Roll for Salsa

Pale Iron, Dark Elf
Gord gets an entourage

After r4s swims thru the underwater tunnel and emerges on the other side, Mialee stealthily makes her way down the tunnel a bit to scout things out. there are a few creatures making low noises she cannot understand. a dam with a slow trickle is built into the wall nearby. She sneaks up further, and Zedra quietly makes his way up to the spot Mialee previously stood. He hears the talking, but it is nothing he understands, including dwarven. As the rest of the party not-so-quietly joins Zed, Gord reveals that he can understand the speech – 4 “sugar” dwarves speaking Infernal?! Apparently they all work for a “High One” who has several pets, of which they seem fearful.

Mialee sneak attacks the closest dwarf. Two others are working some kind of mechanism and the dam seems to give a little. Kyrrox and Loki move up into fightin’ range. Kyrrox summons the magic-bridled horse, but it does not trample any dwarves, it just looks confused. Zedra expeditiously slips past everyone to the opposite side of the small alcove. He uses Twist of Space to teleport one of the dwarves working the dam release, as well as the horse, to the other side of the room. Loki gets into the thick of it while Mialee and Gord make ranged attacks. When the fight begins to turn bad for the dwarves, one makes a break for the door and opens himself to 3 opportunity attacks. As the dwarf passes, Zed makes his first successful melee opportunity attack, but is wholly unaccustomed to actually hitting anyone with his blade. Kyrrox experiences horrible pain in her gut, and is now sure they have been poisoned by Selos. (She will be henceforth taking the antidote Dr. Wellbrew concocted.)

Gord bluffs the last remaining dwarf into believing he is the real “high one”. Zed disguises Mialee, Kyrrox, and Loki to match his own clothing, giving the illusion of uniforms. All act as entourage to Gord. The group rests up a bit before they enter next room.

Gord convinces the cavern full of dwarves that he is the real “high one” and the imposter must be killed, while Zed works on summoning his Leomund’s chest. Gord asks for 20 lbs of pale iron be brought to him, for his “approval of its quality.” This is stashed in the chest and Zed sends it back.

The one commanding the dwarves makes himself known – a Drow warlock. He starts to turn the loyalty of the dwarves back to him. There is talk among r4s about hightailing it out of the mine now that they’ve secured the pale iron they needed. Mialee and Zedra share a brief but powerful glance, both finding solidarity in the other’s hate for drow. Zedra attacks with taunting phantoms, causing nearby dwarves to melee the warlock, and him to hit himself. (onlooking dwarves become more confused as to who is the real ‘high one’.) Mialee flings her magic dagger at the drow and bloodies him. The warlock unleashes some of his ‘pet’ brain huggers. Most of the dwarves run away or just watch in fear, but do not help either side.

The drow blinks out of existence and reappears on a nearby pile of pale iron. He manages to dominate Kyrrox and Loki. Mialee and Zedra each hit him again, but when he should have died, the pale iron he still sat atop seemed to keep him in some kind of stasis.

Zedra notices the mind prism glows and pulses with heat and light unlike he has ever seen from it. He holds it away from himself with a mage hand. Loki vaults down into the excavated area and leaps to grab the drow. He and Zedra strip the warlock for anything of use or value. Zedra cuts off the drow’s left ear and affixes it to the chain around his neck with a sneer. (Loki may or may not hate-fuck the drow at this point.) Mialee approaches and slits the drow’s throat, centuries of cumulative elven anger in her eyes.

Just then, as ominous skittering can be heard from deep in the mine, the mind prism does some psychic damage to Loki and Zedra. Then a radiant white-hot beam of energy erupts forth, incinerating whatever was coming up from the depths. Afterwards, it appears to have exhausted most of its power. r4s leave the mine.

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Taking what's Mine
Dwarfie's had better days...

