Return to Kelmarane

Field Report on events of 4709, day 15, month Erastus – Report 724-8

Filed by: Tefya
For the Attention Of: Amatiri, Temple of Sarenrae, Solku

Key Involved persons:
Qusai. See appendix A, B, F, F1, H, H1, H2
Tillous Borde. Notes to be attached once located.
Kiva: See appendix A, F, F2, F3, F4, G, I, J, K, Z, Z1, Z2, Z3, Z3-A, Z3-B. Also Hazardous Materials form I-445-1 and Flammable Risk Assessment F-722 and F-714

Other Involved Persons:
Lady Almah, head of this expedition. Devout follower of Saranrae.
Father Zastoran, Master Alchemist, not as crazy as Kiva it seems.
Oxvard, Cleric of Abadar
Felliped, Bard, Companion of Oxnard
Undrella, evil harpy, potential temporary ally!
Haleen, ??? Unknown. Associate of Kiva??? Slave in battlemarket

This report continues from 724-7 and is a true and accurate picture of events as noted

Part I (A Morning’s Preparation)

GeierAfter a good night’s rest, apart from some yowling from the Carrion King again, we awoke and breakfasted. At least we tried to but the guards here seem to be worse than useless as once again we were disturbed because something had got into the monastery. Qusai was able to point us in the direction though strangely he didn’t immediately follow (and I’m not sure where our breakfasts went as I swear I hadn’t finished) and we found in the open courtyard, there was a Geier.

It appeared to be searching for the eggs that had previously rested there and we attempted a mild deception using Qusai’s soccer ball. Unfortunately the Geier pierced our deception rather literally as the ball burst and deflated and we were forced into battle. Fortunately for us, it seems the bird was better against the dead than the living as it failed to harm anyone and was brought down quickly with a single shot from Qusai and some mighty sword and dagger wielding from Tillous.

Upon dispatching the bird, the guards finally arrive and offer some excuses for why they didn’t see it coming, claiming that they were focusing on Kelmarane. I’m not sure how honest they were being. They did report that they’d seen a gnoll patrol leaving a large amount of dead sheep across the river and that there was another gnoll patrol wandering there right now.

We then went to speak to Father Zastoran and to Oxvard, the cleric of Abadar whom we rescued from the Dust Digger yesterday.

Oxvard was able to tell us a bit about the conditions of the buildings inside Kelmarane, mostly ruined though the battle market is still beautiful. He suggested the ruins would make for excellent hiding.

He also asked us to look for his former companion, Felliped, a bard who might be hiding amongst the ruins.

Kiva inquired whether the bard liked sheep but Oxvard was unaware of any particular dietary preference.

Oxvard suggested speaking of either Sarenrae or Abadar to let Felliped know they were friends and also gave them a ditty that was one of Felliped’s favourite songs that he might recognise.

Oxvard also spoke of some of the dangers of Kelmarane. The tribe there are called the Kulldis and they have a relatively new genie leader called Kardswann, he had only seen Kardswann once but he was very big and rumoured to be very powerful.

Oxvard had seen the gnoll’s travelling in groups of 4 and estimated there were 25 gnolls there altogether.

There was also rumoured to be a Harpy in the vicinity who had something to do with the genie leader. She was not at the battle market. There was an event happening soon at the battle market so if the group could pretend to be smugglers, they might be able to get close.

Part II (Into Kelmarane)

We headed into Kelmarane and followed the river bank around to try and avoid patrols. We were just approaching the old Slave Market when Kiva spotted some footsteps going to and from the bank. She eagerly followed them, Tillous trailing behind her then returning, chattering about them leading to a building across the way. We made our way to that building which appeared to be an old inn, most of the bottles sadly smashed but there were more foot prints in the dust leading to another door. Qusai led the way, humming the tune that Oxnard had given us and it was quickly answered by a rather peculiar man.

felliped-handout

Felliped, bard and Pathfinder

He was hiding in what appeared to be stable and claimed to be the missing man Felliped though I think there was something suspicious about him. He claimed to have escaped from the battlemarket in the ruckus after we killed the tribe’s pet and had been hiding out ever since.

He was able to give us some useful information including that the sheep carcasses were being fed to a Peryton across the river, that they had originally come to Kelmarane to investigate a crypt under a church of Sarenrae in the city, the same crypt that the genie had gone into and emerged changed. He also confirmed that there was a big event coming to the market soon which might be the best opportunity to attack.

There was a mild ‘incident’ where Felliped mentioned a slave named Haleen who was about to be sold. Kiva took objection to this and punched Felliped squarely on the jaw. In her defence, I think there was some emotional distress involved. Kiva did not seem inclined to mention Haleen further other than refering to her as ‘Mine!’ and glowering at Felliped.

Despite the wound, Felliped supplied further information including:
1) There were flint gnolls closer to the battlemarket who would be tougher than the gnolls encountered so far
2) There was a guard house near the top with a ranger and some hyenas. If we took out or sneaked past the guard, we could probably pass as smugglers.
3) The harpy near by was known to hook up with Kardswann, the genie leader
4) The Carrion King was rumoured to be unhappy with the tribe, in part due to the fact they had not captured many slaves (given this tribe’s propensity to feed the slaves they do catch to the dustdigger, I suspect we are not dealing with a particularly smart tribe)
5) The Peryton and the Harpy are both across the river
6) The Peryton is a beast with the body of a stag, the wings of a hawk and the head of a wolf. It can claw you and rip your heart out. It can fly over a target and mark them with its shadow, leaving the victim frightened. (As you will read, the actual beast turned out somewhat of a disappointment).

With Felliped in tow with a dagger leant from Qusai, we searched the rest of the buildings. Next to the inn was a once grand three storey building that might have been the Wharfmaster’s residence. From the third floor, we were able to see over the river and Tillous spotted a wing and a claw indicating where the Peryton likely resided.

The other building was a store but nearly everything inside was smashed. We then headed over the river.

Part III (The Harpy)

We first headed towards the tannery which had smoke coming from the chimney suggested something was inside. I could send a moderately powerful evil aura from inside. Tillous scouted around the outside, peering in through the window and then signalling us to go through the front.

undrella

Undrella

Unlike most encounters in this place so far, the harpy did not immediately attack us but welcomed us inside. There were many pots of bubbling potions inside that seemed to fascinate Kiva but I’m not sure our alchemist had any luck understanding what the potions are.

It seems that while she was eager to tell us that while she was Kardswann’s paramour, her lover was now cruel to her and she sought to bring him down. Tillous reported she appeared to be honest in this but definitely evil. I suggested we could make an alliance briefly and she could depart this place in peace once we were done but she did not seem keen on that. I have a feeling she will need to be dealt with though her knowledge could be invaluable.

The harpy asked for a gesture of trust at which point Qusai started undressing. The boy may need to be watched carefully (while he is dressed) to ensure he is not inclined to fall under the sway of evil beings. The harpy didn’t seem that interested in his offer though she did brush a talon along his cheek: it was somewhat nauseating. She asked us to bring the head of a giant snake from a nearby building and finally introduced herself as Undrella. She promises powerful advantages against Kardswann if we help her.

We departed the building to discuss outside. While we agreed that the harpy was untrustworthy, the majority felt that following her wishes for now until she either showed her true colours or proved advantageous was a good idea. As we were already across the river, we headed first to tackle the Peryton.

Part IV (The Peryton and the harpy)

perytonThe Peryton turned out surprisingly easy to kill. Our new companion inspired us with a hearty song until an accident with one of Kiva’s bombs distracted him with the more important matter of stopping himself on fire. The creature did manage to render Tillous unconscious (again) but wasn’t able to rip out his heart and he was soon restored to health thanks to Felliped. When it attempted to fly off, it was finished off by a blow from Felliped and from myself. Whatever this shadow fear ability it had, it was unable to use it before we brought it down.

It’s home was little more than a disgusting mix of bones and carcasses and I had to leave before it made me ill. Kiva managed to find a nice longsword and Tillous a ring though Kiva’s attempts to get them to swap were not fruitful.

Finally we headed to the market, heavily damaged by fire. I led the way with a torch to illuminate the gloom and Felliped attempted to charm the snake. His skills were lacking this time as the snake slithered to attack me. Fortunately my armor deflected the blow.

