Roll for Salsa

Nacho Night at Fiveleague
I think this cheese has gone bad...

After returning from Fastormel, r4s look forward some down time at Fiveleague House. The group sells the obscene amount of mint condition Fastormel merchandise to Herman and buys some new gear. At the tavern, Barton greets them, informing them of “nacho night” and serves up food and drinks. Marcus and Suzette are seen in the dining hall, but promptly and somewhat rudely disappear. Kyrrox, Gord, Loki and Patyen enjoy the nachos, Zedra and Mialee are not interested.

Seylene is in town, presumably looking for r4s. She makes her way over to the group, and in hushed tones, tells them her brother Selos may be involved with Orcus and Vecna. In his study at Kalton Manor, she’d found books and documents in strange languages bearing the symbols of the evil deities. Seylene dared not move or take writings, but now begs r4s to investigate. They agree.

Patyen, through the very crowded dining area, sees Dwarfie and goes to say hello. Loki follows, like a creeper. Loki notices a distinct lack of dwarf in the chair at which Patyen is gesturing and speaking, and manages to call Zedra over to “wizard” it. Zedra sees no dwarf, but notices a white noise of arcane power in the area. Patyen tries to pat Dwarfie on the shoulder and his hand passes right through. “Spectral Dwarfie” then exits the tavern, walking through the wall according to Patyen.

The dining hall becomes more packed, and patrons seem to abandon all airs of civility as they pour cups of cheese into their mouths. Mialee and Zedra begin to question the safety and legitimacy of the cheese, and talk to Barton about it. He admits it is very popular. They ask to see where the nacho are being prepared, and it is revealed the amount of cheese that has been served is more than the amount the cook had in the store room. r4s reconvenes at a table in the dining area, Kyrrox continues to shovel cheese into her mouth from a never ending bowl as Mialee and Zedra share their suspicions.

Suddenly a flood of cheese spews forth from a barrel in the kitchen. The other patrons run upstairs, locking r4s in the dining hall filled with three feet of bubbling hot cheese. Those who’d consumed the cheese take some internal damage from it. Barton and Rosco the cook struggle from the kitchen to contain the cheese, impossibly still erupting from the barrel.

Some of the cheese coalesces into seemingly living blobs, and attacks r4s. Zedra, on a table, uses magic missles and a mage hand to propel the table-boat across the seas of cheese towards the kitchen. Mialee, with a perfectly aimed shot, breaks the lock on a door and cheese pours out of the room.

Kyrrox makes her way to the kitchen door and breaks it open. She sees another cheese blob emerging from the barrel, and tries to shut the door, but it busts through. a frustrating and cheesy battle ensues, and r4s find that the blob splits when damaged enough.

After finally defeating the living cheese blobs, Barton thanks them and tells them where he’d purchased the cheese – Famous Dave of all people. r4s promises to go investigate. (Kyrrox secretly scoops some cheese into her hawkpocket)

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Fastormel, take two
Plinths abound!

r4s runs into Marcus and Suzette again at Fiveleague House. They now feel they can brief Marcus on recent goings on regarding Gardmore and the crown.

Since it seems Hammerfast is still blocked off, the lot of them decide to visit Fastormel again, with the hope of shedding some light on The Curious Malady.

r4s, plus Marcus and Suzette, make their way back to the ruins of Fastormel, in hopes of finding clues regarding the curious malady afflicting the halflings. No tower is seen this time. After some walking around, a specific house catches attention. a trap door is found, leading down into a basement with a back room. In the room’s center, a plinth stands holding atop it a glowing source of unidentifiable power, which Marcus and Suzette cannot see, but all members of r4s can. Riza and Kyrrox are first to attempt touching the glowing non-object, and they promptly disappear. Marcus and Suzette seem to forget Kyrrox was ever there. Gord and Loki are next to touch and vanish. Mialee and Zedra, along with Patyen, are hesitent, but eventually follow in order to retrieve their comrades.

