Legends of the Inner Sea

Festival and Fire
"Sandpoint"

The heroes arrive in Sandpoint to attend the Swallowtail Festival (a ritual to consecrate the town’s new cathedral) and end up defending the town from a goblin raid. In the days to follow, the heroes come to terms with their newfound local fame, making friends and contacts among Sandpoint’s citizens. As rumors of massing goblin armies build, the disappearance of a local tavern owner leads the PCs to uncover treachery within Sandpoint Glassworks and the existence of an ancient catacomb below the town.

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In the shadows of Thistletop

April 30-

Our intrepid band of heroes continued forward from the site of their last battle until their way forked. Hiro mentioned having spotted something in the direction, so Aspen looked down that path as well. As they passed under a low-hanging thicket of vines, Aspen was leaped at by a Tangletooth. Seeing the plight of his companion, Hiro turned into the fray as well.

Hearing the battle and catching sight of the commotion, the dwarf Fuze began taking musket shots of varying success. At this point still holding the lantern aloft in one hand, the gunslinger Valentine joined the firefight with his free hand’s firearm.

His musket-fire doing little to aid his companions, the dwarf closed in on the beaten down cat with the axe end of his weapon held aloft. After he joined Aspen and Hiro, the cat quickly fell dead.

Then from the shadows of the cave, a wizened voice demanded who had slain her pet cat, causing the underbrush and vines beneath them to rise up and entangle them. The new assailant then began to trade attacks with the party of kitty-slayers, jamming a flaming rod into the rotten underbrush beneath them. Rather than focus on fighting back, the three heroes were forced to get out of the flames, with Fuze and Hiro retreating toward Valentine and the entrance of the cave, while Aspen climbed to temporary safety against the wall. Valentine set the lantern down and began using both firearms as Fuze’s musket-fire supported, and Hiro employed his electrical reserves to form projectiles to buffet her. Aspen too used her glowing daggers as projectiles as she remained trapped by the flames. Together the heroes wore down the spell caster and managed to slay her.

Looting her corpse, the heroes rested 8 hours to full stature.

Proceeding North along the tunnel and bypassing a tunnel to the east where they heard ocean noises, the group came upon sunlight, more ocean sounds, and the end of a wooden suspension bridge. Looking across the way, they saw they were atop a high ocean cliff, with the bridge connecting them to an upraised island. Visible there was a brush coated area and a small fortress.

They also saw a group of goblins and goblin dogs intensely interested on something off the West side of the island, none of them noticing the group of adventurers gathered by the bridge. Rather than risk confronting these goblins and their hounds, the group made their way back into the system of pathways, this time turning to explore the Westward tunnels. Detecting noises and demi-human voices, the most silent of the group, Aspen and Hiro drawing closer to further inspect. After telling the rest of the group about the 6 goblins that they had seen, they returned to the entrance of the make shift driftwood enclosure.

Hiro climbed the enclosure to lure some goblins into combat, and ended up having it collapse
there beneath him. Thinking quickly, he still managed to gain their attention, as goblin archers began to fire at him. Hiro then led them to follow him and attack him, leading the goblins back to a point where they were ambushed on multiple fronts by Aspen before them, and Fuze and Valentine coming in from their Southern flank.

After a short battle, the already weakened goblins were made short work of by the adventurers. Only one goblin that they actually engaged in battle was allowed to live, and so were two non-combatant goblins back at the goblin camp, much to Fuze’ displeasure. Interrogating these provided them with the fact that these goblin were actually from a smaller, less-important tribe, much abused by their great goblin leader Ripnugget. The adventures also learned that the goblins were being brought together by a " longshanks woman."

Again to the dwarf’s displeasure, the goblins were released to live elsewhere, on the condition that they did not go back to ‘Ripnugget’.

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Entering Thistletop

May 7, 2012

Aroused to face a new day, the intrepid adventures arose to the conclusion of Hiro’s electrifying training Kata under the watchful eye of Nevermore the stately raven.

After agreeing to return to the island fortress’ bridge, the group constructed a quick strategy. The stealthier Aspen and Hiro snuck quickly across the bridge, while Valentine and Fuze stood at the ready with their firearms to offer cover-fire.

However in her attempt to close into an advantageous attack position, Aspen was detected by a vicious goblin dog that both attacked her and alerted its pack mates and goblin keepers who were evidently still distracted until then by something else. As Aspen and Hiro began to close in with the dogs and goblins, the party could now see that they had interrupted some cruel goblin game that revolved around kicking a tethered pigeon.

As the two martially trained heroes were swiftly surrounded, they quickly made a real dent into the defending forces. Refocusing the power of one of her blades, Aspen replaced it with a buckler of the same blue pulsing light. The dog that had initiated this battle soon lie bleeding into the field, even as Hiro delivered one of its pack-mates into the surf below with an expertly placed kick.