Qusai and myself both landed solid blows but it was Tillous who finished off the enemy with a strike of his dagger. We chopped off the head ready to return to Undrella, the harpy. I located a rather nice sketchbook of charcoal landscales in the rubble and I think Tillous found something too as it made a chint noise as he dropped it.

After that, we headed back towards the harpy.

To be continued in the next report

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The Wereleopard

The Fourteenth of Erastus, 4709 Absalom Reckoning

As written by Qusai

After eliminating the nest of weird critters we head south into what was probably a library. It’s very dusty and extremely boring; there’s a plaque on the southern wall showing Nethys with a text in Osirian that is also boring. However Tillous thinks that it is a secret door, but doesn’t know how to open it. I suggest shooting the door open, but nobody wants me to show off my mad skillz.

I begin to suspect that they are all haters.

Tefiya pokes it with her sword. Nothing happens. I could have told her that, and it sounds horrible and probably ruined her blade. Well, I won’t be sharpening it for her! Then Kiva got the idea to use a wand and that worked, so it seems like you had to use magic to open it. No wonder Tillous had no idea!

Anyway the plaque swings open and reveals a cave-like hallway with a cloud of fluorescent green gas and a bunch of statues. NO, I WON’T TOUCH THEM. I wouldn’t touch them anyway because there are tendrils of green vapor coming out of their open mouths and this reminds me just a little bit too much of Tefiya and her green infestation.

Kiva runs into the… why. why. why. Kiva runs into the hallway, stops, smacks herself upside the head with her mace and starts giggling and trotting around the hallway. I yell for the others because while Kiva is weird, she’s not usually this weird. We try to decide what to do and I suggest that Tefiya go in because of the green stuff, she might be immune. Although then I have the idea to lasso her, but nobody seems to like that idea either.

I’m not sure why no one is missing how innovative I am and what a natural leader I could be.

From the doorway, I have a look at the nearest statue but don’t see any obvious ways to manipulate it. If there’s any way to turn them off, I bet it’s by yanking on the tongue. I send Tefiya in to check it out. That’s leadership! Tefiya sticks her hand all up in its mouth and it looks really ridiculous, she gives up and heads over to check out Kiva. So Tillous heads in to see if he can figure it out and he does. Some things just need a man’s touch.

So Tillous goes off to turn off the rest of them while OH SHIT WHAT Kiva just takes off running around the bend of the tunnel. I think we should just leave her to die, but Tefiya runs after her. Everyone is out of sight, but I think it would be safer to wait for the vapors to dissipate. On the other hand… they have the lantern.

So I follow, and it smells bad but the vapor doesn’t seem to be harmful in any way. The tunnel opens onto a larger cavern full of thick green gas with some weird rotten barge floating on it. Kiva tries to touch it and seems entranced as if something had fallen into her hand, but nothing is there.

She’s probably gone over to the dark side. I offer to shoot her but nobody wants me to do that. It’s Tefiya and that green slime all over again.

I think perhaps I have discovered something important about the color green. Thankfully my favorite color is purple.

I step forward and smack her – just trying to break her out of whatever it is – but it doesn’t seem to do anything and she even takes a swing at me with her mace. So bravely I try to tackle her to the ground. Some disembodied voice is babbling about her being affected by the voice of Nethys, but I don’t have time to worry about that.

I get Kiva on the ground and she smacks me in the knee with her mace. Damn little brat dwarf!

haidar

The stranger from Osirion

Tillous and Tefiya are talking to some guy who I can smell even over here while grappling with Kiva. He looks like he’s lived here for years, and he just wants us to leave. I think I overheard him say that Kelmarane is lost to the Katapeshi. I don’t know, surely giant boars and gnolls can be defeated.

This stupid dwarf is slippery and a lot more wriggly than I thought she would be. She just headbutted my shoulder. I try to get a really good grip on her, while Tillous is making polite chitchat with the stinky guy. Something about Osirion.

Shit! She got away. Well. Let her death be on her own hands. I tried.

I sit up and pay attention to the talk with the stinky guy. He looks agitated, and keeps telling us to go away. Now he wants to know if we’ve been sent to fetch him. Tefiya asks if he is a follower of Nethys, but he isn’t. At least he says not.

He thinks we are supposed to capture him and he’s getting more jumpy. He’s got a wicked-looking knife — I’d like to have it — but he could be dangerous. Kiva is over there hitting herself in the face and babbling to herself: I wash my hands of her.

I asked him if he can tell us about the sphinxes — or maybe he knows if I’m a lost prince of Kelmarane? — but he attacks me! How rude! And turns into a monster, growing fur and claws.

Maybe he’s jealous that I’m a lost prince of Kelmarane?

I roll away from his stab and Tillous steps in across from me, attacking but missing. Kiva suddenly snaps out of it and starts asking what’s going on – we don’t have time for that now! The stinky guy is attacking me again, OUCH! I think my guts are falling out!

wereleopard

Tefiya charges in and smacks him upside the head; I take a step back and fire my weapon, but unfortunately miss – only because I am so desperately injured. Tillous sneak attacks him. I hope they kill him quickly.

No, I hope they disable him quickly, and kill him slowly. Bastard!

Kiva swings at someone else’s knees for once – she hits, but he doesn’t scream, so she can’t have put much effort into it. But it sure pisses him off, he lunges down and bites her throat. It’s disgusting and gory and now I feel a bit bad about having tried to tie her up.

There’s a lot of useless swinging going on over there and the cat guy is lunging at Tefiya now – at least she has more armor on. It ought to be a little harder… she ought to get more armor, because that looks bloody. Ugh.

I take aim and fire — I got him good! Boy, he looks angry now, but he looks like he’s heading for me next. Just to be safe I take another step back just as Tillous stabs him in the back and he sinks to the floor, changing back info human form and saying “Be careful with Ennebe!”

Kiva starts claiming that she didn’t do anything to me, while Tillous claims the punching dagger, which is very fancy and has a leopard styled on it. It looks magic, there are flickering shadows on its blade.

Tefiya says the guy was definitely evil but the blade is just magic, not evil. He is wearing a falcon pendant and a chain shirt, and carrying 450 gold. That would go a long way to buying a really nice gun.

Tillous explains what happened to Kiva, who doesn’t seem to remember what happened. Maybe it’s better that way.

Looking through his saddlebags we find 343 more gold and a set of icons that look like falcons. Animals are used as the symbols of royal Osirion families. … Oh, crap. Aside from that there’s just a bunch of old clothes and some scrolls that Kiva says are incomplete letters to his son Rafiq.

Rafiq sounds kind of similar to Qusai, doesn’t it? Too bad I know he’s not actually my father.

06ee7183d662162c17588ca236408f4eAnyway, there’s a bit of a tunnel to the north that looks like a dead end but there’s a door to the west which leads back into normal rooms. There’s a giant alabaster altar surrounded by flickering blue light, its pedestal is carved with wings and scaly bulls. It smells like bitter incense in here.

Something starts hissing. OH SHIT IT’S MORE SNAKES! A viper appears out of thin air atop the altar. Tillous chops it in half and Kiva packs it away. *Now* we notice that there are also snakes carved into this altar. That was probably a sign.

Kiva starts copying magic spells off of the pillars in the room and I hurriedly ask Tefiya to make sure they aren’t evil, she says they aren’t, so we’re going to check if this room connects to the ones we were already in and then wait for Kiva.

It does, and she takes foreeeeever to finish. Now she wants to go over all the items we have that might be magic. We pile it all up and she waves the wand. A bunch of it is magical, but Tefiya has been hiding something — it’s the chain shirt we took off the cat guy.

Kiva says the scarab I picked up is an alternative form of a wand that can be used to open doors and such from a distance (14 charges). The brooch Tefiya has protects from magic missiles. She’s useless at identifying any of the weapons though and also can’t figure out what is different about the chain shirt.

Strangely, she didn’t sense anything magic in my pants. (Snicker.)

Anyway we head back up the rope to the top part of the temple and the rooms we haven’t explored yet. But there’s not much to the east side, we head to the west side and find a tiny archway only large enough for rodents. Who does that? Anyway there’s nothing else interesting. We debate if there’s anything else we can take back with us, like a sphinx, but nope.