The next morning, r4s is greeted by Wellbrew, who now believes he’s identified the poison. He warns that it could manifest ill effects of random types soon, it is impossible to predict as r4s is such a diverse group of races and sizes. The Doc has concocted a potion to combat the symptoms, and instructs that it must be taken once per day at the cost of 2 healing surges per day. Mialee, Gord, Patyen, and Loki take the medicine, Kyrrox refuses until she sees proof that they’ve actually been poisoned.

Back at the inn, R4S decide to check in with Dwarfie, to see if he knows anything about pale iron. As they approach his room, they hear screams and thrashing, breaking furniture and clanging of metal on metal. After a few unanswered calls offering aid, Loki and the rest of the group bust in to Dwarfie’s room. They interrupt him and a lady dwarf, who runs out of the room at the sudden intrusion. Zedra, seeing an opportunity for another data point, “seduces” Dwarfie using diplomacy. Even after Dwarfie’s big talk about how dwarven sex is a competition, Zedra “wins.” The rest of r4s go to see how Hamish’s permits are coming along… They find out a permit is even needed for bribes, and its a long one.

After Zedra rejoins the rest of the group, he calls the Leomund’s Chest to find the lock broken and most of the contents gone – including the mind prism and their gold. They send Patyen back with the chest, telling him to investigate, and to be back in 6 hours so they can recall him. After the 6 hours, the chest is called back with Patyen, who recounts his observations: Huge had the prism, saying some blond human man tried to sell it to the shop. The room back at Fiveleague House looks ransacked, Barton neither saw nor heard anything suspicious. Huge included a tankard that made the prism glow when placed next to it. Neither he nor the group can discern anything unique about the tankard, other than it seems to be made of a strange metal. Ale is poured in and Kyrrox drinks, with no effect. Dwarfie is asked to take a drink from it, and he instantly turns raving mad and coughs up a large crystal spike of sugar. After seeing this, Wellbrew believes the tankard is made of pale iron. He is able to alleviate Dwarfie’s illness from it. r4s gives it to Huge, but he tells them it is not nearly enough pale iron for Griffy’s ritual. Zedra and Huge fashion a strong magic lock for the chest.

(Later, r4s manages to trick Alefist into coming to “Kyrrox’s house” for treasure and booze. They take him to the palace, but he’s not too happy about it.)

With fresh enthusiasm, R4S goes in search of pale iron. A closed mineshaft seen on Stonebender maps seems as good a place as any to continue the search. They head in with no guide. Rust monsters are an unwelcome foe for most of the party, Zedra and Gord shrug them off. Through the narrow twisting tunnels, the group fights some dwarves hideously maddened and twisted by the presence of pale iron. Loki finds a huge pile of poo with a few gold pieces in it. Gord turns to mercury and seeps through tiny cracks in the stone. After defeating some particularly feisty “sugar” dwarves, r4s locates an underwater passage leading deeper into the mine.

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Elements and Gods
Ancient answers and current quandaries

R4S enter a large chamber after descending the stone stairs. A towering statue looms in the center, Mialee determines it has some kind of mechanical workings. 4 key holes with 4 corresponding element markings are present on the base of the statue. hallways lead out from the central room, and r4s find each a themed puzzle.

the first room the group enters is Air: 4 levers actuate to open a section of wall with narrow stairs leading up. “4 up or 4 down” is the clue the group finds. Mialee reaches in two of four openings in the newly revealed surface, and feels 2 switches, both “up”. fearing for her limbs, she ends up having kyrrox stand behind her, and reach the two higher openings. kyrrox feels one switch up and one down, she flips the down to up, and a small key falls directly in front of her.

the next room is “Water”. several boards lean along a far wall, a large and deep pool occupies the majority of the space, bordering the walls of the far corner. Kyrrox ties a string to her statue of Bahamut and lowers it into the water, only to discover the liquid is actually acid. so much for Zedra’s water walking spell… a small round and smooth platform protrudes from the pool, just out of reach of one board’s length. r4s uses a few boards to create a cross-corner support, and another as counterbalance with Loki/Patyen, Gord, Zed, and Kyrrox standing on its end while Mialee walks, nay prances, across another board lain across to the platform. a tiny hole in the ceiling is her only clue, and she manages to shoot a crossbow bolt straight into it, triggering the release of their second key. Mialee easily walks back across the boards, and Kyrrox kicks them into the acid.