Attempting to cover their party mates, Valentine and then Fuze began to realize that the piecemeal armor of the goblins combined with the range required them to close ranks with their targets. Just as Aspen and Hiro had cut the ranks by a third, Fuze found that they were now all too close quartered for his meager marksmanship to have any effect instead hefting his musket axe overhead to bring it down on the nearest opponent while Valentine continued to search with intermittent success for weak spots in their enemies’ armored facade.

After a loud, protracted battle the heroes defeated the cliff-front of goblins and hounds. Under the insistence of both Aspen and Fuze any and all unconscious goblin survivors were permanently dispatched, as well as any hounds (despite the conscientious if feeble objections of the monk Hiro ).

Following this brief but necessary extermination duty, Aspen inspected the door to the fort only to find it of similar construction to the makeshift imprisonment of of the last group of goblins. Recognizing this weakness,Aspen burst into the room to find herself immediately engaged by another pair of goblins in piecemeal armor. As she and Hiro engaged the goblins, the gunmen were left without clear targets or shots.

After the brief battle, Hiro continued to explore forward from the entrance. Coming to a single door, he quickly re-shut it after having found a room inhabited by goblin hounds of indeterminate number. Hiro then proceeded down a hallway leading off to the right. Meanwhile Aspen was exploring a doorway leading left from the main entrance. Fuse opted to catch up with and cover Aspen as Hiro’s wanderings had quickly left behind the others. Valentine remained by the entrance ready to lay down cover fire for any of his comrades should they flee quickly for this exit from some discovered enemy.

After Aspen and Fuze had cleared a number of rooms, they heard Hiro’s surprised call just as Valentine had, and the three proceeded quickly to back him up. With a door singled out as having a band of goblins behind it, the heroes spread out down the hallway as if to form a gauntlet for any goblins pouring forth. Aspen designed to open the door, toss in a grenade she purchased in town, and then reseal the door before the explosion. With a skillful flick of her wrist, Aspen tossed the bomb in among the goblins.

After the rumble and goblin screams had passed, Aspen opened the doorway and began to harass the remaining goblins with her reappearing blue thrown blades. After a few such attacks, Hiro caught sight of the front entrance and angered soot-soaked goblins passing in through it. Leaving Valentine‘s expert marksmanship to back up Aspen, Fuze went to the front entrance to serve as Hiro’s cover-fire. However in a moment of spectacular, Fates spat upon fortune, his musket suddenly backfired destroying the axe-musket for either of it’s designated purposes. Left now with only his personal flamethrower, Fuze suddenly found himself naught but an uncommonly short of stature cheerleader for Hiro.

With the armor of his targets eating the majority of his guns’ damage, Valentine found himself in a similar position as Fuze as he backed up Aspen when she continued to clear out the survivors of her grenade.

Just as the last of these goblins was exterminated with extreme prejudice, Nevermore flew away from his battle observations to find roost for the night. Bruised and battered, but thus far triumphant, the heroes rested on their feet imbibing healing potions and taking stock of what stores they have remaining to see what this fort has left in store for them now.

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Taking Thistletop!

~May 21, 2012

Deciding how to proceed, the battle-wounded adventurers took renewed stock of themselves, and decided to press forward. The north wall seemed to have a muffled sound behind it,Aspen proceeding down the northwest passage even as Hiro went down the northeast passage. Valentine moved to back up Aspen as Fuze thought to use some of the discarded goblin weaponry.

Now on the other side of the wall, Aspen was the first to find a door going back South. Breaking in, she found an L-shaped cell containing a single robed humanoid. Introducing himself as Feron, a follower of Gaia, he then used the magical and mundane healing skills at his disposal on the party. Hiro was returned to half of his health’s potency, while Aspen and Fuze were returned to a full and robust countenance.

To their West was a passage that had been hastily boarded shut with a dead goblin laying to both it’s flanks. The beasts were marked in their foreheads by what appeared to be bludgeoning hoof-marks.

The cautious adventures debated simply going past it, but then unwilling to perhaps leave behind another hapless captive Hiro bust down the door. Within they found a bound, frightened horse. With the horse riding members of the party unversed in animal handling, and it being beyond the skills of the Nature priest; the jack of all trades dwarf coaxed the horse into allowing him to unbind it and lead it from the room.

Now at ease with the party, the half-starved beast was secured a grazing spot with access to water by Aspen and Hiro.

Pressing northward led the party down a stairway. After a brief scanning of doorways, one was found to have a strange, otherworldly glow of ominous dimensions. When Feron the druid grasped the door to open it, a charge of unnatural energy shot up into his arm. Going down another passageway by himself again, Hiro took a point blank shotgun blast from an alert goblin. Reeling from this well placed blow, the monk managed to fight back, even as he saw another goblin on an upraised pedestal to his right climb aboard a reptilian mount.

Recognizing his sudden predicament, the monk retreated back into the corridor where Feron waited with a spear turned quarterstaff with which to brain Hiro’s pursuer.