So it’s back to camp for us. There’s a storm outside though so we’re debating whether to stay overnight or wait it out. After a couple hours the storm abates and we ride back.

After we ford the river Tefiya looks over the shoulder and sees someone tied up and being fed to the pesh fields monster. We try to turn our camels and hurry that way, but only Tillous’s camel is cooperative. The rest want to go home and it’s a battle to get them turned around. I get mine headed the right way but Tefiya ia stuck. Some things just need a man’s touch.

Or perhaps just my touch. I pass Tillous who is having trouble with his camel and pass Kiva as well. I am going to swoop down and save this poor man from the monster! I will show them all!

Shit! Tillous just passed me again. He’s stealing my thunder — but the monster dust cloud seems awfully close. The ground is shaking. Maybe it’s not a bad time to be in second place.

dustdigger2Indeed, the monster surfaces from the sand and Tillous, who jumped off his camel, looks like he’s getting sucked in. He keeps his footing and throws the prisoner up on his camel, but the creature snaps at him and hits his leg as he swings up.

I shoot it in the face and move backwards, ready to ride. Kiva throws a flask of acid at it and hits. We try to ride off, but the worm catches up to Tillous easily and attempts to grapple him. He gets away and we put our heels to our camels! The creature sinks beneath the sand as we flee.

Once we get away from the area we stop to deal with the guy we just rescued and take his gag out. He’s an older man with gray hair and has been badly beaten. He’s very relieved to be rescued – who wouldn’t be? His name is Oxvard, a cleric of Abadar, a member of the Lions of Senara, part of a treasure-seeking group from Cheliax. His party of five was captured by the gnolls and most were murdered.

Tefiya asks if he knows anything about the tit demon but… he does not. Not until he realizes she means a schir, which the gnolls use as a guard.

Oxvard says he would pay us, except he doesn’t have any money. Drat.

We give him a health potion and head back to camp, ready to impress Lady Almah with our newfound knowledge and rescued informant. A guard runs off to inform her as we approach, and Dashki is ready to annoy us as always, demanding to know why we didn’t bring back treasure. Ass.

Wish we’d found more treasure.

We drop Oxvard off with Father Zastoran for a well-deserved meal and rest. We ask for some more health potions and explain where our injuries came from… he is fascinated by the were-leopard bites and hopes that either Kiva or Tefiya will continue to transform.

I lead the group to go visit Lady Almah, who is reclining on cushions and looking very delectable. I wish I smelled better. And had less dried blood on my clothing. I show her my gut wound and she is very impressed by me.

She says the Yunan family, the rulers of Ipeq, use a falcon as their emblem. So we probably killed a prince, for real. Shit. Garavel says there was a rumor about one of them who killed his wife and daughters and then fled. So maybe it wasn’t a bad thing we killed him. He was an evil were-leopard, anyway.

We tell her that there wasn’t a lot of treasure but tell her about the sphinxes and etc. I hand her the mask of Nethys, but she says it’s nothing important, and then we show her the were-leopard’s punching dagger. She generously lets Tillous keep it and then pays us a bag of 500 gold. I don’t understand why he just hands it to Tefiya when I’m clearly the leader of this party now.

She suggests that tomorrow we should go back to Kelmarane but insults us by saying we just killed a “little” boar the first time. Does she understand nothing? She also doesn’t want us to kill the pesh field worm, which we all think is rather short-sighted.

Time to eat and sleep. Wish there were someone to share my bedroll with.

The Refuge of Nethys

The Fourteenth of Erastus, 4709 Absalom Reckoning

Thought record
Being a true and accurate recording of the mind of one Kiva Ograddam, Dwarven alchemist.

Too many potions, Zastoran not happy. Even after the boar! Alma gives us an allowance? Wow.

Tit demon heeheeheeheeheehee. Tall, skinny, goatthing, felt evil. Tefiya is our religious authority. Oh dear. Every dawn is a new light. Awww.

He’s going to consult his books. He has secret books! I need to find them. He knows the killer death cactus! Dust demon. Grabbed by the testicles, not good. Chop it to bits before it buries and eats us. Um… no. Sir Icktham’s natural guide to Katapeshi desert. So many tentacles! What’s with the tentacles? He gave me a wand. How do I use a wand? Is it like my mace? Tastes a bit weird. Tingly.

Off to a temple, Qusai doesn’t want to go. Don’t need to go past the killer death cactus, but there’s water. I might drown! Or my camel might drown because we’re not heavy enough! I need extra weights.

Something disturbing and noisey, not Qusai. Echoey screams. Sounds human. Bet the tit demon got him. Coming from Kelmarane.

Desert RiverOther side of the river is dry and icky. Proper desert. No roads or anything, but there might be some of those things from the book! I hope they have a lot of tentacles. Qusai knows where he’s going, he can go first. If he gets eaten then I get his camel. Boring mountains are boring. nothing even to orient by other than across the river. Compass says we’re going right. Oooh a talking compass. I should see if I can make one. Oh look a ruin!

Windy. Dust everywhere. I think I have half the desert in my boots. Riverbed? Maybe a road. 2 statues, horribly ruined. Poor statues.

Into the ruin! There’s no way we’ll find anything here, it’ll all be buried. No evil, well of course not. It’s all sand. Sand’s evil. Pillars holding up a roof. Roof? hah!

Qusai called Tefiya short, how weird. Maybe a pet name. Oooh I wonder if they’re in looooove. I should buy a hat.

SandstormLittle room, bit too bright though. Qusai seems to be leaning against the pillars. I wonder if he’s tired. Smells a bit weird. That sounded like a… oh no. Worse! Qusai got bit, but Tefiya squished it. Not dead. OhcrapOhcrapOhcrap. BOMB! Missed. Tefiya’s been bit. Got them with a bomb that time. Burneyburney. heeheeheeheeheeheeheehee SQUISH. heeheeheeheeheehee Got a vial of venom. Should poison something.

Qusai found something shiny and gold. Jewelry? Oooh it’s a mask. Money! The others have wandered off, we should show them.

Room full of carvings, all shiny, feels… wrong. Man commanding elementals, I want a pet elemental! I wonder if there’re any in here. I should look. Falcon headed statues? Tefiya doesn’t seem bothered, but they’re weird. Something’s banging to the west. Not more spiders unless they’re banging things. It’s a statue. It’s banging. A banging statue. Heeheeheeheehee. Trapdoor. We should send Tillous down it. He can’t get it up. Heeheeheeheeheeheeheehee

Wow that took aaages. Oops, slipped down the shaft. It’s pretty though. Oooh was this a lift? Tefiya nearly died, she shouldn’t have jumped. Blue light. Water? Nope flame. Blue flame? Weird. Salt does that sometimes, but not constantly. Wish I could test it. Aaaaaagh baboon! Oh, no, statue. Might kick it. Statues look weird and angry. Grumpy statues. Osirian I think. They would be grumpy. Destruction spirits, Tefiya says. Aaaaaargh! Fire! Qusai set one on fire! And me! Dammitdammitdammit! Burning hands, that was burning hands. Stones trigger them, let’s leave them alone. Someone needs to make Qusai go first everywhere.

Demonic sphinxes! I want one! Well maybe not, but it’d be fun to have one instead of a camel. I bet they don’t smell as bad. Qusai is not allowed to touch the statues! Or anything!

Tillous managed to annoy the sphinxes. Men! Tefiya went to help, there might have been some… encouragement. Maybe they won’t attack women. They will. Tillous fainted again. The sphynxes like Qusai! Like, really like. Weird! I guess someone has to. Sphynxy McSphynxface.

Tefiya’s magic, then sphynxes, then me, then Qusai, southern alcove.

Qusai went and poked the wall and his hand went through! He went through! Aaaargh! That. Was. SO. COOL! Tillous nearly didn’t make it. The tubs are full of… things. 3 of them. Like big… fishpeople. Smells in here. Now I think about it, maybe we don’t want to be here.

ChokerHit one with my mace, it seemed surprised. Even more surprised when Qusai shot it in the face. Maybe we shouldn’t hit them, they’re very squishy. I’m sure I’ve got some squishy thing in my hair. One grabbed Tefiya, but we squished it.

Potions! And other stuff but… potions! 2 potions of bless, 1 of clairvoyance, and one of see invisible! I lucked out! They can have the rest. Well some of the rest. 170 gold between four if we can sell it properly. And potions! Miiiine.