The group awakens in a conspicuously un-ruined Fastormel, and come to find out they are the subjects of an experiment of sorts. 450 years ago, Fasormellians had developed psionic abilities in a portion of their population, and knew of their impending doom. The source of the psionic abilities, a Mind Prism, resides under the tower R4S recognize. A device had been built within the tower to kill the entire population and deactivate the prism just before the town fell to the evil onslaught, in order to keep the psionic power out of the wrong hands. The Fastormellians were also able to engineer a mechanism for pulling back the consciousness of future visitors to the city just before its destruction. Their purpose was to share and document their history and culture, before it was totally obliterated by the war. Zedra accepts books on the history of Fastormel, as well as a book on the mind prism specifically. Kyrrox and Loki accept layers upon layers of Fastormel memorobilia.

The head of the psionic time-travelling experiment, Tibalt, is able to explain the curious malady afflicting Patyen and Suzette. It was a flash of psionic power, but seems to have been received incorrectly: The afflicted are able to see the future, but unfortunately are incapable of talking about their visions until they come to pass, or are prevented. There is no cure.

Just before the destruction of the town was to happen, the mechanism within the tower is disabled, sabotaged – a spy is spotted giving signals from a rooftop. R4S catch and kill the messenger, but the damage is done. Waves of goblins are headed to Fastormel, accompanied by dracolich Ro’Thax himself. It is up to r4s to keep the invasion force at bay while the tower’s mechanism is repaired and activated, so events unfold correctly and Fastormel succumbs to its forseen demise. Zedra assists with the repairs initially, while kyrrox’s Green Thumbs and gord’s cloud of blackness bottleneck the incoming horde.

Towards the end of the fight, Mialee rescues Shala, the young child of Tibalt. (It is unknown if the child possesses the psionic abilities.) She hides Shala in the underground chamber with the mind prism, believed to be the only safe place in the town. Mialee also places a small statue of Bahamut with the child, in hopes that the Platinum Dragon of Justice will help protect him somehow.

Kyrrox, nearly at death, makes a brazen attack on Ro’Thax, then falls upon the dragon’s claw, ending her temporary existence on this timeline. The mechanism activates and a burst of light and energy radiates from the tower, every living thing in Fastormel drops to the ground. The rest of R4S phase out and phase back into their own time, uninjured. Kyrrox and Loki rejoice as they realize their piles of touristy treasure have returned with them.

Zedra and Mialee rush to where the tower once stood, and activate the hidden switch to access the underground chamber. Zedra is concerned at the absence of the mind prism. Mialee notices the complete lack of any sign of Shala.

The group makes camp for the night in the Ruins. Zedra begins encrypting the mind prism book with a Secret Page ritual.

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Undead, crestfallin'
Don't say that, the Z-word!

Fallcrest is overrun by undead coming out of the west. R4S fights off a wave in the merchant district, Kyrrox uses the Herman summoning bell while Hamish’s Magic House Shop is taking flight, causing it to crash. Zedra’s brother Dakyr shows up in time to take out the last undead mage of the first wave. After the exchange of brotherly banter, Dak directs r4s to head to the bridge to fight the next wave with their priestess leader, while he and some others, including dwarf paladin Grand Peacebringer, take care of stragglers in town. A long elevator ride to uptown gives very little challenge to the party, even with unexpected “guests” dropping in.

At the bridge to the city, R4S finds a Priestess of Vecna wearing the Obsidian Crown of Ro’thax, and commanding the hordes of undead. The battle is difficult and full of rather annoying necrotic clouds, which Loki takes some time to lounge in, but r4s triumphs. The crown itself is successfully deactivated by Zedra’s skill in arcana, Kyrrox’s Sextimidation™, Gord’s bluffing, and Mialee’s understanding of nature. The group then summons Herman again, this time to hand over the obsidian crown they’d promised to find. (insert bad poker face here)

R4S assists Hamish and Herman in repairing the flying shop. Once it is air-worthy, Huge brings in Griffy, and the lot of them travel to Fiveleague House.

Fallcrest’s massive infrastructure repair effort is graciously paid for, nearly in full, by Selos

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Connoisseur of headwear?
...must be a dapper gent.

R4S returns to Fallcrest and stop in to see Hamish. They successfully bluff about the visit to Gardmore Abbey, saying they found no sign of the crown. They ask about this buyer interested in it, Hamish has little information to give. R4S requests to speak with the buyer next time he stops in town. R4s waits around Fallcrest for a week. Kyrrox hits on dudes, Mialee repeatedly pokes Huge, Zedra reads a lot.

The buyer does not make an appearance.