Feeling quite haughty, the entire group enters the third room, Earth, without so much as a look around. The door thunders closed behind them, and the floor tips their direction sending a huge ball of rock speeding towards the party. Kyrrox spearheads the strategic path to bring the boulder to its resting place. After some carefully coordinated group movement to tip the floor and roll the boulder into walls and pillars, the huge ball rolls into the divot in the floor and the Earth key drops. R4S begins to notice the keys’ teeth line up in a curious design: letterforms…

The final room, Fire. a large grid floor lays before the group. clues suggest they must trigger a specific number of the tiles aflame. pressure seems to activate them, and a second press ignites. Zedra uses his fire shield to resist the damage. Loki uses his bracers after taking initial fire damage. Gord, being an tiefling, doesn’t mind the heat one bit. Some fiddling, a mage hand, and light footed help from Kyrrox/Patyen/Mialee, ignites the required number of tiles and the final key is released. All 4 keys laid together form the word “Surprise.”

r4s returns to the main room and uses each key to unlock each section of the statue base. New magical items and money are gladly received. The apparently inert Mind Prism is among their loot, much to everyone’s delight. One trial remains: the statue itself activates and defends its sanctum. Some light fighting and frantic shouting, Zedra figures out the puzzle and yells “surprise” in Dwarven. The statue ceases movement and the exit opens to them. Zedra calls forth his Leomund’s Chest and they stash most of their gold, the mind prism, and the newly acquired Orb of Truth inside and send it back.

r4s notice unrest among the spirits and as they emerge topside, see riots among the local orcs and dwarves. Meanwhile, in Hammerfast proper: The temple of Grumsh has been destroyed, causing the upheaval between the two races of Hammerfast. Dwarven cleric of Moradin and leader of the new super-church in Hammerfast, Grand Peacebringer, speaks out in the street against the orcs. The riots mean martial law has been enacted, and the bridges out of the city are closed.

r4s takes care of business: returning the borrowed journal to the abandoned temple of Moradin, and paying a visit to the permit office in hopes of getting a merchant license for Hamish. (turns out, the permit office is hopelessly bogged down in a bureaucratic mire of paperwork and lack thereof. r4s threatens and distracts the few employees to get information, and “borrows” a completed merchant application. No one can apply for permits because the office is out the necessary forms, including requisition forms for printing more forms.

Back at Dr. Wellbrew’s, r4s attempts to talk to the strange always-present drunkard the Doc refers to as “milord.” Milord may very well be a political figure swindled out of his home and fortune by a hooker.

r4s decides to do some information digging, and heads down to the palace-turned-superchurch for Peacebringer’s tent revival. The service itself yields little useful information. The group heads into the palace and find a store room with a portrait of “milord” – former president Alefist. Not wanting to arouse suspicion, r4s departs.

They check out the ruined temple of Grumsh. closer inspection reveals it had been destroyed by precise blast points (too accurate for Sandpeople) while empty.

[*A Brief History of Orcs in Hammerfast: About 300 years ago, Orcs tried to take Hammerfast from Dwarf control and lost miserably. the Gods involve themselves and a compact is established guaranteeing both presences. Orcs only recently gained equality in the vote, and as yet do not have it in wages.]

r4s swings by the local print shop to inquire about permit office contract work. they present a blank merchant application form to the shop and ask for 100 copies. (Zedra’s prestidigitation temporarily cleaned the ink from the completed form) Once done, the group asked the printer to fill out an application for himself to be delivered to the permit office. Once forms were available, the permit office was glad to be back in business and have a printer to work with. r4s passes along an application to Hamish.