First Forays into Kelmarane

The Thirteenth of Erastus, 4709 Absalom Reckoning

As written by Tillous Borde

Breakfast happens, Garavel doesn’t seem too chuffed by our lack of up and go, but breakfast is just soooo good.

Getting everything ready, we pick up our potions from the Zastoran.
Avoid the battle market on the hill, large domed building, giant market with a fighting arena and slave auctions.

Just as we’re getting ready to leave Dashki comes running through shouting that a pugwumpi has snuck into the monastery, a guard goes to get people and the brave adventurers head off in pursuit.

Tefya uses her detect evil powers to home in on the pugwumpi and the group heads off in futile pursuit, through the courtyard, with Qusai following Tefya and Tillous sneaks off round the end of the courtyard on completely the wrong side and pounces noisily round the corner only to find it went in the other direction.

Everyone starts shouting, where is it? it went that way! it’s shouting for it’s friends and was heading towards lady Almah’s room, it starts getting louder and as Tefya comes round the corner she spots it and charges, and … smacks it one. It looks rather shocked by this development.
Qusai comes round the corner, raises his musket, lines up a shot and “boom” hits Tefya in the back.
Tillous and Kiva are too far away at the moment and can only run towards the carnage.
The pugwumpi takes advantage and stabbities Tefya somewhere near the knee.
Tefya hurriedly tries to heal herself up and then misses the little git spectacularly.
Qusai clears his misfire.
Tillous rushes in and only manages to graze it while Kiva hits the wall with her mace.
Tefya shifts round a bit and tries to hit it with Tempest and drops Tempest in the dirt.
Qusai up next and he manages to actually shot it this time, melon explosion of Pugwumpi all over the 3 in melee. yuck!

Garavel comes on the scene followed by Zastoran, he heals Tefya.

ab722733f27f9a5906eeab8e2b6945fcFrom the hills overlooking the Pesh fields, Kelmarane can be seen to be mostly in ruins. The road heads all the way into the battlemarket, there appears to be some kind of large beast being held in that area. Gnolls seem to be patrolling in fours.

Qusai asks if anyone has used Pesh and gets greeted mostly with silence and disgust from Tillous so moving swiftly on.

Heading off along the road, some bones are sighted at the side of the road into the cacti fields. With the exception of Tillous the others head in to have a look and feel the ground vibrating under their feet. A quick retreat is in order, other than Kiva who decides that jumping up and down would be a better plan before retreating. There was definitely something under the sand there.

Moving onwards the party reach the outskirts of the town and try and decide on a plan of action. Tillous moves towards the old gatehouse while the others go to check on the other buildings to prepare their ambush.

Tillous moves towards the gatehouse trying to get into a position to see if one of the patrols is coming to provide a warning. It doesn’t go too well as he disturbs a Dire Boar which charges straight past him, Tillous manages to get off the signal before it gores him good and takes him out.

ee7ed721a239d3542d06b04ef898a801The others move in and seeing the boar Tefya taunts it into attacking her. She heals herself after taking a hit and keeps it busy while Qusai blasts it for a good hit. Kiva expecting a gnoll misses with her slingshot.
Tefya hits it again and tries to heal herself.
Qusai takes a step back and downs a potion.
Tillous finally manages to stabilise at -5hp
Kiva annoys it with a bomb and it turns and charges towards her.
Tefya moves after it, chugging a potion as she goes.
Qusai moves towards Tillous as he reloads
Kiva throws a bomb in it’s face, it’s really mad now and bites her.
Tefya finally gets back into range and hits it again.
Qusai takes a small step closer to get range and LOS and misses.
Kiva, out of bombs tries to twat it with her mace and misses.
The boar turns on Tefya and gnashes ineffectually at her.
Tefya takes a big swing and batters it to the ground with one last oink oink oink.

The party gathers up Tillous and they hide in some nearby ruins to lay on hands, chug potions until he’s conscious again. The gnolls and the goat tit demon rush through the gatehouse and over to their pet guard boar and wail in grief at it’s demise. The party take the chance while they’re distracted by their grief to slip further away from the scene of the crime. Tefya reckons that the goat tit demon isn’t very dangerous, but unfortunately for the party it picks up the boar carcass and heads back up the road that winds round the hill.

The party reckon that it’s time to set up an ambush, and slip into the ruins, the patrol goes to the end of the road near the bridge and turns to head back. Seeing Kiva standing at the side of the road, it runs towards her as she takes a shrinking potion and starts to move back, getting hit and reaching zero hp. Kiva manages to stagger back out of it’s way allowing the gnolls to follow her into the trap that was set.
Kiva misses with one of her bombs, Tillous stabs the first one distracting it in the process allowing Tefya to hit it with ease, quickly followed by Qusai killing it with a stab from his dagger.
Kiva throws another bomb into the road block of gnolls that were funnelled for the ambush. It hits and sets it on fire, splashing fire onto the other one.
Tillous stabs over the top of the wall, hitting with the dagger, before he gets stabbed for his troubles back to zero hps, Tefya kills the burning one and steps in over the corpse to take on the last one of the roadblock.
The last gnoll is still trying to work it’s way round the buildings but Qusai hears him and moves in to attack.
Tefya attacks the last one in the roadblock, killing it then moving back towards Kiva who waves Tefya off towards Qusai who has just been taken down by the flanking gnoll. Everyone gangs up on the gnoll, letting Tefya kill it before getting down to the serious business of healing and looting.

91gp, 546sp, 8-900cp, Onyx x2, 80 arrows.

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Little box with a Non poisonous lizard in it, Tefya tries to catch it and comes away with a bit of tail.

Getting the rock out of there we head home to face the music, Lady Almah doesn’t seem too impressed about the Tit demon and tells us to speak to Father Zastoran and ask to see his collection of scrolls.
Dashki informs us that the dire boar “Old Bone Grinder” was likely their mascot.
We have been tasked with checking out an old temple to Nethys (God of Magic) on the other side of the river.

Off for dinner and a good rest.

The Monastery Cleared

Field Report on events of 4709, day 12, month Erastus – Report 724-4

Filed by: Tefya
For the Attention Of: Amatiri, Temple of Sarenrae, Solku

Key Involved persons:
Qusai. See appendix A, B, F, F1, H
Tillous Borde. Notes to be attached once located.
Kiva: See appendix A, F, F2, F3, F4, G, I, J, K, Z, Z1. Also Hazardous Materials form I-445-1 and Flammable Risk Assessment F-722 and F-714

Other Involved Persons:
Lady Almah, head of this expedition. Devout follower of Sarenrae.
Majordomo Garavel, servant of the Pactmasters.
Dashki, fragrant gnoll expert.
Father Zastoran, Master Alchemist, not as crazy as Kiva it seems.

This report continues from 724-3 and is a true and accurate picture of events as noted

Part I

Upon disturbing the baboons performing acts listed upon sections B, B1, B2, B3, B5a, B5c of the Paladin Reporting Document, Kiva attempted to apologise and close the door. Unfortunately these baboons did not appear distracted by their activities and briefly ceased activity to stare at us. I managed to close the door but it turns out these baboons had mastered door opening and launched an attack upon Kiva who was closest.

I am unable to provide an exact taxonomy of the baboons except to say they were very aggressive and had bright red… posterior regions.

Fortunately these baboons seemed more adept at certain activity that in attacking as they repeatedly failed to do any damage to Kiva. Kiva attempted to chide them with “BAD MONKEY” and I tried to scare them off as they did not appear evil, just aggressive, but it appeared the baboons were keen on a fight.

Original art by Ben Wooten on Deviantart

The fight from there was more of a rout that a proper fight. There were four hostile baboons at my count, most of them attacking Kiva as she was closest and the smallest of the group. Qusai took first blood with a solid and destructive shot from his musket. I took out the next one in one hit with my sword (see appendix T1 for notes related to the sword). One baboon actually managed to bite Kiva but the pain was enough to allow Kiva to land a solid hit. The baboon’s head splattered into the dust. It is worth noting that the death came mid-coitus as the baboon behind had used the opportunity to resume activities.

The door was then blocked with Kiva engaging one-on-one with the baboon. I managed to channel some of Saranrae’s power to heal Kiva of some damage for the first time while everyone else waiting for an avenue for a shot.