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Crowning glory of Gardmore
Praying to deities, like bosses

R4S, along with Krystryd, arrive at Gardmore Abbey. Krystryd apparently knows people here, and she introduces r4s to Hidden Hand fighter Loki. They also run into Valthrun the exceedingly old sage of Winterhaven.

The abbey’s main room, full of altars to the various patron deities of the grand knights, seems at first to be your standard worship venue. Closer inspection reveals some kind of arcane power, and after a bit of fiddling, kneeling, and praying, r4s manages to open a secret elevator descending into a vast cavern. (Patyen’s still in the bag of holding, mind you)

R4S plus Valthrun take the elevator down, Krystryd stays topside. Some precarious stone walkways lead to rooms carved from the stone. There had been a collapse at some point and skeletons of ancient knights lay exposed. R4s leaves Valthrun to stand watch as they bust through a couple barricaded doors – they find a skeletal knight seated in a throne wearing the obsidian crown! A fight breaks out when R4S tries to take possession of it. Eventually the crown is removed from the knight (assumed to be Sir Fortis.) The crown seems to cause necrotic damage to the touch, Zedra uses Mage Hand to carry it. Quakes begin, as if the entire cavern is upset at the disturbance of the crown. R4s finds their escape route has been destroyed, but the quakes created an opening in another wall.

A long hallway opens into a huge blood filled cavern. R4S leave Valthrun with the crown at the far side of the hall and battle with the wretched creatures awakened in the cavern. Some of the skeletal knights, now reanimated, fight the creatures along with r4s. The room’s center holds a huge pit from which the blood gushes, and a beholder emerges. r4s struggle in their fight with it, when suddenly it seems to be weakened. R4S discover Valthrun has put the crown on. R4S defeats the beholder, more blood pours forth. Valthrun is in extreme pain, but is keeping the rift at bay by wearing the crown. Obviously, this Obsidian Crown of Ro’Thax is not just a historical collector’s item.

They all leave the cavern, and find they can make it back to the elevator by swimming across the blood. After the ascent to the main floor, the group briefs Krystryd and a few trusted monks of the abbey. The monks promise to attend to Valthrun and close the abbey to all outside visitors. Krystryd stays to assist the monks, r4s departs, headed for Fallcrest with Loki.

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Gibbering halflings
you speakin' my language, girl

(Warning: editing and general fleshing out needed below)

Upon returning to Fiveleague House, Patyen and Suzette compare gibberish. The halflings can understand one another, but do not seem to have experienced the same event at The Ruins of Fastormel when they were first afflicted.

Through Barton and the general gossip around Fiveleage, R4S find out they still cannot gain entry to Hammerfast, due to inclement rock slides. So the group decides to investigate Gardmore Abbey: last known location of this Obsidian Crown of Ro’Thax wanted by Mad Hamish and Herman.

Marcus sends a Hidden Hand member, Krystryd Firebeard, with r4s to go to the Abbey. The group makes a stop in Fallcrest in order to give Huge the dryad amber, component #2.

While in town, Patyen attacks Selos for no apparent reason, all the while screaming gibberish. Conry jumps in to the fight and is arrested. Mialee manages to grab Patyen and stuff him in the bag of holding. R4S hightails it out of town.

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Nenlast and beyond!
clues to Nenlast's best kept secret

The search for Griffy-healing ritual components continues. Rumor of a fey crossing brings R4S to Lake Nen. Component #2, Dryad Amber, must be found in The Feywild.

R4S enters the sleepy fishing village of Nenlast, situated on the eastern shore of Lake Nen. The party makes a stop at the local tavern in hopes of gaining information about the possible Fey Crossing. Neither the patrons nor the employees of the tavern have even the slightest idea what R4S is talking about. (“fey-what-now?”) Dejected, R4S sulk at a table with their drinks, discussing possible courses of action. Mialee, ever observant, spies an old map of the area hung on the wall behind the bar. She notices an island depicted at the near-center of the lake which does not appear to exist in reality. On the way out, Mialee asks the bartender about it but he dismisses it as an error since the map is very old. He does warn R4S that if they head out onto the lake to be careful of a very large aggressive crocodile – named Old Snappy by the fishermen.