Back to the business of finding pale iron, r4s decides to head into one of the primary mines. The dwarves are not at all interested in even uttering the words “pale iron” and become hostile until r4s wins back their favor with beer and funyuns. (Just plain yellow onions, but the miners love them for snacks.) A crazed looking old dwarf seems to know something, but between his ramblings and the threats from the other miners, r4s back off. Zedra refuses to sleep in the mine, so the group heads back for the night.

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Hammerfast, at Long Last
Rockslide season has passed.

After R4S is released from prison, they rejoin Zedra in the Harken forest and all head back to Fiveleague House. The group checks in with Hamish to buy some supplies, and see what information he might have regarding the poison, and the mind prism. Hamish directs them to Hammerfast, since it is home to the alchemist from whom he buys potions. Hammerfast would also be a good place to investigate the prism, since ore and minerals are a specialty there.

Almost immediately after entering Fiveleague House proper, Patyen is told Suzette wants to see him in her room. He goes and Loki follows, like a creeper. Mialee stays downstairs and enjoys a drink. Gord, Kyrrox, and Zedra chat with Barton for a few moments before heading up to bed for the night. Just as Patyen and Loki enter Suzette’s room, they are forcefully grabbed – their heads covered with sacks, their wrists bound. Barry, also present in Suzette’s room, calls for Kyrrox, who immediately comes up to the room and is grabbed.

Gord and Zedra are grabbed on their way to their room to turn in for the night. Zed promptly feysteps out of the grab and appears back downstairs at the bar next to Mialee. Marcus interrogates his captives in his usual “caustic” demeanor. Meanwhile, Dakyr shows up at the bar, puts an arm around Mialee and Zed, asking them to come up to Marcus’ room. When all are present, Krystryd and Valthrun enter from the room across the hall, bearing gruesome injuries only beginning to heal.

Marcus accuses r4s of being directly responsible for their injury and the deaths of many monks at Gardmore Abbey. r4s explain they had no knowledge of the attack on Gardmore until much later, and that they’d left to find out who wanted the crown in the first place. Marcus is still angry, but other attending members of The Hidden Hand start to agree with r4s: that they did not “set up” Krysrtyd and Valthrun. Marcus eases up a bit. Valthrun imparts some useful information to r4s about the mind prism, and that more info might be available in Hammerfast, at an ancient underground temple. With renewed fervor, r4s heads to Hammerfast.

After their uneventful travel, r4s realize they must get across the chasm that separates the entrance district from the actual city. Passes are the only way visitors can enter Hammerfast, but are extremely difficult to get. Loki learns from 2 whores that the guards along the bridges can be bribed. Meanwhile, Mialee makes a hat decorated with horse hair and uses the bell to summon Herman, asking him to give the hat to Huge “from a secret admirer”. The group runs into the real, corporeal Dwarfie at a bar, amazingly drunk. They take him back to an inn, and hope to be able to get his help in crossing to Hammerfast.

Patyen, Zedra, and Mialee manage to convince a local mining company representative that they are businesspeople interested in a contract with the operation, and successfully talk the rep into taking the three of them, plus their “bodyguards” across to the city on the supply train. They claim they represent a business venture interested in pale iron. Once in Hammerfast, they must wait out the night and meet with the head of Delvehart Mining company in the morning. R4S make their way to an inn and meet innkeeper/bartender Dr. Wellbrew, who also happens to be the alchemist with business ties to Mad Hamish. The group asks the Doc about their poison situation, and he collects various bodily fluids from all affected.

Following a pep-talk from Loki, Zedra manages to take a dwarven “barslut” to bed with him (employing a rather witty pun involving big dick-tionaries). First data point acquired. Meanwhile, Patyen and Loki go investigate the now abandoned temple of Moradin, and find a journal there. They borrow it in order to have Zedra translate.