At the same time, Aspen and Valentine had been trading attacks with goblins from a west corridor. Fuze held his action, waiting until Hiro and Feron fled past him clearing the corridor behind them for their pursuers. Taking advantage of this opportunity to prevent friendly fire, Fuze exhausted the contents of his flame thrower into the corridor behind his retreating party members to hopefully have the first blow against any pursuers.

Back within the first room, they all saw Aspen‘s wicked blades cut down the first of the goblin reinforcements from the east. As Valentine’s bullets punctuated the point, a gesticulating goblin warchanter came after toward them, until Fuze lobbed a simple alchemical bomb into it sending it into a tactical retreat to quaff healing potions.

It was then that the now steed-less well armored goblin from the earlier pedestal now was trading blows with Hiro. However, Ripnugget as the adventurers soon learned him to be, found himself alone fighting the precision blows of Hiro, the well aimed shots of Valentine, AND the deadly blades of Aspen all while dealing with the dual distractions of Fuze’ goblin-won shotgun and Feron’s druidic taunting.

Within moments, the party prevailed, binding the defeated warchief in handcuffs. Recalling the warchanter and remaining goblins, Fuze curdled the blood of the remaining goblin forces threatening to slay their now captive warchief; and cowed like any overmatched goblin they fled the keep under the banner of a white flag.

This leaves the party with the infamous goblin warchief, Ripnugget as bound and secure captive, and the remaining mystery of the door pulsing with otherworldly evil.

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Under Thisltletop

The goblin chieftain Ripnugget still in custody, the adventure party was deciding upon their next course of action. The impetuous and heavily active monk Hiro sat in meditation as Aspen stealthily ventured North even as Feron followed her less stealthily. Realizing his own sounds may prove an obstacle for Aspen, the druid blessed her progress and retreated to the others.

As the monk continued to meditate his mental forces elsewhere to assist, Fuze was watching over their captive with an unwavering gaze, even as the expert awareness of Valentine was keeping the multiple paths of entrance and egress in mind.

The fires set by Fuze in a passageway finally burned themselves out. Aspen returned to enlist the dwarf’s expertise with locks and traps to assist her in claiming a large trapped chest. Though she’d recovered a pair of keys and ascertained that one fit, she discerned that it was in fact trapped. Disarming it, Fuze and Aspen drug the chest back to their companions to count the coins and inspect the included items.

Fuze’ natural Dwarven affinity with arms and armor allowed him to see that while finely crafted, the chain shirt and scimitar were otherwise mundane. This was further confirmed when they were included with the other items in the discovered booty that were lain out and traced for magic by Feron‘s spiritual abilities and Hiro’s straight forward magic detection skills. They alighted on two separate items including a silver jackal head and a necklace depicting a angelic female figure that both bore the remnants of magic use but not emanating magical forces themselves.

Choosing to rest up, the heroes took Ripnugget‘s personal quarters with their bound captive as the fully rested Fuze stood guard outside the chamber door. Before entering the room they were greeted by goblin graffiti scenes of crudely drawn goblins performing cruder acts. Some of the party was alerted to the fact that this scene included a goblin figure of much larger scale that seemed to tower over its fellows, and were getting prepared to face a gigantic goblin until Fuze explained to them that in the way of goblin self-aggrandizement that this was in fact Ripnugget’s depiction of himself.

Upon rising from their needed rest, Hiro attempted to intimidate the goblin into revealing all it knew. However, the goblin stood up to the beating and was soon unconscious again. With his particular background with facing goblin-kind before, Fuze was rather certain that Ripnugget truly knew no more; but was all too happy to have Hiro continue to beat him no matter how ineffective it might be. Hiro continued to do just this to the dwarf’s vast pleasure until the frustrated Valentine drew his gun and placed it’s barrel to the deceitful goblin’s brow.

Finally alighting upon the threat and promise combination from Valentine that appealed to the goblin, it informed them that the magic door they’d discovered before in fact belonged to a more powerful being known as Nualia, presumably the female demoness that they had previously viewed multiple depictions of. He went on to explain that the magic door that they’d encountered before would only admit the bearer of the key itself.

At this point, the party chose to store the still bound and wounded goblin leader in the newly claimed chest. They not only locked it, but in fact had Fuze re-engage the simple trap, with Aspen maintaining control of the key.

Mostly together with Hiro in the lead, the group continued to a large door to the West inscribed with hellish images of pregnant humans and humanoid races with ravenous demons bursting from their wombs.

Before tackling this ominous portal, the group agreed that they should first explore the paths to the North and to the South. The ever ready to rush ahead Hiro and Feron ran ahead and encountered the unworldly beast Tentamort…a many tentacled creature with a longer pair of envenomed stinger-bearing tentacles. Lashing out against Hiro the beast managed to stab the monk with one of it’s envenomed barbs.

Hiro then managed to flank the mass of tentacles and deliver two quick blows the the beast all but shrugged off. After running to catch up, Aspen had a chance to release a single glowing blade to strike true, delivering it’s full magical damage to the creature. Valentine as well managed to attack, his shot grazing the beast.

Tentamort then attempted to strike back, missing the evasive monk.

