Outcasts of Might and Magic and Righteous Revenge

The Spring Festival, Part 2
The Pit Is Grand

On the Way    

    The party is on its way to the Spring Festival. The Pit is on the third level of Fortissa Mal, a getaway for middle class families and way for poorer citizens to gain some fame, capital, and social mobility. Bejak is on his way to peruse the festival shops and also hires two dudes to cart Brew's pumpkin. Brew has given Gilligan the air breathing potion so it's doing fine I guess. Through Wave Brew encourages Gilligan. 

    Sin is decked out and turning heads, and there are many whispered opinions both good and bad around her. She's making the impression she desires.

    The rest of the party arrives and it's a mass of people and festivities. Before long, there is an announcement for all plants to be submitted.

Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin

    There are many interesting plants being displayed. A bunch of plants and stuff, nothing standing out apart from this ridiculous magically grown gourd with vines that sprouted pears at the end. It looked like a beholder!

    The judge approaches brew's pumpkin and is legitimately impressed with its size. Brew encourages the judge to lean in and smell the pumpkin. Intrigued, the judge does so. As he leans in, Brew quickly and stealthily blows some cinnamon on the judge's nose. The judge's eyes widen and is super impressed. Pumpkin spiced pumpkin! It's a riot. 

    First place went to the beholder gourd and with it a parcel of land. Second place went to the Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin and with it a bag of magical beans. 

Animals

    There was an impressive potbellied pig and a miniature owlbear. Adorbs.

    Brew shows off Gilligan to the judge. He is able to communicate with Gilligan and has him flap once for yes and twice for no. Gilligan literally flaps on the ground and breathes normal air. In the end, he doesn't place. Gilligan is upset.  

    Sin presents her dead cat, and quickly transforms it into allosaurus. Not just any allosaurus, an allosaurus covered in portobello mushrooms! She offers the judges a pregrilled bunch of mushrooms and they are taken with it all.

    The mushroom allosaurus takes first place, the owlbear second, and the potbelly pig third. 

Archery

    A voice rings through the crowd and calls Pit participants down to the Hypogeum. A short elevator ride later and the archery participants are below the pit in locker rooms. The archers are called in and ride the elevator up. There, Sabel accosts Vanir for being a cheat. Vanir is insulted but is unable to convince Sabel otherwise. The ride up finishes and the portcullis reveals the Pit. 

    There's a respectable crowd as the archers file in. A man dressed in a velvet doublet, slicked back black hair, a thin mustache, and a respectable air about him stands up and greets the archers and the crowd. The man is Isilmore Baroque, the elected official at the top of The Pit. With a few words of welcome, the archery competition begins. 

    Sin is in the stands waving a giant handwritten sign, "VANIR IS #1." When she sees Breena come out, she quickly scribbes, "Breena, too" beneath it. 

    The first target is at 30 feet. Vanir has no issue sinking three arrows into the center circle. Breena follows suit. Sabel misses the bullseye on her second arrow but still scores highly enough to advance.

   The second target weeds out a few of the less talented participants. At 120 feet most regular archers are challenged. Breena and Vanir are not regular archers. Triple bullseyes no problem. Sabel steps up, takes on the challenge, and sinks three arrows center target no problem. 

    At the third target only our named three remain. 300 feet is a feat of great skill. Vanir steps up and misses the first arrow, sinks the third center on, and chips the third. Breena misses her first but sinks center her second two. Sabel checks out her competition, takes her stance, and confidently sinks three arrows at 300 feet. She takes her prize with her head held high as our heroes get their smaller payouts. Sabel won't forget this. 

Magical Prowess

    The magicians are called to the Pit by Isilmore and it's a mix of home grown hobbyists and full blown Scholar wizards. Sin manages to stand out among the other many colored robes in her hot pink dress. Only one other wizard stands out, an Evoker by the name of Dise. Her sapphire robes cover her numerous runic tattoos and her green eyes scan the crowd with delight. 

    The first round consisted of a competition to create the most extravagant display. Many of the other wizards did little displays of fire or illusions of woodland creatures. Dise steps forward and puts them to shame, creating pillars of ice and melting them with firestorms and summoning thunder clouds to accent the action.  

    Sin creates a crazy display of woods and gore. SIN PLEASE FILL THIS IN.

    The second round is to find a magical needle in a pit's worth of hay. Sin turns on her eye's xray vision and detects magic her way straight to the needle. Fast and efficient. The next guy doesn't have the xray vision so he fumbles about and looks silly as he detects his way to it. Dise blazes the hay away and picks up a clean needle. Other probationers blow the hay away or fill it with water or otherwise make magical fools of themselves. The judges conclude this round with Dise and Sin as the winners.

    The third round is a magical duel. The two line up and let loose their magic. Dise chain lightnings Sin directly who absorbs the blow and fires back with a stream of pure sunlight that deeply burns Dise. Dise steps back and raises a defensive wall of ice, hoping the gain the upper hand. Sin summons pillars of bones that crush the ice wall and push Dise against her own ice wall. The judges call it and Dise falls to the ground, crushed but quickly healed by the Pit healers. 

    Sin is crowned the magical winner and Dise takes second place. Dise won't forget this, and walks away from the torn pink dress and broken stilletos clad Sin. 

Acrobatic Maze

    Breena, Sin, and a handful of other sneaky and fast looking individuals file into the Pit. A maze is raised from the ground and is filled with magical darkness and traps of many kind. The target is in the middle of the maze, a statue of Tyr. Ready, set, go!

    The first few twists and turns are in magical darkness. Breena memorizes the layout well enough to intuit her way sprinting through the darkness. Sin's Eye gives her truesight so this was a joke. The sound of a few splats weed out the less coordinated of the competitors.