Later, Patyen, Zedra, and Mialee meet with the head of Delvehart Mining, a well-dressed gentleman of a dragonborn named Thark. He is not opposed to their retrieving of pale iron, but is not willing to allot any manpower from his exploratory teams. Kyrrox tries to use a “love potion” on Thark, and fails – she’d been duped by an unscrupulous lovemonger. Patyen seems to have a hard time properly pronouncing Thark’s name.

Later, The group heads down to the underground crypt of Sir Godsblade (as mentioned in the translated journal.) Godsblade, as it turns out, looks just like Dwarfie and it is assumed the ‘ghost’ of Dwarfie Patyen has been seeing is actually a manifestation of Sir Godsblade. The group enters and is presented with a riddle, which after some amount of fiddling, they finally solve. a door opens, revealing a stairwell leading further down into the cavern.

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the Drug Lord and the Doppelganger
Will the real Zedra please stand up?

After allowing the fires to adequately burn the threep weed fields, r4s return to the Turnblatt farmhouse. Archers make themselves known within the house by hitting Zedra and Patyen with arrows, Loki rushes in and takes a few of them out. The rest don’t last long. Gord finally decides to join everyone else in the farmhouse, after relaxing in the embers of some threep weed for the entire fight so far. The group finds a stove in the corner that looks suspect, and under it find secret door downstairs. Loki leads and gets hit by a fire alchemist. Lots o’ fire rages in the room. Loki takes out a bunch of minions. Zedra grows a pair and deflects another attack from the fire alchemist. The alchemist retreats to another room after r4s kill all his buddies.

Loki shoves the door open to reveal an altar to Vecna, the drug processing area, some priests, and some others. Zed enters the room and gets teleported by a priestess. Mialee does some serious damage to the priestess, and Gord kills her. Turnblatt, a priest himself, proves difficult. Zedra busts out of nearby crate of threep leaves, where he’d been teleported, and is rather intoxicated. Patyen sobers him up a bit. Kyrrox topples a statue of vecna, squashing a minion. Zed then teleports Turnblatt into a crate and an archer into the ground outside the basement wall. Turnblatt busts out of the crate, which was full of bacon grease. Kyrrox lights greasy Turnblatt with incendiary arrow. After Turnblatt finally dies, the last remaining enemy is interrogated, doesn’t know anything, and is killed.

Mialee and Gord stuff threep leaves in their pockets for “personal use.” Kyrrox takes a couple gallon jugs of threep oil. The group finds a note on Turnblatt’s body – outing The Children of Selos as part of the Crown of Ro’thax undead raid on Fallcrest, claiming someone was bribed into assisting them, (either a member of r4s or someone r4s trusted at Gardmore Abbey), as well as mentioning future plans to take over the Vale after they drug everyone with the threep contaminated food. The note also mentions an ally in Hammerfast… A further search of the basement area yields a bunch of platinum pieces, some components Zedra can use for rituals, but nothing else of interest. The entire place gets torched as r4s leave for Harken.

Back at Harken, a huge celebratory feast is happening – hosted by Selos. Kyrrox practically bullys Selos into eating an apple she’d heavily dosed with threep oil. He eats some and nothing seems to happen. R4s notice the town elders drinking suspicious wine. Kyrrox and Loki find the wine crates and Loki breaks them all “on accident”. The elders are very upset about this. Zedra takes Loki out of the area claiming he’s drunk and needs rest. Patyen comes with them, in papoose.

Dwarfie (previously serving wine) also starts putting something on the food. Kyrrox asks about it, Dwarfie claims he was told to use this “seasoning” and doesn’t know what the substance is. She takes the vial and chugs it to show him the ill effects. Dwarfie turns on r4s yelling that they’re poisoning the food. Guards find drugs on Kyrrox, Mialee, and Gord. Suddenly a crossbow bolt hits Selos in the shoulder, the source seems to be Zedra, who takes off. The drug-holding members of r4s are arrested. A mob goes out to find Loki, Zed, and Patyen. (They had gone to Bo-peep’s sheep whorehouse.) They tip Bo a platinum piece for “extra discretion” and hide out in one of the rooms with 2 sheep. Hear the mobs looking for them. The three stay the night, work on disguising themselves. Shave Patyen to look like a baby, fashion a fatsuit and beard for Loki, Zed uses prestidigitation to look like a redhead lady. Next day they leave, fairly confident Bo won’t go rat them out. He does tell them the mob burned the temple of Lady Varis to the ground looking for them. They head towards jail, overhear people talk about the “Zedra” crossbow incident.