Feron settled into a comfortable and invaluable pattern of using his magical forces to boost and reinvigorate his companions as they took the fight to the creature.

Still flanking the beast, Hiro began truly punishing the beast with the rapidity of his ever sure blows. Aspen‘s magic blade punctuated the monk’s telling strikes, as Valentine managed another glancing shot off it’s pulsing mass. This blow was enough, though Tentamort still managed a parting shot with a tentacle en-wrapping Hiro and bearing him aloft over the sea cliff as it slid into unconsciousness. Feron‘s held buff was replaced with a quick thinking thrust of his quarter staff to be latched onto by the now dropped and falling monk. Between the druid’s heroism, and the monk’s deft reflexes, Hiro evaded the fall and rejoined his now victorious party.

With the druid’s possible misgiving of slaughtering the beast allayed by it’s other-worldly and unnatural existence, Feron took a sample rendered when the multi-talented former grenadier alchemist dwarf rendered usable samples for them both from the now dead tentacled beast.

In the next area, the group found evidence of the creature’s feedings in the form of carcasses missing all of their internal parts seeming digested still within the hapless victims.

Exploring the room beyond the party saw a woman whom they have yet to identify. Who is she? Perhaps more importantly, what is she? Questions beg questions, and it’s not just the scientific mind of the dwarf that needs to have them answered…

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Thistletop, beyond the doors

June 18

The dark human woman(whom with her accompanying accent was most likely of the Varisian sub-category) now was revealed. After a clumsy verbal dance with Aspen and then Hiro, Leafya revealed her name and claimed that she was in these ruins as an archeologist performing a study with her unnamed colleague and their mutual employer. Feron also suggested questions, and attempted to read her spirit and make certain she was not a hellish outer planar being. Finding no fault with the woman, Aspen sternly warned her to stay safely in the room

Rested some and impatient more, our battle tested heroes came back to the doors engraved with disturbing scenes of various humanoid races’ pregnant women with demons bursting from their wombs and devouring them. Within there was an upraised dais with an altar and sacrificial slab upon it at the far end from the eastern door. The pathway between it and the door had obsidian columns down it’s length.

A red light eerily illuminated the whole of the room, casting plenty of shadows within which to hide. After Feron and Hiro left behind the bone strewn slab they returned towards the doors. A snarling yeth hound attacked Aspen from the shadows. As Aspen and Fuze attempted to flank the creature, Valentine moved into position and began firing into the snarling canine. Hiro and Feron had turned from their investigation of the altar and were moving toward the battle with the first yeth hound when a second one seemingly materialized from the red tinted shadow to latch its unforgiving maw around the limb of the monk. His skilled blows enhanced by Feron’s tapping the lay lines, Hiro and the hound waged a bloody battle. With his other companions clustered around the first hound preventing clear shots, Valentine used his fire to support the monk in dispatching the second hound.

When Hiro was about to finish off the first yeth, an arrow pierced him. Originating from outside the hellish portal, the group identified the archer as the bugbear champion Barghetli. Valentine‘s quick gunman eyes identified the sneak-attack specialist and began to return fire. Feron joined Aspen and Fuze against the original yeth attacker. The druid climbed up by a liquid-filled ensconcement in order to attack the yeth hound with his shillelagh as the dwarf continued to plunk away at it with his goblin-won shotgun and Aspen’s flying blades kept cutting its life shorter til it fell from it’s perch against the wall to dissipate like the hound that had battled the monk.

Having survived both unearthly hounds and the cowardly hit and run tactics of the bugbear, Barghetli, the group now determinedly pursued that goblin-loving coward. Turning down an as-of-yet unexplored by them passage to the south, the group proceeded west until it took an abrupt ‘L’-shaped turn. Proceeding the party encountered doors; two to the south, two to the north, and a fifth at the end of the passage.

Carefully and cautiously the group inspected the hall and it’s doors. The first was an empty cell. A second was also unpopulated as well. Behind a third they encountered a slumbering human male. He demanded to know what they were doing and what this was about. After Hiro gave the man the only explanation he’d be receiving and warning him about the dangerous bugbear, this self-proclaimed companion of Leafya was warned to stay put. The group gathered to discuss their next tactic, foolishly clustering.

Huddling now to discuss, the group made an easy target for the Bugbear archer to fire arrows into from around the “L”-shaped corner. Aspen and Hiro sprang into action even as Feron struggled to keep up and empower them to the best of his abilities, before returning to stand with Fuze. Valentine trained his fire on the deadly bugbear…and the female from before, Leafya! She was using magical missiles to assist her bugbear compatriot.

At this point he once-slumbering human made the mistake of announcing his presence to the already alert dwarf, affording his shotgun the first blow. Still being charged, Fuze was forced to go for the blade he still bears. Trading blows as Valentine joined this battle. It was the dwarf-weilded blade that decided the struggle; however the gunman finished the dwarf’s thought for him, delivering the death shot to the now rendered unconscious human male. Every battle now, Valentine grew in Fuze’s esteem.