As Kiva’s specialty is in thrown potions, she suffered some performance failures in attempt to spank the monkey. She did manage to land the final blow on a rather prominent but painful part of the baboon which was sufficient to down it permanently. It regret we had to slaughter the animals but we were left with little choice.

With that accomplished, we finished exploring the monastery to ensure there were no other unpleasant surprises waiting for us. There was nothing that exciting found: a set of stairs down to the alchemist laboratory with the steps coated in green moss, a library with most of the books damaged beyond repair. It is worth noting that after her attack by the baboons, Kiva seemed particularly traumatised.

Unfortunately it was then that we recalled a mistake of planning that we failed to arrange a signal to alert the camp that the monastery was clear. Qusai volunteered to ride back and fetch them though I am somewhat suspicious of his motives around Lady Almah.

While waiting, I went to work cleaning up the chapel, especially the altar which had been defiled by Pugwampi waste. Tillous went back downstairs and did his own extra sweep of the cleared grounds to find anything missed. Kiva went down to the alchemist laboratory and searched for any ingredients, working on some extracts.

Part II

The following is a third hand report from a guard of Qusai’s activities upon reaching the camp and unfortunately cannot be verified.

Tha’ scruffbucket came marching into camp like ‘e was out on some walkabout. He goes in to see Lady Almah and I don’t think she was much pleased with him especially not for not using the signal and wasting all that time. ‘e reported the monastery being clear but mentioned something ’bout some Paladin getting taken over by a slime. That ain’t you, is it? (Please see appendix T1 for my report on events).

Lady Almah didn’t much like the sound of a Paladin of Saranae getting corrupted given she’s a worshipper of Sarenrae ‘erself. Talk about a bad omen, Dawnflower watch over us! Qusai puts ‘is foot right in it by insulting worship of Saranrae and has to backpedal right quick when our Lady Almah points out how devout she is. Either ways Lady Almah orders us to pack our stuff right up and head here.

Part III

The caravan arrived back to the monastery fairly quickly and myself and Tillous went to meet them. It appears Qusai’s words had worried Lady Almah as she ordered her guards to grab my arms and asked Tillous about what happened. Tillous relates the events, much to the excitement of Father Zastoran who wants to visit the alchemist lab. Qusai offers to give Lady Almah a tour of the monastery: Lady Almah is less than keen.

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Tillous has far more luck with Father Zastoran who is determined to claim the lab as the Senior Alchemist. He does notice something unusual about the growing pattern of the mold on the stairs, perhaps related to what happened to me. Tillous relates the tale of the slime molds to Father Zastoran which confounds the man: he insists this is highly unusual behaviour for the molds who usually encase and smother their victims to death. Obviously I was not encased and smothered to death.

At this point, Kiva is still in the lab but Tillous’ report states that she didn’t interact much beyond squeaking and, erm, “MONKEYS!”

The group return to the entrance where Qusai once again tries to rouse suspicion against myself (I am at this point unsure of his motives for this). I explain things as best as I can though I did not feel Lady Almah would be receptive to the truth (See section T again, especially the notes around MS) so I just assured her that I had felt the presence of Sarerae while working in the temple and had no reason to believe my Goddess was currently at odds with what had happened to me. I made no attempt to free myself beyond a mild tensing of the arm which might have helped assuage her.

Qusai then succeeded in convincing Lady Almah to accept a tour though she rebuffed his arm, leaving him to play with his weapon instead. From what I have heard, the tour was somewhat circuitous and included the stinking room with the blood-sucking creatures which might not have been the wisest choice. They finally arrived at the library which Lady Almah considered as a suitable room for herself.

Unfortunately Dashki arrived but fortunately claimed a room far from most of the party where his smell might not reach: This is not hyperbole in my report. He smells that bad. Everyone settled in a room with us taking the larger, un-monkey-defiled room.

We then go to meet in the chapel though not before Qusai manages to offend the majordomo, Garavel, by suggesting he was having a relationship with Lady Almah. Garavel, as noted, appears to work for the Pactmasters which includes wearing a strange metal bowl that suppresses his emotions. Garavel was not pleased by the implication.

Part IV

Lady Almah thanks us all for our service and declares the monastery a good base for freeing Kelmarane, setting a guard rotation in the rafters to watch the city. She has also instructed us to begin the liberation of Kelmarane tomorrow, exploring the outskirts of the city but staying away from the large battle market in the centre of town where forces may be concentrated. Father Zastoran would provide some healing potions in case we encounter a difficult battle.

She asked me to lead them in prayer. I chose prayer 1,521 from the common handbook which seemed to inspire them so much that half the guards bowed their heads and appeared to fall in deep communion. Very strange as it always seemed a little dull and boring when Father Kortan said it.

Here ends the report with one final note. We were rudely jarred from sleep late in the evening by a loud howling noise that lasted at least a couple of minutes. Followed by another sound echoing further in the distance.

Dashki, the so-called gnoll expert, stated that this was known as the Howl of the Carrion King, the Carrion King being a gnoll who lives in the Pale Mountain and can howl like that to his followers and the gnoll tribes allowing communication over great distances. It apparently happens every night. I have seen no evidence yet that Dashki is an expert in anything except how many days you can go without washing before you pass out from your own stench. This quest is turning out somewhat fortifying in that regard so far.

Also, MONKEYS!

The Arrival of King Mokknokk

The Twelfth of Erastus, 4709 Absalom Reckoning

As written by Qusai

Some fucking big pugwampi has arrived! WTF! It has a hammer! It speaks our language and wants lunch. Wee dwarf hides behind big paladin as Mokknokk comes up the stairs and RRRRRRRRs and focuses on Tefiya’s shield, which doesn’t break: “NO BREAKY! RRRRRR!” Tefiya stalks closer to him! She smites the evil right out of him. Wtf why is she glowy???

Qusai is distracted and misses his shot. Oops. It can happen to anyone, I’m sure. It might be a little embarrassing that Kiva hits him with a bomb right afterwards.

Mokknokk tries to kneecap Tefiya and totally misses – clearly because he was distracted by the bullet whizzing by him. Tillous stealthily flanks him from behind while Tefiya smacks the shit out of it… oh, no she misses. And so does Qusai! Bam! Ricochets everywhere. Kiva pulls out her shiny mace and sneaks between the pews. Mokknokk is so confused by the bullet ricocheting that he drops his hammer. Still the tiny little bugger manages to dodge everything.

Qusai is totally frustrated and tries to smack him with the butt end of the musket, but also misses. How is this possible!? Kiva has reached him now, taking so long because her legs are so short, and swings her mace right past his arm.

Mokknokk is totally scared of the musket attack so tries to attack Tefiya, but luckily, he misses and Tillous and Tefiya unfortunately also can’t connect. This little bastard is a little bastard. Qusai aims, shoots, and hits the ceiling… it was a little muscle cramp. That’s all. Kiva misses. Tillous misses… so Tefiya sticks a foot out trying to trip him… misses. He giggles nastily. Qusai shoots right past him and glares suspiciously at his smoking musket, while Kiva misses. Mokknokk hammers Tefiya in the thigh. Cursing is heard.

Tillous misses… so Tefiya sticks a foot out trying to trip him… AND THE WEE FUCKER FALLS FLAT ON HIS WEE FACE. Qusai apparently needs a stationary target. He aims, he shoots, he shoots him in the back!

Mokknokk struggles to his feet which gives everyone the opportunity to smack him. Tillous pointy-swords him in the giblets. Tefiya pointy-tempests him in the giblets. Mokknokk is looking a bit battered but he takes a big swing at Tefiya… but misses. Finally a bit of fairness. Except then he spits at Tefiya and hits. Ewwwww.

king-mokknokk-handout

The toughest pugwampi of ’em all

Tefiya sticks out her insidious foot… AND THE WEE FUCKER FALLS FLAT ON HIS WEE FACE. Qusai shoots the floor next to his head, trying to intimidate him, of course.

Mokknokk jumps back up and RRRRRRR! Everyone tries to smack him. Tefiya pointy-smacks him in the giblets! He takes a swing at Tefiya and hammers her in the kneecap. Tillous giblets him in the pointies. Tefiya takes a swing! and… oh dear… no luck at all. We won’t even mention how Qusai misses. It’s clearly sunspots.