Rhyder finds Loki, Zedra, and Patyen. He convinces them he has friends around, so they follow him down an alley and up a ladder to a window. Rhyder goes in and Marcus appears, smiles, and cuts the rope so they fall. (Doppelganger’d) Almost instantly, they are blocked in the alley by 6 of Selos’ guards. Loki and Zedra try to fight, but soon see they will fail. Loki and Action-Patyen surrender and are arrested. Zed feysteps into another alley and hurriedly changes his appearance again. He makes his way out of town limits.

Meanwhile, in jail: All personal effects are confiscated, but Mialee is able to sneak her lockpicking tools and the Herman summoning bell into jail. As soon as the coast is clear she summons Herman. He’s not inclined to help them. Loki and Patyen are brought in to jail. Herman hides under Mailee’s bunk as Selos comes in, bandaged from the crossbow attack. Once the guards leave Selos becomes a very different man, threatening them all to tell where Zedra is. He shoots each of them with a crossbow of his own as they refuse to talk. Minimal damage. Everyone plays dumb, no one talks. Selos reveals they’ve all been poisoned, with 14 days to live. He has the antidote. Selos is very angry and sure Zedra has the mind prism from Fastormel. He knows r4s was somehow there because of the huge amount of perfect historical items they’d recently sold. r4s is told they have 2 weeks to give Selos the prism. Selos then exits and tells the town and guards everything was a misunderstanding and r4s is free to go. Herman heard all this, says he’ll look into a cure for the poison, and leaves. r4s exit town.

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Hark! enwold
Famous Dave set up us the cheese

In the morning, r4s prepares to leave Fiveleague House to investigate Harkenwold’s cheese industry, and specifically, Famous Dave’s operation. As a gesture of gratitude for helping subdue the cheese, Barton puts two rooms on permanent reserve for r4s. While the party makes arrangements for transportation, Loki purchases a papoose and carries Patyen around in it. A local stablehand informs the group that Marcus left his wagon and horse, and asks r4s if they will be using it, or paying to keep it at Fiveleague. Barton knows not where Marcus has gone, so r4s take Marcus’ horse and wagon and head out on the path southward towards the cheesemonging lands of Harkenwold.

After the first day of travel, r4s makes camp and Mialee keeps watch while the party sleeps (or in Zedra’s case, meditates.) Her sharp elf rogue ears pick up a faint wail, the sound of someone in pain. She pulls Zedra out of meditation and tells him what she hears, and that she wants to go investigate. He agrees and decides to follow her. They find Loki is awake, and tell him to keep watch while they go down the road to check out strange noises. Mialee with superior stealth moves on ahead, while Zed keeps a fair distance back.

Mialee finds an overturned produce wagon with an injured man inside, wailing and moaning. She approaches, slowly, and the man attempts to attack her. He groans and mutters about staying away from his food as he savagely devours produce. Two other uninjured men were eating some of the food inside the cart and now see Mialee, they too come after her. Zedra hears the barbaric screams and quickens his pace to Mialee’s aid. The three crazed men, wielding clubs, prove too much for Mialee and Zedra to fend off. At about a half mile away, Loki cannot hear their cries for help. Zedra casts Ghost Sound as far towards the camp as he can reach, emulating Barry’s voice yelling for Kyrrox. Sure enough, in short order Kyrrox is riding the magic horse to their location with Loki, Payten, and Gord trailing behind.