Suddenly Aspen and Hiro found themselves battling a magically multiplied force of Leafyas as well as her crafty bugbear ally. The monk finally brought low the archer even as Aspen shattered the first and second illusory females. Now the monk joined Aspen in dispelling the ‘reflections’. Her last ensorcelled ‘reflection’ shattered, Leafya soon suffered a similar fate.

Looting the recently defeated opponents, the group gathered what items they could. Then recalling the equipment and magical supplies they’d left in a room with Leafya before, Aspen led a part of the group in retrieving them. It was then that in exploring the room where they’d met Leafya, a passage with stairs going down was discovered.

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Thistletop...completion!

June 25

Descending down the discovered stairwell, the party was confronted by a wide hallway with three recesses in each wall. Within each recess was a statue of a humanoid wielding a glaive with said statues in various states of disrepair. Entering first Aspen and Hiro thought to ask the jack-of-all-trades dwarf to attempt to check the area for traps. As Fuze cleared the first 10 × 10 area though, the party recognized that they were already ahead of the dwarf, and certainly would have already triggered any devices.

At this point Aspen’s keen eyes alighted on the gemstones adorning the brow of each statue and she began gathering them with the assistance of one of her power blades. While she collected these and Fuze fruitlessly cleared the by now by-passed first 10 × 10 area of potential traps, feron inspected the stone glaives of a gem-deprived statue before the party passed through the door at the far east of the hall.

Ten feet into the passage there was a visible line of indentured points in the smooth stone floor with a matching line of such indentures a scant ten feet beyond the first. To either side of this 10 foot square tile of smoothed stone there was a statue matching the six from the hall before. Instead of bejeweled brows this time, the glaives they bore were of a gold hue with sharpened blades.

The ever intrepid and anxious Aspen began to forge ahead, stepping carefully on the smoothed stone floor. Then with a mechanical click the twin glaive blades descended upon her, one actually managing to catch hold of the elusive female warrior. At this point the smooth floor dropped on a hinge to the right, dumping her yet bleeding form 10 feet. Now the twin blades quit their vertical strikes in favor of a sweeping back and forth horizontal path preventing Aspen’s most obvious route of escape from the newly formed pit.

In his understandably frantic if somewhat confused efforts feron began to imploringly pull at and twist the glaives of a statue recently denuded of gems in the hall preceding the trap in an attempt to disengage the dastardly trap. This delusion of assistance was intensified for him as the trap automatically reset itself. The blades had in fact become still after returning to their original positions with the smooth floor returned to position, leaving Aspen’s bruised and bloodied form lying in the 10 foot pit closed in with the remains of the last unfortunate adventurer.

Hiro’s solution was to deftly leap the trapped section of smoothed floor and search ahead for a trap-disengaging device switch. feron chose to utilize his one-time goblin-spear of a quarter-staff to reactivate the trap and braced by the dwarf lower the staff to Aspen. Taking hold the proffered wood, Aspen was pulled to safety by the druid as he managed to avoid the crashing bars from dislodging his grip.

Back before the now closed and reset trapped section of hall, feron,Valentine and Aspen showed off why the goblins distastefully labeled them ‘longshanks’ by leaping the smoothed stone pit as they were now all aware of the sounds of conversation becoming battle from the room to the north where Hiro had entered.

Left behind by his brash companions, Fuze settled back into disengaging the trap of the smooth floored section of hall. Beginning with the glaive blades themselves, his skilled hands performed the unfamiliar task of disengaging the trapping mechanisms. The dwarf then turned his skills towards disengaging the falling bars and finally to preventing the floor from now falling away.

While the jack-of-all-trades enabled his party’s return by the way that they had come, feron,Valentine and Aspen made their way through the now closed door where Hiro had last been seen. Emerging upon a battle now, they recognized the type of creature entangled with the monk as yet another yeth hound. Deeper into the room supporting the other-worldly canine with her spells was the demonic female being the party had come to know as Nualia.

Still valiantly striking the hound, Hiro managed to shrug off the demons’ attempts at enchanting him while his body was still suffering the pain of her magic blows. Focusing their attacks of the hound, Valentine and Aspen joined the fray with feron bolstering them with his spiritual magicks.

Finally satisfied with their route of egress’ safety, the multi-talented dwarf caught up to the rest of the din. Seeing that Valentine’s bullets had fallen prey to a curse from the demoness, Fuze tossed him the goblin-won shotgun with the bag of shells.

However after the scatter-shot gun seemed to be little against her, the gunfighter drew the blade Korovus and pressed the attack. The dwarf recollected the now discarded shotgun even as Hiro skillfully continued to punish the demoness with another flurry of well-placed blows. Aspen’s blades of power continued to find Nualia’s flesh hungrily while feron intensified his party’s striking powers.

Under the intensity of the party’s singularly focused attacks, the would-be dark goddess of Ripnugget and his kin fell dead at their feet.

