and calls to her.
The party flees into the tunnel as the building collapses around them, killing Bessie.
As the party flees deeper into the tunnel, the sounds of destruction fade to a deep and distant thumping.
Eventually they encounter Fierna guiding the tail end of the Haven escapees.
They walk for nearly an hour until they emerge at the interior of the crater housing, overlooking the Cursed Forest and Haven.
The spire housing the ancient town has collapsed, and the Great Leader’s flying forces circle it like vultures.
Aulara lays a hand on Thomas’ shoulder and leads him to more tunnels to safety.
The party decides to use illusions and mundane disguises to sneak into the city to retrieve it.
Bert and Newton dress as hobgoblins, Thomas and Jenny dress as elven alchemical merchants, and Bee dresses as a bodyguard.
Once inside, they use locate object around the various camps in hopes of detecting the hammer.
When that proves unsuccessful, they gather information on the Great Leader and any interesting items he has.
They learn he’s a half-dragon hobgoblin, and that the hammer was given to him as a gift from the Red Fangs.
They manage to gain access to the more restricted section of the city carved into the mountainside.
Once inside, they try detect magic again. They detect the hammer and try to find it.
The spell ends before they can locate the hammer, so they decide to look for the archives in order to learn more about the layout of the palace and the mountain city (and hopefully defenses).
As they explore the halls, they encounter a large monstrous creature: a mixture between a giant praying mantis and a hobgoblin.
As he passes, the party spots the numbers “028” on the back of his neck, possibly relating his condition to Bee’s
The monster turns and calls to Meerkin, who had apparently stopped to stare at the party.
He indicates that he sees through their disguises, but he doesn’t seem to specifically recognize them.
Thomas asks if he’s in trouble with the Great Leader, and Meerkin actually says the leader is in trouble with him!
He identifies the monster as Colonel Grekobik Greenwell, and follows him to meet with the Great Leader.
The party eventually finds the Great Leader’s secretary, and she immediately ushers them to a waiting area (much to their surprise, since they don’t seem to have a good reason).
In the waiting room, a number of goblinoid children play, and some adults mill about.
After some time, the monstrous Greenwell and Meerkin exit. Greenwell leaves, but Meerkin remains.
Shortly thereafter, more humanoids exit, followed by the Great Leader.
He demands the party remove their illusion. While they’re willing, they’re unable since they didn’t cast it. Meerkin helps by dispelling.
The Great Leader dismisses everyone, though a small goblin boy remains.
The Leader asks why the party was there incognito, and they confess to seeking the hammer.
The goblin boy retrieves it from the other room and gives it to the Leader.
He asks what the party intends to trade for it, and they offer their services in finding and securing the ancient magical locations rumored to exist around the city.
The Great Leader decides to give them a task: enter the Cursed Forest and remove the protector from power.
Thomas realizes he must be referring to Mother Llewellyn, and tries to talk him out of it.
The Great Leader says “I may have someone here able to change your mind.”
The goblin boy steps forward and introduces himself as Mother Llewellyn.
Thomas and the others are flabbergasted, but the goblin convinces Thomas that he at least has all the memories of the beloved matriarch.
The Great Leader leaves, giving them the chance to speak in privacy.
Llewellyn reveals the uncomfortable truth about why she seems to be in league with the Great Leader:
She/he reminds Thomas of the gnome Roonda that came from the Wildlands many years ago and joined the community in Haven.
The two of them retreated into isolation for long periods at a time, leaving much of the administration and defense of Haven to her handmaidens Aulara, Fierna and Terra.
Unbeknown to the denizens of Haven, Roonda killed Llewellyn five years ago and assumed her position.
Unbeknown to Roonda, Llewellyn managed to save her soul and be reborn as this goblin boy. Sadly, she lost much of her power in the process.
Now, Roonda is trying to summon the ancient Fey Lords using the natural magic Haven.
Meanwhile, Tildekaar (the Great Leader’s real name) is making plans to invade Haven and utilize the powers for himself.
Llewellyn seeks to stop Roonda, but the cost is that Haven will be lost, and Tildekaar will gain the power.
She has convinced him that the defenses are too powerful to overcome without her help, but he won’t hold off much longer.
She intends to defeat Roonda (possibly even kill him), and destroy as much of the magic as she can before Tildekaar can get it.
Sadly, Haven will be destroyed in the process. For that reason, and the added danger of the Warband, one of the handmaidens must be convinced to lead the people of Haven away to safety (routes exist and there are friends on the outside).