With Kyrrox, angered at the lack of Barry, the three men are quickly taken care of. A mysterious bola slung from somewhere in the woods helps in subduing the men. Mialee investigates and returns dragging a young elf male by the ear. Her long lost brother, Rhyder, has been following and observing them on order from Marcus. He is defiant, but eventually confesses that Marcus does not trust them, and wants to know what they are up to. Marcus believes at least one member of r4s is responsible for Krystryd’s death.

Meanwhile, Riza seems very interested in the food, to the point where she attacks Kyrrox when disturbed. Kyrrox’s knowledge of nature allows her to discern that this produce has been coated in a narcotic made from threep weed. She collects a sample. Riza is now so full of food and drugs, she can be picked up and Kyrrox slips the bird into her secondary hawkpocket. (her primary hawkpocket is still full of cheese from Fiveleague.) The party plus Rhyder returns to camp for the night.

The rest of their journey to Harkenwold is uneventful. Within Harkenwold, they are made aware of a large food drive for the benefit of Fallcrest. It appears The Children of Selos are spearheading the operation.

They also find Famous Dave’s cheese shop, the vendor of the evil doom-cheese Barton had used for nacho night. Dave is quite displeased at the sight of r4s entering his shop. They ask, beg, and threaten information out of Dave, but he does not have any information to provide on the topic of living evil cheese. He cannot even say from where he receives his milk and supplies, as he uses several local farms. Mialee sneaks into the back room while the rest of the party distracts Dave.

At first nothing seems unusual. Dave keeps horrific records, and she gleans no information from any books or notes. A lone worker stirs a pot of still-curdling milk, and adds something suspicious to the mix. She goes up and introduces herself as a new employee, and the man, Keith, does not buy her story. Dave is called in. r4s and Dave all enter the back room and both Dave and Keith are interrogated. Zedra finds the pot of cooking cheese suspiciously arcana-rich. After Loki grabs and shakes Keith, a pouch falls from his pocket. Zedra identifies its contents as ritual components capable of creating monster-dairy. Keith is accused of being a Cheese Wiz-ard, to which he indignantly replies he is a Nachomancer.

R4s fights the barrel of cheese and Keith, and successfully subdues Keith and kills the cheese. They find an amulet of Vecna on Keith. Loki kills him. They also find a crude map with a circled location in the nearby woods, marked “Turnblatt.” R4s bids a fond farewell to Dave. Rhyder, who was left to tend the horse, has made his daring escape and is nowhere to be found.

Loki and Zedra discuss Zedra’s complete lack of sexual experience. Zedra realizes he, a scholar and man of science, has been completely and willfully denying himself knowledge of a broad and basic subject familiar to most everyone else: Sexuality. Zed decides he must collect a data set of reasonable size and variety to analyze before he can make any conclusions. Loki decides Zedra needs “professional” help.

In front of the Temple of Lady Varis, r4s find none other than Dwarfie, in the flesh, helping to organize donations of food. They ask about the strange substance found on the food of a cart encountered on their journey, Dwarfie is concerned but knows nothing. r4s inspects the storehouse, and eventually comes to the back where a new shipment is being received. sure enough the produce is coated in the same substance. They find out the donation comes from Turnblatt Farms.

Just past mid-day and r4s sets out to find this Turnblatt farm and uncover what ties they may have to the evil cheese and the drugged produce. r4s comes across a massive clearing full of threep weed crops, in the area approximated in the map they’d found. A few guards patrol the fields around a small house. Mialee expertly backstabs three guards, but becomes more and more disoriented as she crawls thru the hallucinogenic and narcotic plants. Gord and Zedra start fires in the fields and Kyrrox lights the house on fire with an incendiary arrow. Mialee manages to take out another guard before she heads back to the rest of the group, taking two arrow hits as she passes the house. A dire boar is brought out, ridden by an archer, but soon the fire and smoke overtake the few remaining guards. r4s retreat back into the woods and find a suitable place to wait out the fires. Mialee, after some healing from Patyen, comes down off her trip and says she’d found slips of paper with the symbol of Vecna on each guard she’d killed.

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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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