Kiva takes out a vial and approaches Tefiya, however Mokknokk smacks her on the way, it’s a glancing blow however. Mokknokk is enraged! He takes another blow at Kiva and hits her harder. Tillous attempts to stab the little fucker in the back with his swortsword and totally succeeds! Tefiya chugs the extract while Qusai… let us not even mention it. Mokknokk smacks Tillous with his hammer.

Tlllous stabs right back and deals the killing blow! King Mokknokk falls over and gurgles, blood running out of his mouth. Plunk.

With him dead Tefiya recruits helpers to drag the smelly corpses out of Sarenrae’s temple. Tillous volunteers to help, making sure none of the corpses has anything valuable on them – aside from some hollow eggshells, there is nothing. Kiva nabs a miniature bow & arrows from one of them. Kiva and Tefiya arrange to burn the corpses outside in the courtyard. Qusai is busy being sad about his lousy musket, sitting to the side and checking its mechanism.

The party cleans up and goes back to searching the monastery. There are three more damn pugwampis in a damn room cooking some damn lunch. Qusai fires into the room to scare them, totally deliberately missing all of them (definitely deliberate), while Tillous waits for one to come out. This happens in short order and Tillous lunges with his pointy objects, hitting with his sword; the pugwampi misses his return attack. Tefiya scootches to the other side of the doorway, the pugwampi’s dagger glancing harmlessly off her armor, and smacks the little cooking ass who dies forthwith.

The next one jumps out of the kitchen and stabs Qusai, while the third one throws pottery. Qusai shoots back, but misses – which is totally understandable after being threatened by pottery. Tillous stabs the nearest little buttmunch, and it seems nearly dead but unfortunately not yet all dead. This is all not going so wall as the pugwampi then tries to stab Tillous, while the second throws cutlery out the door, aiming at Qusai but not hitting.

Qusai shoots… and misses. Tillous has a stabby stab stab and… misses. Kiva can’t get through the taller people, who you’d think would be more considerate, but they’re very busy missing while trying to hit pugwampis. Speaking of which, the pugwampi in the kitchen is wildly flinging stuff out of the kitchen. Tefiya gets hit by a rusty fork. “What the fork is this!!??” she yells. Qusai shoots… and misses.

Tillous stabs the pugwampi in the corridor for real this time and the little snot falls over dead. It was surely scared dead by Qusai’s loud shooting. Yessss. The second pugwampi comes running out to see what happended to his buddy, and Kiva and Tefiya standing near the doorway take the opportunity to take a swing, both hitting handily. It falls over dead, clearly due to Qusai’s influence. But hey, dead is dead.

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We go on and open the next door. There are copulating baboons. …. Wait, what!?

Pugwampis in the Monastery

The Twelfth of Erastus, 4709 Absalom Reckoning

Thought record
Being a true and accurate recording of the mind of one Kiva Ograddam, Dwarven alchemist.

Sword called tempest. Shinyshiny. I wonder if it matches my mace. She can’t have it. I should check it later.

Tefiya’s acting weird. Er. Weirder. She’s growing mould on her hand and arm holding scimitar, changes side when sword does. I wonder if she’ll let me cut some off. Scrapey scrapey shavey shavey. The lab could help, or maybe the alchemist guy. Tefiya says it’s not evil.

Tillous looks at the eggs. Omelette? No… birds. Disappointing. Qusai notices something! Tunnel. Too regular for a rodent. Pugawampi? Still think we should cook the eggs. Who knows when we’ll get to eat properly again. Qusai tries to roll an egg out with his musket, breaks it instead. Gunky musket – ewww.

The others have wandered off to look in the rooms. Bah. I’m going to cook the eggs.

stirgeMosquito bats hovering next to the gargoyles in the octagonal room! They should have stayed by the fire! Tillous tries to get out his bow, Qusai shoots one, unfair! Why do they have all the fun! But two try to suck Qusai so maybe not all the fun. Tefiya to the rescue! Mosquito squish! Qusai shot a gargoyle, Tefiya got bit but squished the other one. They killed Stirges! No fair! They should have waited for me! Big hole in the roof, and bones. Lots of bones. Too many bones? Qusai opened a wall! Who knew he could do that!

There’s a garden. Qusai couldn’t open the wall, but I guess opening one really takes it out of you. Maybe there’s something there that can make a restorative for the next time. I should try that. Tefiya poked the wall with the scimitar and found a door! Magic weapons are so fun! Tillous put my fire out. I’m not sure I like him any more.

Statue. Beardy looks peaceful, the pilgrims don’t like him – horrified, praying, generally ick. Foot of the statue there’s a stele – A ghost of unholy mien was purged from this place by Theodephus Estrovan, servant of Aroden, 4691 AR. (4709) Aroden used to be a god. Mmm, stones. Petpetpet.

Looks like we’re heading to the main room again. Should get back to the laboratory, stuff there that’s not been sniffed. Not letting them have all the fun again. Stick together. Wonder if the eggs had enough time to cook.

Niche ceiling intact but not much else, just another statue of beardy. Pointing towards pale mountain. We should definitely go there.

Tefiya and Qusai head up the steps in between all the old marble benches. Starburst of Sarenrae at the end even though the roof’s caved in in places. Altar is still there, red carpet too. 10ft from floor is a cluster of gnoll skulls. Candelabra? Dashki would love this.

The skulls are moving! The gnolls are still alive!! BURN! Ceiling’s on fire. And it was only a pugwampi. Oops? I think I made Tefiya mad, she shouted a lot. Maybe it was at them. I should get her a gift. She ran at one! Qusai blasted one. No two! No! Three! He’s a proper Pugwampi hunter! I should get him a gift too. Not Tillous though. They keep shouting Mokknokk. I wonder if that’s Pugwampi for fire. Qusai shot Tefiya. He’s off my solstice list. 6 dead pugwampis, Tefiya sacrificed the last one to her goddess, which is a bit odd, but she is human.

Oooh, that one’s big. Wonder if I can hide behind Tefiya.

The Monastery of St. Vardishal

The Twelfth of Erastus, 4709 Absalom Reckoning

As written by Tillous Borde

We start the journey towards the Old Monastery, it’s very hilly and we trudge onwards with our camel train, also very hot, (it’s a desert) after a bit we get to the Monastery of Saint Vardishal. It’s in a very bad state of disrepair, though some of it does appear to have some roofs still intact. There is a courtyard there with a big hole in the wall which according to Kiva’s trained dwarven instincts seems to be pretty natural rather than having been blown open etc.

b1f9c94f8b29121eafbcce752801d0dbThere is a sense of foreboding, similar to the cactus patch as we approach the first hole in the wall. Quasi offers to blow another hole in the wall but there were no takers. There is a lot of debris, sand, scrub etc. Tillous moves forward quietly and looks through into the knave, there is nothing apparently there and he motions the others to join him so they can explore the knave itself, there doesn’t appear to be anything of interest so they head for one of the openings in the southern wall to see what is behind.

Bearded figure in three scenes on wall, half on fire, half serpent man striking down bearded hero. Third scene, he’s been speared in the back with another of him looking down on him. Tefiya is really interested in studying it while Kiva pokes and prods it.

Another carving, Bearded Hero preaching to a group of female clerics, pilgrims of Sarenrae, priest and in the background is the monastery. Receiving visits from others with dates engraved somewhere, one about 30 years ago still legible with space available for more carvings.

Openings in area open up into a cloister, overgrown with trees and bushes. The outside of the cloister is fairly free and while everyone is investigating, Kiva starts to carve her name into the free space on the wall. Everyone else is oblivious.

Five bearded guys, a really old one, with bits missing, arms chipped off or broken away. They look like they should have distinctive weapons, one can be seen with a big axe, another with a regal looking staff.

On the eastern wall of the cloister one of the doorways opens into a brightly painted roof with a statue and a roof, probably a small shrine of some kind. Rectangular wooden plates with old filigreed with a big hero fighting flaming enemies, some of the gold plates are missing, as if hacked off. The statue is the bearded guy but has had his face hacked up. His hands are outstretched as if waiting for an offering.