The party asks her about the Great Leader
The two of them were friends millenia ago, and he was even present for the founding of Haven
They and others built the city, then the forest, then the mountains to protect the natural magic at the center (possibly originating from the Fey Lords)
Tildekaar became obsessed with the power, though, and discovered how to extend his life by reincarnating.
When he became too dangerous, Llewellyn banished him to another plane.
During his exile, he amassed the construct army he controls today
Somehow, he returned to the Material Plane, and seeks to regain the power of Haven to build an Empire.
Thomas, realizing Llewellyn has much to teach, tells her about Mystique and asks if she has any advice
It is a “goliad”, a creature of immense power. It treats the world around itself as highly morphic, and can change the land and even creatures at will.
Mystique seems to be unaware of its power, but it’s still potentially very dangerous.
Three goliads have entered the Material Plane in the past, and all of them wreaked terrible havoc. Two were banished, and one chose to leave on its own, suggesting they are possibly capable of learning empathy.
Whomever is disguised as Thomas and influencing Mystique wields great power. Mystique must be returned.
They also ask about Meerkin.
He is a zern, a creature with the supernatural ability to change forms, similar to a doppelganger. They are naturally inclined towards transmutation magic.
She doesn’t know his motivations, but Tildekaar seems quite interested in him.
Commander Caras checks for evil, and is surprised to find that the arrayed drow are not evil.
Everyone suspects a ruse, and several characters discover that the praying drow are illusions.
The Priestess near the portal begins to cast again, and this time the adventurers respond with force.
Bee attempts to disrupt her casting, but she successfully completes a fog cloud. Bert easily dispels it, though.
The elf hits several party members with mind fog suggesting they may be facing dominations soon.
Bolt attacks the Priestess with black tentacles (capturing the elf and Blue as well) while Villeous and Caras move up the center.
Newton, Bert, and the Brothers battle monstrous spiders on the left while Bee and Thomas hold the right.
The spiders die easily, and the priestess escapes the grappling tentacles and flees into the webbed portal.
The Blue casts freedom of movement which Bert tries to dispel (accidentally dispelling the domination on it instead)
The Blue flees down the steps screaming about a green fog, but falls unconscious as he passes over a glyph of warding.
Villeous casts consecrate on the portal just as three bebilith and a green fog emerge.
Bee enters a bear-rage, Newton calls upon righteous might and Divine Power, and the brothers expand to face the creatures.
The elf, seemingly still dominated, inspires the monsters with her bardic music.
Liev Bolt strikes the bebilith with an empowered cacophonic burst, bringing parts of the ceiling cave down on them, the Blue (killing it), and the elf.
When Bee displays remorse later over the Blue’s death, despite his companions’ insistence that the creature was evil, Villeous introduces the possibility that their plan was programmed Durncart Syndrome
The green mist begins dominating party members, but Bert focuses on countering it with his own bardic oration.
Two of the bebilith fall fairly easily to the combined might of the melee combatants (and Thomas’s hidden blade).
Bolt dismisses the black tentacles in the hope of releasing the possibly innocent elf, while Bert tries to free her from her compulsion.
Just as it appears to be coming to an end, three more bebilith arrive, though one is wearing magic gear, suggesting it may be a more formidable foe.
The elf flees down the steps safely as the arriving beblilith attempt to attack and rend the armor of the defenders.
Bert continues to temporarily counter the green mist’s domination attempts, while Villeous delays the bebilith poison in the veins of the warriors.
The elf, now free of her domination, inspires her new allies just as Bert’s inspiration fades.
After a hard-fought battle, the invading bebilith are slain, and the green mist flees into the portal while Bee advances upon it.
The portal closes, blasting the area with negative energy as it does.
The party finds a more permanent solution to their allies’ domination once the area is safe.
Villeous and Bert then move to the portal to inspect it (Bolt stays back just in case) while the others secure the area and inspect their fallen foes.
Meanwhile, Yasu contacts Caras from the surface stating that the surface location is not yet secure, since some hobgoblins had arrived to do combat.
It’s quickly resolved, though.
After some study, some help from Haverdy, and a few failed attempts, Bolt joins the other scholars and successfully seals the portal.
Lady Moreau agrees to speak with Captain Striker about allowing a hearing to discuss the dwarf’s fate, including allowing Durgard to advocate for his own interests.
Striker agrees and the hearing is set for the next day.