The party heads down to the docks, seeking a boat to take them out on the lake. None of the fishermen are willing to bring a bunch of tourists out on a pleasure cruise when there are fish to haul in. The group turns back toward town and sees a shop with a familiar sign. Famous Dave’s Fresh Fish. R4S eagerly crowd at the shop’s window, and Dave groans in lament at seeing them. His bitterness is brushed off and R4S convince him that they will not destroy his building, try to claim a bounty on him, or otherwise ruin his business. Mostly to avoid negative confrontation, Dave relents and takes the party out on his boat to observe the lake. At the spot where the island was shown on the old map, Zedra’s arcana-sense tingles.

Mialee dives in to the water to see what she can find below the surface. Among the rocks and aquatic plants, she spots a chain-and-lock contraption. Mialee swims back up to the boat and relays her findings. She plans to make an attempt at picking the lock, to see what happens. No sooner does she disappear below the surface than the water is disturbed again. A remarkably huge crocodile takes interest in the boat’s presence. Dave voices his concern and is promptly shushed by R4S.

Mialee successfully opens the lock. Part of the lakebed beneath her shifts, releasing a few bubbles. How curious… She resurfaces for air and sees Kyrrox riding a massive crocodile, in order to keep from being bitten by it. Mialee moves towards her comrades, but is instructed to continue picking the underwater locks. The rest of R4S would draw Old Snappy’s attention. Worried but determined, Mialee takes in a deep breath and dips back into the lake. Zedra acts as guide, feeling out where the next lock can be found by sensing the arcane power of the area.

Kyrrox’ heroics in “commandeering” the croc make it easier for the rest of R4S on the boat to hit the beast. Mialee swims fast and sure to the remaining locks and opens them faster than if she’d held the actual keys. A section of lakebed begins to rise as soon as the fourth and final lock pops open, churning up silt and swirls of bubbles on its way. Mialee is carried up with the mass of rock. Just as the enchanted island breaks the water’s surface, Kyrrox manages to kill the huge crocodile.

Dave and “crew” pull the boat up to the isle and unload. Zedra confirms this hidden island is the location of the fey portal, and he prepares a fey crossing ritual. R4S bid fond farewell to Dave, gifting him the dead Snappy. He seems more excited about getting away from the group of adventurers than about the prospect of towing the beast’s corpse back to shore. Dave claims he will have a Dock Hand keep a lookout for their return, and pick them up when and if they require it. With a wave that equally says “Bah!” and “Take care, you crazies!” Dave turns back to his boat and R4S step through the fey portal.

The Feywild assaults the senses of the party with amplified color, smells, and sounds. Zedra smiles at the familiarity of it. He gains a feel for the arcane powers in the area, attempting to figure out the direction to take. Mialee’s high perception and attunement to nature give her the same sense of direction as Zed. They agree that Dryads are most likely to be found to the South, about 7-10 days distant. Patyen, Kyrrox, Gord, and Conry delve into their own senses and skills, but get different inclinations of where to go. After a brief arguement, it is acknowledged that perhaps following the Fey Wizard and the Elven Rogue is their best bet.

R4S navigate the wild and vibrant fey woodland, amazed yet wary as the days pass. A sun-dappled clearing opens before them and faint giggling from the treeline puts the group on edge. A few steps more, and a small contingent of gnomes make themselves known. Natural tricksters, the gnomes make for a difficult fight. One seems to be able to command a wall of brambles, others have the ability to teleport. By the time all the damn things are finally laid low, several members of R4S are nearly dead. Only with the grace of their cleric and the Revival Shroud are they able to mend their wounds and return from death’s waiting grasp.

Kyrrox decapitates one of the slain gnomes and carves the word “scourge” on its forehead. She then fastens the head to her belt and swears a personal vow to exterminate every gnome she encounters. As the party makes ready, Kyrrox finds the implements that had granted the thorn-waller his power: a set of Green Thumbs.

As the party continues on, Conry hacks at random trees with his sword. Zedra scowls and assures him these trees are not Dryads, and even if they were, his actions are NOT the correct way to extract amber. A few more days journey and Zed leads the way to a large, dense ring of trees.

The party walks in towards a resplendant, towering tree at the ring’s center. Before they can draw too near, one of the trees nearby begins to move towards them and asks in harsh tones why they’ve come. Conry and Kyrrox take a few steps back, Patyen holds firm, but Zedra and Mialee move forward to address the Dryad. The plight of Griffy is explained, but the Dryads make it clear they do not just gift their amber since it is rather painful to extract.