Tefiya asks for help to move the statue, Kiva asks if it needs to remain in one piece, Tefiya says yes so Kiva offers Quasai’s help who completely fails to help at all. Tefiya moves the statue and reveals a secret staircase down, when Tillous checks in to see what all the noise is he chases after everyone to catch up.

Down the stairs a roughly hewn passage extends to the east. Kiva goes skipping off while Tillous lights his lantern and then leads the humans after her. The corridor comes to a crossroads and Kiva waves back at us then runs off down the south passage with the rest of us following, it seems relatively short a corridor, but there are branches off it that contain the skeletal remains of the former occupants of the monastery. (Sleeping thankfully) There is a shiny mace there and Kiva shouts “Shiny thing” and pounces picking up a nice shiny mace, There doesn’t appear to be any other weapons lying around, though Tillous did mistake a femur for a club.

Along the north passage there is a corpse with some rather nice leather armour and a dagger, it is very good quality according to Tillous. He pockets the dagger as they move away with a mental note to come back for the armour later on. Tefiya doesn’t seem to object too much and they move on down the eastern passage where they find another crossroads with a door ahead. It looks like it’s the same as the previous side passages and is a continuation of the ossuary.

Tefiya pokes around, Tillous is bored of bones without possible loot and Quasai is still a bit squicked out by the bones. Tefiya finds a small wooden box with a small Wooden symbol of Sarenrae on a silver chain, next to it is silver brooch.

Blue and gold bauble in the shape of an eye.

Tillous opens the door seeing as no one else seems to want to go near it. It opens up into a what appears to be an alchemical lab, the feature however appears to be a quivering green liquid. Which starts to shiver harder, dum de dum dum dum….

The curtains close, the lights come up and the ice cream seller comes round with their tray to stand in the aisle.

Back to the action, the liquid forms into a pair of strange green blobs and attacks!

Qusai He shoots, he scores!
Kiva go boom! and throws a bomb at the furthest away one. Fire everywhere!
Tillous places the lantern on the table, moves over to the flaming blob and misses it with his sword.
Tefiya moves up to the blob and slices a chunk off.
The blob oozes up Tefiya’s leg and onto her face and in through her nose.
The other blob oozes up Qusai and tries to engulf him and fails.
Qusai steps back and shoots it.
Kiva throws a flask of Acid at it
Tillous stops himself from hitting Tefiya and takes a step back in shock.
Tefiya runs out the room and up the corridor.
The blob tries to engulf Qusai again but he manages to throw it off him towards Kiva and shoots it, tis but a scratch!
Kiva splats it with the shiny mace and it dissipates to nothing.

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Fun with young slime molds

Tillous charges off up the corridor shouting that the other one went up Tefiya’s nose. The others don’t initially follow which leaves Tillous tackling Tefiya in the dark, shouting at her to stop running. A struggle ensues while they shout at each other, Tefiya wanting to get to the courtyard. Eventually the other two catch up with Kiva asking if Tillous needs a hand getting her out of her armour. Eventually Tillous does manage to pin her and much hilarity ensues as the party tries to make her throw up under duress to get the “blob” out of her.

Tefiya eventually admits that she needs to get to the courtyard to dig under the thicket to find what Vardishal left for her. Kiva makes a concoction to try and make her throw up, sulphur fails, strong drink fails. Tefiya makes a good argument but Tillous isn’t buying it though eventually he gets a slight compromise that she relinquishes her sword to Qusai in case there are any issues.

Once back upstairs everyone else takes up covering positions while Tefiya digs in the thicket with her shield, Qusai and Tillous spot really big eggs in the other thicket. Eventually a really shiny scimitar is found that Kiva thinks is related to the Bearded dude, a sun beam shines down and glints off the blade (Tempest)

The backlights fade, leaving the spotlight on Tefiya as the curtains close.

The Pugwampi Hunt

The Eleventh of Erastus, 4709 Absalom Reckoning

As written by Tefya

The group’s first hunt starts off badly. Dashki strides off north, leaving only his trailing smell as a path to follow in the darkness. Fortunately it seems that he doesn’t go far, just to the edge of the camp where he stops and waits for the party to do something to find the Pugwampi.

The group make various attempts to persuade him to use his own tracking skills including Qusai threatening to shoot his foot off and Tefya trying to persuade him that helping would go a long way to protecting Lady Almah. Neither attempt is met with success but instead with him claiming he is a gnoll expert, not a pugwampi expert and insults from Dashki setting the tone for most interactions. In the end, the party make some attempt to find the tracks themselves and it is Qusai that spots a cluster of tiny footprints, footprints that Dashki confirms as belonging to the Pugwampi.

The party makes its way stumbling through the rolling desert hills at night, Qusai leading while Kiva and Tillous flank out to the side, using either superior night vision or just roguish stealth to keep an eye out. As they progress, more and more cacti cluster the path until they come to a seemingly impassable blockade of cacti. There is an ominous evil presence as Qusai fortifies himself with a shot while Tefya clutches her holy symbol and senses a vast evil presence and impending doom.

As they reach it, a strange screaming noise rips through the night, the originator unfamiliar to any members of the party.

The group try to make their way through the cacti, Tefya and Qusai slashing with scimitar and dagger, Tillous by using his natural acrobatic skill to try and squeeze between while Kiva alternates between impatiently waiting for the ones with weapons to cut through and getting Dashki to move. The group however seems beset by bad luck, Tillous getting scratched at almost every turn, Qusai acquiring a new scar from a mighty scratch and Tefya spiking her hand. Dashki refuses to go into the cactus patch despite Tefya yelling at him or Kiva’s attempts to persuade him through.

Qusai manages to use his rope and a dagger to invent the Cactus Dagger Whirlwind Jubilee which has mixed success in smashing cacti but fortunately doesn’t hit any party members.

Tillous is the first to break through onto smoother ground and once the party torch makes it far enough, he has a clear view of the missing goat, Rombard, tied to a tree at the end of a ravine. At the bottom of the ravine, a large cacti and its spines lie in wait for the party. Tillous wisely chooses to hang back with his bow, ready for any traps.

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Rombard, beloved goat

Kiva is the next to make it through and attempts to cut the rope tying the goat to the scrub however the goat is a little over-excited to see the party and manages to trip Kiva, sending her sprawling onto her back with her head practically hanging over the ravine edge with a good view of the cactus below, moonlight seeming to glisten off some of the barbaric long spikes.

Tefya attempts to calm the goat to little effect while Qusai attempts to shoot the rope, missing terribly.

Kiva chooses to stay where she is, taking note of the cluster of skeletons laid out around the cactus. She tips one of her acid flasks down onto the flask and the cactus begins to hiss. Almost immediately afterwards, there is a squeaky, snarly noise and creature comes out from behind the rock. It looks a bit like a very ugly chihuahua on its hind legs and it does not seem pleased to see the group or for the damage done to the cactus below.

Qusai is the fastest on his feet and gets a shot off from his gun, unfortunately it seems he overestimated the height of the creature as the shot soars above its head. The team then manage to launch their attacks with Tefya getting a good hit in, Kiva grappling the creature to the ground then Qusai making a very poor attempt at tying up the creature that it immediately escapes. Fortunately Tillous is close by to make a much better attempt at tying before Tefya punches the Pugwampi unconscious.

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Pugwampis, most dreaded creature ever

As soon as the creature is unconscious, the feeling of doom the party felt lifted and from there, the evening’s events seem to have much better luck. Qusai uses his whirlwind to clear the last cacti blocked the path while Kiva carries the Pugwampi and Tillous is left herding the goat.

The group make their way safely back through the cacti to where Dashki has been cowardly hiding out. Dashki goes nuts at the fact the creature is still alive and demands the group stab it. Kiva holds it out for Dashki to stab but instead the fragrant youth runs off back towards camp. Kiva chases after and while she does, the pugwampi’s body shifts and reveals a number of Harot cards it had tucked away. She recognises one of the cards as the ‘Demon’s Lantern’, said to represent impossible situations, traps, sleight of hand and tricks like that.

The group make their way back to the camp and head for the tent of Lady Almah. Dashki is already in there spinning a tale to make himself sound heroic, something that Qusai takes great offence to. After a short argument, Almah sends Dashki out of the tent and asks what happens. Kiva shows the horrible creature and the Harot cards, this is enough to convince Lady Almah that their current camp is not safe and they need to find a new one.