Bert, along with oversight from Adriana, speaks with Durgard prior to the hearing and makes a proposal:
Durgard will agree to travel to the Arcane Empire and reveal what he knows.
He will be allowed a visitation from his family prior to the journey to the Empire.
The Dwarven rulers of the Dragonrange Mountains will be given gifts on his family’s behalf so they may regain the honor he lost.
He will be allowed to return to the Dragonrange once he has divulged the information he knows (Durgard doubts he will outlive his usefulness).
Durgard seems to accept these terms, and will present them at the hearing.
In the meantime, Jenny speaks with Thomas about her life, since she no longer needs to hide her lycnthropy from him (which is a large part of her life):
She and her twin brother, Alex, were born in Roche to a merchant’s daughter. Her father and Benjamin were absent at the time.
The two were sold to a couple in the Wildlands, since their mother and her family would not accept lycanthropes in the family (“At least she didn’t drown us.”)
Their father rescued/kidnapped them from the people in the Wildlands a few months later (according to Ben, since Jenny was too young to remember).
The four of them spent the next eight years traveling between The Freelands and the Arcane Empire, with Benjamin and their father getting odd jobs.
They had to keep moving, since word of her father’s affliction (and his inability to control it) wouldn’t allow them to stay anywhere for long.
Eventually, Benjamin refused to continue to live like this (he’s not afflicted, so he has more options) and he remained in the Arcane Empire for the winter.
That winter, Jenny, Alex, and their father were captured by the gnolls of Canistooth.
Over the next months, Alex and their father died.
Jenny eventually escaped, though into the hostility of the Freelands.
Luckily, she was found by an old friend of her mother’s who nursed her back to health.
He taught her how to use her arcane ability (particularly necromancy).
Eventually, he took her back to Roche and gave her a home there, where she lived until leaving with Thomas and the party.
The next day, Creben Durgard’s hearing commences.
Adriana claims “status-quo”; namely that Durgard is currently being transported to the Arcane Empire as a prisoner of war, and will be questioned there.
Lady Moreau claims grievances on behalf of Peloria, noting the more immediate threat Durgard’s weapons may pose, as well as the efforts (and lives) expended to get him.
Durgard argues for his freedom to return to Dwarven lands based on religious rights.
Diplomacy commences, with Newton arguing that the proper religious respect can be found in Peloria, and Bert arguing that the Arcane Empire can better utilize his information, stating that religious problems can be solved anywhere (“It’s simple planar metaphysics!”).
Lady Moreau silences Newton and cedes the right to the Arcane Empire to take and hold Durgard, contingent upon some sort of official alliance and/or sharing of information agreement.
Durgard then presented the plan Bert had discussed with him.
Captain Striker demands that Durgard provide a high-level description of the weapons he developed for the Iron Kingdom before agreeing to any terms. They are as follows:
Alchemically powered airships (he helped develop the chases and propulsion devices, but knows little about the alchemical substance)
Advanced cannons and alchemical charges (he helped develop the cannons and knows a little more about the alchemical substance)
Human-piloted “constructs” (he helped develop the body and mechanisms)
Some details on how the Iron Kingdom managed to keep these developments secret.
No indication of extraplanar beings or magic, though possibly some divine magic
At this point, the Captain accepts the terms and the Adriana begins planning for interacting with the Dragonrange dwarves per Durgard’s terms.
After the hearing, Captain John asks Lady Moreau how things went.
When he learns that she has ceced Durgard to the Arcane Empire, he becomes furious, claiming that the men he lost have died in vain. It also becomes apparent that he sees the Empire as the “Ancient Enemy”.
When Newton tries to convince him that what’s happening is best for Peloria, he responds with “Oh I’ll see to what’s best for Peloria”.
The session ends with Newton concerned about Captain John’s mental state.
Newton and Jenny join Kelly and council and talk with her, hoping to give her some peace.
Bee tries to talk John into helping him break Durgard out (with the hopes that Durgard would simply be let free, though he keeps that part to himself)
John seems somewhat willing, though he also seems able to see through Bee’s attempts at duplicity.
Meanwhile, P-Pot finds Thomas outside Dr. Haverdy’s door and convinces him to join her to “see something cool”
She gets him to unlock one of the off-limit doors while she places a crystal on the door to disable any alarm.
They go inside to find two large cylinders reaching from floor to ceiling. They are broken into parts that slowly rotate and counter-rotate around a faint light in the center.