Mialee Woodsinger lives up to her surname and begins singing a soft yet soaring melody in her native elven. Zedra lives up to his upbringing and plays diplomat, assuring the Mother Dryad that the donor will be tended to. Conry nearly ruins negotiations by bickering with Patyen, and continuing to hit trees with his sword. Kyrrox helps to quell Conry’s aggression and miraculously Zed is able to resolve the discussion. The Dryads agree to give them the amber they need. A donor stands ready.

Patyen and Zedra perform the surgery and extract, with the greatest of care, enough amber for Huge’s cure ritual. Mialee’s voice aids in calming and comforting the donor and his family. When the amber is secured, Patyen heals the donor Dryad, and offers his humble thanks. Zedra and Mialee, too, express their deep gratitude and respect. R4S leaves the Dryad’s grove and sighing in relief begin their 10 day trek back to the fey crossing.

Travel back becomes increasingly difficult after all ration supplies are exhausted. Foraging for food becomes impossible for most of the party. Kyrrox thinks of a possible source of help and pulls out the Herman summoning bell. Flashes of light and a high-pitched mechanical whine come from the bell, but with a puff of smoke, Herman finally appears. “Are you in the Feywild?! That thing isn’t meant to be used across planes.” The starving adventurers apologize and cry their woes to Herman. He offers them a magic basket of replenishing food. Payment for their salvation is most of their gold plus the promise to find some obsidian crown of Ro’Thax. The party agrees, having little choice. Kyrrox manages to hold back her newfound hatred of gnomes long enough to complete the transaction.

With full bellies and new tasks in their future, R4S experiences little trouble in their last few days travel. The portal location is found again and Zedra does his fey-thing. They all step back onto the secret isle of Lake Nen. Mere moments later, a Dock Hand waves to them from shore and sets out with a boat. Once back in town, the party observes with amusement that Dave is now Famous-er for catching Ol’ Snappy.

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Fastormel
what's up with that tower?

(Warning: editing and general fleshing out needed below)

Investigate The Ruins of Fastormel. A tower perfectly unscathed stands amidst the 450 year old ruins. r4s go in for a closer look. They discover some kind of mechanism inside, and activate it. Patyen steps into the center of the room, where a beam of light shines. The tower begins to shake as if it is about to self-destruct, r4s flee outside, only to find it stands just as pristine as before. Patyen is now afflicted with the same curious malady of gibberish as Suzette, the Hidden Hand halfling. He seems to be ok, as long as he is not asked about the experience…

R4S decide to press onward to Nenlast, in search of a fey portal.

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a stop at Fiveleague House
where all the cool kids hang out

r4s travels to Fiveleague House, a waypoint on the crossroads leading to Hammerfast in the east, and lake nen to the north. At Fiveleague House, r4s meet a gibberish-speaking halfling and a surly half-elf wearing the same subtle filigree border seen on Barry & cohorts in Fallcrest.

After some really and most sincerely bad attempts at stealth, R4S talk to the half-elf. He identifies himself as Marcus, and says his organization is known as The Hidden Hand. His halfling companion is also a member, her name is Suzette. He shows some interest in Roll for Salsa’s standing with Selos and his following. R4S deny membership in Selos’ culty group, but admit they have accepted jobs from him when beneficial to r4s’ own interests. Marcus seems only barely accepting of this. He does not fully explain himself, but hints that while Selos and the Hidden Hand may seem to have similar goals, they two groups are not allies.

After some more standoffish bickering and silence, it is established that yes, Zedra’s brother Dakyr is a member of Hidden Hand, as is Mialee’s brother Rhyder.

Hammerfast is blocked off due to rock slides, so the group decides to head north to check out The Ruins of Fastormel, the place supposedly responsible for the halfling’s malady. Then, on to Nenlast and its fabled fey portal.

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Taking back Kalton Manor
Exterminate!

(Warning: editing and general fleshing out needed below)

r4s + Seylene Kalton go to the manor house, and enter thru the sewer system.

kyrrox’s famous flaming horse tactic employed.

find justice beyard as a prisoner.

clear the house of bandits.

“seylene” kills beyard, escapes. R4S find a note on the body.

R4S rest a night, then returns to Fallcrest, finding seylene who claims she was with her brother the entire day.

Selos gives r4s the revival shroud – component #1 for Griffy’s cure.

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