Her plan is the next day to move the camp to an old monastery of Saranrae, abandoned long ago but still with a roof on it. She also orders Garavel to kill the pugwampi which he immediately does then the body is handed over to Dashki. Tillous hands the goat over to one of the mercenary guards who returns it to the camel drivers.

The group sleeps for the night.

In the morning, a great breakfast has been laid out by the camel handlers as thanks for saving their beloved goat, something the other mercenaries around the fire are envious of… but not envious enough to join the group to clear out the monastery. Unfortunately the mercenaries know little more about the monastery other than it was abandoned, something might well have taken up residence in it and it previously had a shrine to St Bardishaw. Unfortunately it seems like Tefya was distracted that day during paladin school by a squirrel and has no further knowledge.

Kiva makes a visit to the alchemist and after a energetic discussion about the advantages of bombs versus potions, manages to brew a lot of potions of her own with the alchemist willingly share ingredients. He also gifts the group with four healing infusions that are later shared out amongst the group. Kiva considers relieving the alchemist of some extra ingredients but decides it isn’t worth the loss of a hand.

They meet Garavel who hands over the map then it’s a short camel ride to the monastery where nothing of note happens. Once they reach the monastery, there’s plenty of scrubs to tie the camels to. The monastery door is wide open and a sense of foreboding hangs in the air.

Arrival at the Sultan’s Claw Camp

The Eleventh of Erastus, 4709 Absalom Reckoning

After a week underway we arrive at Sultan’s Claw, which is a gathering spot around a dead tree with creepy claw branches. An astrologer’s wagon is on fire. Some Packmaster guards have a bucket chain going, while other guards are trying to pull the nearest wagon away. To the south of the tree there are injured people and a healer.

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Tillous helps with the bucket chain, Qusai tries to help push the wagon away. Kiva starts throwing buckets of water at the fire. Tefiya stops to talk to an important looking lady and discovers that there is a person inside the wagon; Qusai attempts to rescue them but the fire is very hot. Tefiya joins in pushing the wagon only to fall flat on her face. Eventually the wagon gets moved and the fire is put out: Kiva has managed to throw two buckets at guards instead of the fire, but it’s her bucket that quenches the fire at the end. Qusai tries to suck up to the lady. giving her his scarf to breathe through, while Tefiya goes down to try and help with the healing. She can’t quite remember how to treat burns but eventually it comes back to her and she saves a woman’s life.

The livestock is collected and penned by a couple. The rest of the guards and the lady are checking out the burnt cart. She introduces herself as Lady Almah Rovashki, leader of the expedition, and leaves the guards to start cleaning up. Garavel collects us and takes us to Lady Almah’s tent. Some mangy guy has been hanging around camp, we notice him on the way, he was not helping with the fire. We go into the tent. Lady Almah is lounging around on pillows and asks us to introduce ourselves. Qusai bows and hopes his scarf helped her, she gives him it back. Tefiya introduces herself as a paladin of Sarenrae and the lady is very happy, she wants to rebuild the temple in Kelmarane. Qusai introduces himself as son of a gun merchant and captain of the ruk team, but she’s not impressed. She’s more impressed by Tillous who actually fought the fire! Kiva… likes throwing things. Lady Almah points out that she wasted water, but appreciates the effort. She asks what Kiva brings to the expedition, and Kiva offers to throw more things!! Almah catches on that Kiva is an alchemist and approves after all.

Almah asks us to investigate the fire in camp because she can’t trust the people who were there when the fire started. We accept, and start asking questions. She can’t think of anyone who had a motive to kill the astrologer, named Eloais. He was her astrologer and they had a close relationship but lately only the Cyclone card has been turning up. Amazingly, this same card had flown by Tefiya as we entered the camp – she produces it, and Almah looks like she might faint. He’d predicted powerful evil while trying to free Kelmarane, but she never took him seriously. He kept talking about a Legacy of Fire and said Kelmarane was only a small part of it, but she’d never heard of it. Kiva tries to check the card for alchemical residues but there is no indication of such.

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Lady Almah Rovashki, leader of the expedition

Tefiya asks who else the astrologer did readings for, but no one else believed in it as much as she did, and he kept to himself. Tefiya senses that Garavel wasn’t fond of the astrologer and was jealous of his close attachment to Almah. Almah is tired and sends us away to sleep. In the morning we will learn about the expidition, so Garavel sends us away now.

Tillous goes to ask the Packmaster guards about the fire, but they saw nothing suspicious and have not looked at the burnt wagon yet as no one has ordered them to, but they don’t mind if Tillous does. The wagon is burnt and partially collapsed, many burnt and broken items inside, a broken crystal ball, and lumps of candles, plus the bones of the astrologer. Unfortunately Tillous is not a fire investigator and has no idea. Kiva goes to poke about in the ruins as well but can’t tell what has caused the fire. She determines that the bones were definitely human and “borrows” a couple finger bones for potions for later. Investigating the crystal ball, she learns that it is not magical at all! It’s all a hoax! She notices that the mysterious stranger is lurking around the wagon; when she jumps up and waves at the stranger out the windw, he gasps and leaves.

Qusai intercepts the stranger on his way south and invites him to play ruk, but he’s not interested. He finds out that the stranger is the local gnoll expert, but has body odor and is not very friendly, though this doesn’t bother Qusai much. They compare weapons and Qusai shoots a cactus to demonstrate what a gun does. The stranger is impressed but still not talkative.

Tefiya goes to talk to the couple tending the animals. The man, Hadrad, seems very distraught and both are talking very fast. They agree that one of them left the gate open but they can’t agree which it might be. Their favorite goat, Rhombad, is still missing. The woman, Hadra, is also very sad about this. That goat was so special!! Tefiya senses that the man is more sad about the goat missing than about the fire, but they are both sweet and love animals. Nobody was around their pen when the fire started.

Tefiya then heads over to check on the injured people, finding that the woman she saved, Kalian, is now awake. The woman and her friend Bevis tried to save the astrologer, but they only got burnt. She didn’t see what caused the fire, but talks about the close relationship between the astronomer and Almah. As Kalian is still in a lot of pain Tefiya goes to ask the healer, Zastoran, if there is anything to be done. When the fire started, the healer was by the firepit with the loud mercenaries, so he doesn’t think they could have anything to do with it. Dashki was nowhere to be seen however, this is the mangy mysterious stranger. He reveals that Dashki is obsessed with Almah.

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Dashki

Kiva is stalking Dashki, but he notices… Kiva just waves at him again and keeps following him. Dashki gets annoyed and waits behind a tent to question her, and she insists that he is rude not to wave back. She wants to go wherever he’s going! He is not fond of this idea. She explains that she likes fire and he accuses her of starting the fire and tells her to leave him alone. Kiva persists and Dashki gets irritated, and thinks she is accusing him of starting the fire. The astrologer probably started it himself with his hundred candles! Or maybe the Pugwampis started it. They agree on a mutual stalking pact, and he departs to his single tent. Garavel approaches Kiva and asks what she’s found. News flash: The astrologer is a fake and had lots of candles, Kiva explains excitedly.

Garavel sends her to Lady Almah’s tent, though Kiva stops to kick Dashki’s tent. He finds Tefiya and commends her for helping to heal Kelian, then sends her to join Kiva.

Meanwhile Qusai and Tillous have joined the mercenaries at the firepit for a bit of food and gambling. Garavel shows up and wants to know how their investigations are going. Qusai admits that his investigations have consisted of talking to a smelly guy and shooting a cactus. Garavel is not impressed and shepherds them to Lady Almah’s tent. We try to explain what we’ve been investigating… like that Dashki is concerned about Mugglewumpers. Or Pugglewumpers. Or something. Almah orders Dashki brought to her tent. In the meantime Tillous explains that we haven’t found anything suspicious yet, not in the burnt caravan or by talking to people yet. It could have been a candle falling over.

The odor of the tent changes for the worse when Dashki arrives. He prostrates himself in front of Lady Almah… or is he just trying to get a peek under her robe? Tiva asks him to explain about Nugwampers… “Pugwampis!” Whatever these are, he explains that they bring bad luck and gnolls hate them, but nobody else has ever heard of them. Almah needs proof in order to believe in them and orders us to go with him into the hills and bring one back alive.