Thomas grows uncomfortable, but P-Pot is enamored by the objects and convinces him to stay.
As the ship takes off, the cylinders rotate faster, and squares begin opening up in the floor.
Before Tomas can get P-Pot out, she steps on one, revealing that it’s solid.
He tries to drag her out, but she resists and forces him to lay on one. Eventually the entire floor vanishes beneath them.
They watch for a short time as the world below them becomes smaller.
P-Pot flirts with and teases Thomas for a short while, but he eventually convinces her to leave with him.
He re-locks the door and P-Pot takes the crystal back.
Chef finds the party members and gives each of them a tablet that’s intended to combat altitude sickness, as they are not yet acclimated to the high altitude.
P-Pot trys to convince Thomas not to take it, but he’s at this point realized she’s a bit of a whimsical liar.
Bertrum, meanwhile, spends the next several hours learning about the ritual necessary to use the gateway key to close portals, He realizes it’s more of an art than a science.
Bee, sets out in the night upon Yasu’s dire bat to find a bat to act as a scout in the caverns the next day.
Yasu encourages him to handle the bat himself, though she assists when it becomes apparent he’s not particularly adept.
She also tries to teach him spells, though she learns that he lacks the wisdom to cast them.
He uses the animal whistle that he got from Magical Trevor, and it’s effective. Yasu tells him that it possesses magical abilities to charm animals.
They return to the ship with their new companion, to find Commander Caras laying in Yasu’s “nest”.
She seems surprised to see Bee and asks him to leave, and Yasu asks that Bee give them about an hour.
Bee listens for a short while outside the door, and infers that Caras is used to having some intimate time with Yasu, which he may disrupt, as he’s temporarily living in her natural zone.
Bert and the other researchers eventually call it a night, and Dr. Haverdy convinces him to let him keep it for the rest of the night so he may research it further.
Bert agrees, though Thomas insists on remaining outside his door.
During the night, Thomas is awoken by a clockwork golem cleaning the hallway. He listens to the door, and determines that Haverdy is still working and undisturbed.
The next morning, Newton and Jenny pray. For the first time, she remains for the entire hour.
Bert, Villeous, and Liev Bolt meet with Dr. Haverdy and discuss anything else he learned that night. He casts telepathic link on them and himself so he may provide further guidance later should they need it.
After some preparations, the raiding party set out, atop many flying steeds. Bee is again forced to leave Bessie behind, though he now has his bat.
Jenny remains with the group keeping watch at the surface, while Commander Caras, Villeous, Liev Bolt, and Dean and Carlos Halsmith join them below in the drow caverns.
Inside, they find several lesser abyssal ghouls trying to hide from them.
Newton buffs his turning ability, and destroys one of them with a greater turning.
The remaining four rush the group, and the Halsmith brothers jump into action, blocking them and dealing significant damage.
Bee transforms into a bear, Bolt attacks with magic missile, Thomas employs holy water, Bert provides oration bonus and attacks with his spear, Caras smites evil, and Villeous remains available for healing.
One of the ghouls provides flanking on one of the brothers, and despite their high AC, he’s badly injured by a single sneak attack.
The party defeats the remaining ghouls shortly thereafter, but they learn they have to be more careful tactically.
When they try to find the secondary portal in this cave, they see it’s vanished.
The small crevice they used previously has been widened significantly, suggesting the advanced ghoul is somewhere beyond.
The party inspects it, and Caras’s detect evil finds more evil creatures below, which they assume to be more abyssal ghouls.
They cast hide from undead and climb down. Once half the party reaches the bottom, the ghouls strike, though the party is more prepared for them this time.
The creatures attack, but the party keeps them at bay, while the members still in the crevice above provide covering fire.
Just as it starts seeming they have the upper hand, though, the advanced abyssal ghoul appears above Bee and attacks him, having apparently crawled across the ceiling or wall of the cavern.
Villeous blocks it with stone shape, but this will only slow it for a moment.
The struggle on the ground suddenly becomes more dire, as the remaining ghouls vie for tactical advantage, badly injuring Caras.
The session ends as the party begins to spread out within the cavern.
Much of the ship is off limits. The party doesn’t press the issue.
Bert notes that the cannons must have been retrofit, since the ship is older than cannon technology.
Adriana acknowledges that, though alchemical research is often looked down on by the arcane community, it has its uses.
Thomas has heard of lifting devices similar to those on the ship, but they were much smaller and used levitation as the mechanism.