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Thistletop...returned

July 2, 2012

In the aftermath of Nualia’s defeat the dazed with success party of heroes looked at one another in bewildered indecision about what next to do. After a realistic realization of their wound levels, the heroes chose to rest a three hour span.

Spurred by their nigh indomitable need to further explore, the group crossed the hall to an identical door to that behind which Hiro had found the ill-fated Nualia. To the east was an alcove with a wall of sharp-edged stone “coins.” To the southeast another door.

At this point, Feron argued the need of going into town and resting before continuing their exploration. The inhuman, though not inhumane, druid was met with little opposition from the party. So they gathered any valuables they had accumulated and placed them in the chest where they had been confining Ripnugget, tying off his shackles to the chest’s handles and marched forth from Thistletop to the train station. After a two day wait, a train arrived bearing the heroes and their cargo back to Sandpoint.

Within Sandpoint Fuze and Feron went to the dwarf’s hotel room/makeshift lab to test samples they’d collected, finding that blue fluid to be plain water now and the blood of Nualia they’d collected to be plain old human blood.

Aspen meanwhile had delivered the goblin captive to Sandpoint’s sheriff and the town had swiftly constructed a gallows where Ripnugget was hanged until he was dead, dead, dead.

After the hanging of the goblin warlord, Valentine chatted up the Sheriff discovering Sandpoint’s militia had been re-invigorated with hires from a nearby town since the attack at the glassworks.

After a quick bask in their hard-earned glory the heroic party underwent negotiations selling the unwanted loot for cash enough to re-outfit the party properly before heading back to Thistletop where they proceeded to room with the sharpened stone coins. Here after striking them to no avail, Hiro exasperatedly gave up.

At this point Aspen and Fuze turned their sharper minds to the task at hand. The dwarf’s eye for stonework showed them a coin sized slot carved into the wall of carved “coins”. Aspen inserted a coin, and with large mechanical clicks the wall opened into a larger room with three locked doorways.

Utilizing one of the idols turned keys to open the first, a throne room was revealed. Within it a ghostly form rose from the throne and walked across the dais gesturing and speaking in a forgotten foreign tongue. The multi-talented dwarf managed to piece together that this image was repeating the same segment of an address over and over again: “…is upon us, but I command you to remain. Witness my power, how Alazntsi’s petty wrath is but a flash compared to my strength. Take my final work to your graves, and let its memory be the last thing you…”.

After translating to his companions, and Hiro changing nothing by sitting in the throne with the ghostly image, the group went to the next room. Here they were confronted by worktables with the remains of various projects. One table strewn with the remains of what appeared to be a humanoid with extra limbs where Fuze found an odd device appearing to be a seven pointed gold and silver star with various nodes on one side and handle on the other with a long thin blade protruding.

This device proved to be in the hands of Aspen, the key to the third door. Beyond was a short hall ending in a double door.

Entering this portal the group found beyond it a room with a fiery pit in the middle. As the heroes entered an unearthly voice captured their attention heralding a decayed looking dog headed creature taking shape amongst the looming flames…

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Thistletop...left behind

July 10~

As the heroes prepared themselves to face the hideous form emerging from the flames, Feron scanned the room quickly for a means of assisting, realizing that unfortunately there was an actual fire pit containing the creature between he and Hiro who’d most benefit from his usual building tactics.

Unbeknownst to him or any of the rest of the party, the monk was waging a mental sparring match against the creature, in the end not only defying it but in fact attacking twice in a rapidity that eluded the sight of any watching. However the creature also had to doubt their existence as both ill-fated strike missed the flame shrouded figure.

Second in speed only to the monk’s attacks, the creature’s reprisal did not miss Hiro landing a blow so perfectly place that even the not as martially minded dwarf could marvel in the split seconds as others moved and attacked.

Aspen‘s attack fell third, after she had crossed the width of the room to stand by Valentine in front of the room’s door. End over end her blue glowing blade flew through the air to fail completely to connect with the creature.

Valentine with a single wielded pistol shot became the first to actually damage the beast with an attack. The scoring bullet grazed the beast, but proved that it could in fact be hit; if to a seemingly rather paltry effect.

The druid left behind all traces of self-preservation to sprint around the flame encased hulking creature to deliver Hiro every bit of extra hitting power that Feron had the spell-repertoire available to grant to the monk.

Quickly deciding that the off-chance that the spill-over effects of his grenades effects on his party mates were outweighed by the chance they may seriously disrupt the extra-planar being, Fuze lobbed one of the grenadier style projectiles missing the being altogether.

The greatly pained monk drew upon the renewed hope his attacks would damage the creature now that Feron had boosted them with feline grace. Once…and the immediately again the monk drove his flying fists…into the air where he felt they should be connecting.

To add to his disappointment Hiro found himself once again pierced by one of the beast’s deadly claws. This time however the other found the plant-borne druid to pierce with a precision matched in this battle only by its initial attack on Hiro. Again and again Aspen fruitlessly hurled her glowing blades in an effort to pierce the beast.