Adriana confirms that they once existed, but are not as efficient and suffer from degradation much faster.
They also notice that one of the crew quarters is labeled “Major Trevor: Magical Items Acquisitions and Distributions”
There’s a ruckus down at the stern of the ship, so Adriana excuses herself to check it out.
The party returns to the stables to get Bee, but he’s gone missing.
They look around and find that he’s the source of the ruckus.
Lady Tanya Moreau is there, and she says that she has accidentally given Bee the impression that he’s dead and this is the afterlife.
Bee has bothered Chef by trying to eat the hog whole, but several of the crew members managed to restrain him.
Bert convinces Bee that he’s not dead, and Bee apologizes.
The party speaks with Lady Moreau and find that she had her own adventures while trying to avoid captors, that’s why she didn’t meet them in Swellburg.
She offhandedly hints that she had some dungeon crawling adventures of her own, but she brushes them off when asked for more details, other than she acquired a dagger for one of her accomplices in exchange for his assistance.
Lady Moreau and Jenkins took care of Bessie for Bee, and she returns to Bee at this point.
He’s planning to fortify the city and wait a few weeks for further force buildup
He expects to be able to sweep across the Freelands and finish off this Great Leader’s forces in the late spring.
He is curious about the constructs when Bert mentions them
He also asks about the force numbers and concentration
The party notices he discusses killing other-kin rather casually
That night, the party checks on Bee using the crystal ball. He’s still with the goblins, and the construct is standing vigilant over him as he sleeps.
The next day, the party once again argues with Benjamin about Jenny’s right to remain with the party. He finally gives up.
Captain John says he plans to get Creben Durgard to Major Moreau’s contact to get him to Peloria. Once he’s figured out Major Moreau’s fate (and hopefully rescued her), he’ll contact the party and meet up with them in the Freelands.
The party sells some of their magic items to the Kordians, trade their horses for faster horses, and set off North to rescue Bee.
They check on him periodically via the crystal ball, seeing that he’s remaining docile and always under the construct’s watch.
Despite their fast horses, they realize that the hobgoblins are moving faster than them
One attempt to scry on Bee fails for unknown reasons, but they successfully see the Blue
At another instance, they catch Bee speaking with the Blue in a friendly manner. For the first time, the construct and hobgoblins are out of sight.
He confesses his real name and that Captain John’s group kept Durgard
He gives it the name of the party members and some of Captain John’s people
He claims to be “very important”, due to the assassins out to kill him and his ability to transform when angry
He offers to help the Blue escape the hobgoblins, and shows him the anklets of translocation.
The Blue seems to be very understanding and encourages Bee to wait for the right time.
The Blue leaves as the construct returns, and the party scrys on it, revealing that it immediately gave all this information to the hobgoblin lieutenant.
The Lieutentant announces the plan to go to Greyshire where they can interrogate Bee further.
The party arrives in Greyshire about 2 days after the hobgoblins
Thomas and Bert enter the town pretending to be merchants. They learn a few things from their converstaions
The hobgoblins are holed up in the abandoned dwarf mine up on the mountain
The mines are home to stirges that appear and wreak havoc on local livestock a couple times a month
There are multiple entrances, including one that the hobgoblins don’t seem to know about.
The halflings and goblins currently living in the town moved in after the mostly human population was driven away.
The party chose to enter the mine via a secret tunnel that one of the halfling children used occasioanlly.
Inside, they accidentally disturb a hive of spiders that attack quickly. Bert identifies them as tomb spiders, which spawn via negative energy and undead hosts
They find that their passage is blocked by a cave-in, but they dimension door past it.
While exploring the mines, they are beset by more tomb spiders, as well as tomb mummies, which explode into more swarms when destroyed (mostly by Newton’s turnings).
They find even more cave-ins, some seem passable while others seem impenetrable
They catch some glimpses of stirges in the halls, but they don’t seem to be a threat.
The party discovers that the hobgoblins are one level above them, so they try to explore quietly.
They discover a large staircase up a level, as well as a secret ladder up. They opt not to move up.
They also find a long-abandoned blacksmith’s forge.
Down one corridor, they find a large section of the mines cleared out, and a large tomb spider using the area as its nest.
The party retreats as more mummies and swarms chase them down a hallway, and Newton expertly dispatches a great number of them with a blade barrier.
With the spawn destroyed, the party contemplates destroying the mother spider.