Once more in a flanking position the gunman Valentine unleashed a bullet spinning through the air at the being to even less effect this time failing to piece the shadow within the flames.

At this point Hiro made a point to rouse the druid to the seriousness of their situation commanding him to run. Feron answered this selfless direction with his own selfless smiting attack to connect with the fire enshrouded form solidly…again to little effect, though it was over twice the effect of any his party-mates attacks thus far.

This time Fuze’s grenade landed solidly…to either no effect, or worse a welcomed healing effect. And the dwarf despaired of conquering this beast this day.

Awarded two strikes this time due to the party’s moments, the claws of the beast pierced the spry Aspen with amazing effectiveness before delivering the second to lacerate Valentine as well.

Its claws still dripping with the life essence of the two heroes, the beast leaned forward to connect in a scene of spectacular horror it’s gaping, fang-encrusted maw with the green blooded Feron to devastating effect.

Seeing they were no match for such a foe as this, the fleet-footed party one-by-one justified the now dead goblin-warlord’s epithet of longshanks as they fled past the lesser stature of the alchemist. Agreeing with his deserting party’s assessment of the situation, Fuze followed their sure-footed flight from Thistletop as the sole uninjured member of these survivors.

After eliminating the easy passage to the island fortress, the disgruntled and heavily wounded (with singular exception) party made the trip back to the train station dodging their own nagging disappointments and the mocking barbs of their hired hands with equal aplomb for the two seemingly endless days spent awaiting the train to Sandpoint.

Defeated and dejected the party each selfishly squandered the wait and train ride back, neither discussing the event they had just survived nor having the discussion on tactics they all knew they must have to gain any level of effectiveness together.

Arriving back in town, once again the party was split based on what was most important to them each. The dwarf immediately headed to his lab to prepare a new set of tools for future forays. The rest of the group was drawn to a meeting with the Sherriff, no one fetching Fuze at this point, though they did decide to invite along a priestly friend of Feron’s to serve in the druid’s sted.

In the meanwhile, the Archanist dwarf began crafting a new gun, as well as preparing for the assembly of his new Archanist-alchemy bombs, including the foci pendants for his party. Until of course, he was interrupted. Though part of him was so enrapt in his works that he was tempted to simply ignore the knocking and continue his work, Fuze answered his door. There stood a visibly shaken and wan specimen of a human town guard.

“Um…excuse me, but your friends have asked for you to come to the Lumber Mill to help investigate the…um…murder…” he stammering-ly finished even as the dwarf grabbed a tool kit for investigation and instructed the man to ‘lead on.’ On the way, the dwarf managed to get the basics of the case that his party members had managed to ascertain without the dwarf’s skill set.

Arriving on scene, the dwarf quietly noted the druid’s absence and the presence of the human cleric. Noting and then ignoring the sawn in twain human female body, the archanist was much more intrigued with the body of the human male who seemed to have fallen due to deep slashes like the nearby axe would have been capable of. The dwarf’s curious eye caught that the body also bore claw-born gashes..five-fingered human-sized claws that bore the same smell of old death that the axe blade was in fact encrusted with. The smell was strong enough that it was making the humans queasy, and even the scientifically-minded dwarf wanted a good stiff drink.

Leaving the scene in the care of the town guards, the party of heroes turned investigators returned to the jailhouse to speak with Valentine’s friend the Sheriff. As he absorbed what he was being told, the Sheriff recognized that this crime would again require a special skill set. Retrieving a box of tin stars from a shelf, the Sheriff deputized the party giving them the legal recourse to follow this case’s leads where-so-ever in this township they may lead. Despite his official disdain for such titles of office, the dwarf let a tingle of illogical pride ripple through him even as he noted the queasy expression on the gunslinger at having to bear the ‘weight’ implied by this symbol of authority.

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Sandpoint...the mystery deepens

July 16-

Their stars still a-shining, the party of heroes decided to follow the clue lead that took them to the “Old Lighthouse” tower. Here at the remains of the old stone tower the heroes found the individual they had come specifically to speak to; the scholar Brodert Quink.

Finding the wizened archaeologist pouring over inscriptions in the stone, the quickest to speak monk Hiro broke the party’s uneasy silence. Fuze was glad one of the humans finally spoke up, as this far out of Magnimar the dwarf never could be assured of just how the human would react to being addressed by him. Fuze wasn’t so much timid as he was wanting to be certain that the group was able to get all his available information.

As Hiro and Aspen led the man with their questions, Quink told them that the seven pointed star that they had repeatedly encountered was referred to as a Sihedron Rune and that it was a favored symbol in the Thassilon Empire. He went on to inform them that they were ruled by a council of seven mages represented by those points. This civilization that had also crafted this very tower looked to the seven points of the star to represent seven morals as well as the seven classic sins: greed, lust, envy, sloth, wrath, gluttony, and pride.

About the tower in specific, Quink told them that the current locals mostly believed that it was once a lighthouse. However he also postulated that the tower had once been a super weapon of magical power focused on the Thassilonian’s enemies. This theory was of particular interest to Fuze but he was most interested in the magickal theory and practice behind such a massive device. Doubting the existence of any tangible and useful remains that would not require a fully funded excavation team, the dwarf was quite agreeable to the party proceeding back to the Sheriff to touch base.

Reporting their findings to the Sheriff the party of deputies caught him up. He in turn clarified their grasp on their lead to investigate Sandpoint’s first murder in this current series of crimes. He related to his friend Valentine and his companions how one of the two man patrols hired on since the events at the glassworks had been returning from the farmlands when they were accosted by a man coated in blood and bereft of his sanity. Retracing where he had been, the pair found within a nearby barn three butchered bodies and a folded note that the Sheriff now bestowed upon Valentine.

“Messrs. Mortwell, Hask, and Tabe – A deal has come about that I need capital in. It involves property and gold and though I am not at liberty to tell you the exact details, it will make us all rich. Come to Bradley’s Barn on Cougar Creek tonight. We can meet there to discuss our futures. —-Your Lordship”

The Sheriff went on to explain that although the bodies were mangled beyond identification, the note and other evidences helped the investigators ascertain the three corpses in fact belonged to the three individuals named within the note. He went on to include that the men were not noticed as being missing any sooner than they had been as the men had been known locally as ne’er-do-wells, always looking for another way to get coin. The lunatic who had led them to the carnage was actually admitted into the local sanatorium.

Said asylum was actually the direction of the party’s next best lead. By the time the group had reached the sanatorium out past the farmlands, Father Derbin had caught up to the rest of the party.

Hiro and a couple of his party members tried varying attempts at diplomacy or intimidation on the unwilling to cooperate caretaker when Valentine‘s stern presence shot through this [Habe]’s natural resistance to allowing the deputies in to interrogate his inmate. He led them across the nigh-immaculately kept room muttering about the experimental treatments that he had been busy in the process of administering. The dwarf noted to himself how very like a scientist this fellow spoke of his charges with a tone simultaneously detached and almost protectively ‘affectionate’ (an attitude the dwarven arcanist well recognized as a fellow experiment-minded scientific mind).

Following Habe up the narrow staircase to the cells on the second floor, they were directed to the madman’s small cell. Hiro took the lead with Valentine right behind ready for whatever may yet come up around to the small corner cell.

When this man of obvious Varisian stock, Grayzt Savilla as he was known, had been coaxed from his corner to speak to the party through their self-appointed mouth-piece Hiro, he immediately collapsed into a series of rantings including, “Razors, RazoRs, RaZoRs…too many teeth!! The Skinsaw man is coming…Making a place for YOU!!” And at this last identifier pronoun he locked his bloodshot crazed eyes in recognition on none other than Valentine who had simply been standing guard behind the monk.

Hiro futilely tried to regain the lunatic’s attention and was ‘rewarded’ for his efforts with a now spiked tongue-tentacle flying from the frothy mouth of the inmate to solidly strike the mere mortal monk that stood between him and the gunslinger. Though the blow was easily shrugged off by the martial artist, he recognized this being’s evil intent for he and his party and immediately began to return the strikes with his own unarmed attacks and the always aware and seldom surprised Valentine leveled his firearm on this beast that somehow knew him.

At this sudden flurry of activity, Aspen and the priest tried to position themselves along the narrow corridor to be able to assist the monk and the gunslinger now. The dwarf however recognized that there’d be no way for him to offer any direct assistance in the tight quarters jamb-packed with all those “”/campaign/legends-of-inner-sea/wikis/longshanks" class=“wiki-page-link”>longshanks" and instead focused his scientist’s gaze on the sanatorium’s warden, Habe standing back too near the cells on the wall opposite his combat-engaged companions for Fuze to not be suspicious of the man’s sudden seeming lack of concern for one of his test-subject’s system integrity.

Valentine fired what must have been a warning shot just missing the man in an attempt to steal the madman’s attention, and almost faster than the eye could follow, Hiro’s lightning fast strikes found their destinations again and again as the monk withdrew through the celldoor that the gunman now pulled shut giving Grayst a chance for a last unproductive lunge at Valentine.

As the heroes now caught both their breaths and their calm, Habe sprung into action ushering the party from his now upset house of lunatic subjects. Once outside on their way to the crimescene Bradley’s barn, in way of explanation, Valentine handed Hiro a folded note that addressed the gunslinger as a ‘Master’ in much the same manner of the note retrieved from the barn of carnage by the Sheriff’s men upon first exploring the crime scene they’d been led to by Grayst. It was signed in the same hand by the same individual refering to themselves as “Your Lordship.”

Passing along the same Cougar Creek road back to town that the new-hired guards had encountered Grayst on, the deputized party searched the Bradley barn for any clues left behind by the Sheriff’s crime scene investigators. Even with their formidable skills of inspection and observation the party failed to find anything other than blood stains in various areas of the barn.

Absorbing all that they now knew, including the personal connection obviously held by the gunslinger, the party quietly proceeded back into Sandpoint main.

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