    The next challenge is a long set of swinging axes. Breena is able to acrobatics her way around them like its no problem. Sin takes a long jump and tumbles her way past the last one. A few more competitors are cut up but immediately patched up by the medics. 

    Lasty is a pit of spikes after which is a long drop into the hypogeum. Breena sprints and uses her Cloak of the Bat to fly over the pit after jumping across the spikes. Sin turns into a bird and begins flying. The third competitor makes it across the spikes but plummets down into the pit after a misstep. Breena just barely outspeeds the bird and takes the statue.

The Champion's Bracket

    To be completed 

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The Spring Festival Part 1
A Month To Prepare

Setting the Scene

    Fortissa Mal is a few weeks into recovering from a domestic terrorist attack. House Justice was infiltrated by the Calamand and his new Alhoon friends. Using an Orb of Enfeeblement, they sought to mind control the entirety of Fortissa Mal. The party interrupted the ritual, knocked Justice's head of command Ozar out of the spell, and put everything back in other, though they were unable to capture the Alhoon behind the ritual of get ahold of Calamand. 

    Fortissa was due for some R&R. Good thing it's time for the Spring Festival!

    Brew stole Ozar's family greatsword, rune enctrusted and everything, and Ozar wants it back. Brew receives a letter from Ozar, inviting him to the Champion's Bracket. Ozar believes he is unworthy of his family's blade and challenges Brew to glorious combat in the featured tournament. If Ozar wins, he gets the blade. If Brew wins, he gets to pick one weapon from the recovered House Justice armory. The tournament would be held at The Pit in a month's time, the crowning event of the Spring Festival. 

    Nilonim, the deliverer of the letter, alerts the party that there are other events to register for at the Festival! Here's the breakdown:

Showing off some fresh produce: Brew and Sin

Showing off some fresh animals: Sin and Brew

Archery: Vanir and Breena

Magical Prowess: Sin and Brew

Sneaking/Acrobatic Gauntlet: Breena and Sin

    The party has four weeks to prepare, so this is what they did.

Week 1

    Brew goes to the riverbank topside where there looks to be some good soil and begins to round up fish with Wave. He is looking to be the first to bring a fish to the Animal competition. While he is messing around, Sin comes by and offers to help him grow some huge pumpkins, too. Does anyone care that it's spring? Hell no. Some druidic recombination magic later and we got pumpkins growing to be large by the time of the Festival. +3 Bond.

    Sin, after helping out Brew, asks Bejak for a dress that'll really dazzle a certain somebody. Bejak says he knows a great tailor in Waterdeep and he'll be certain to get her pink sparkly dress in order.

    Breena asks Bejak for equipment that'll help her sneak and shoot. She's the reigning champion of the acrobatic exhibition and she wants that sweet sweet edge. 

    Vanir goes to practice his archery. It's a pretty great time, and he starts to expand his natural range. 

Week 2

    Brew asks Bejak for a potion of air breathing. This is a weird request, but how else is he going to get his fish to market? Water tanks are for losers. He also asks for a tophat he can attach to his basket. It's a riot. He also goes to buy an acre of land so he isn't squatting near the riverbank. Brew is officially a landowner of Fortissa Mal. The pumpkins are really growing.

    Sin receives her dress, and it is hot pink dragon scale slit up the leg masterpiece. It shimmer and damn near glows in the bioluminescent lighting of the underground city. Also she can be spotted from a mile away. She tries to change in the middle of the tavern but Bejak convinces her to shower first. It is literally a first for her. It's a riot. Sin also tries to follow Nilohim from the bar once to figure out where he goes all the time. Sin has the Eye of Vecna, but the party refused to give her the hand for fear of the power getting to her and the world. Nilonim leads her down a dark alley and confronts her, and Sin comes clean about wanting the hand and wanting to infiltrate unbending Tyr. Nilonim offers her a deal: push to get close to Calamand, and the hand is on the table. Sin takes the deal.

    Breena gets an Eagle Bow from Bejak that will allow her to not be at a terrible disadvantage at the longest distances in the archery competition. She also starts to spread rumors about Vanir and how he cuts opponent's arrows to cheat at competitions. The soldier archer Sabel Page hears about this and takes it to heart, looking forward to winning the archery competition regardless of her opposition.

    Vanir continues to practice at his camp. It goes well, but he feels he is reaching a plateau.

Week 3

    Brew is feeding his now giant fish, and Wave is thrilled to be so close to water all the time. Dawnbreaker is subdued next to Wave's religious enthusiasm. But Gilligan the fish is getting by just fine. And that pumpkin though! It's a riot.

    Sin goes to a meeting of the Tyr is a god of unbending justice branch of House Justice. She is looking to infiltrate them for her own reasons. The meeting is at night and there a man with a tattoo of Tyr's hammer slamming down tells them that it is the time for civil unrest. Take back the streets for Tyr and be ready next week for a meeting with Brother Calamand, the upright citizen that will cleanse it all. She leaves with a plan to get near Calamand.

    Breena tries her hand at practicing some archery, but doesn't really get anywhere. She also tries to spy on Vanir and mess with his arrows. She does, but Vanir figures it out immediately and goes to buy new arrows. 

    Vanir's practicing doesn't improve in any significant way. 

Week 4

    Brew is now ready with Gilligan and his waist high pumpkin. It's a glory to behold as he settles into his carpet on a hill. He's stoked.

    Sin goes to the meeting with Calamand. Calamand is looking a little paranoid as he preaches about the unclean city dwellers and encourages the Brothers and Sisters to attack Ozark at the Festival. Sin steps forward and claims that she has a man that can take down Ozar in the bracket. Calamand is interested and looks forward to the encounter. He disbands the meeting and tells the followers to meet the day after the meeting to debrief. Sin sprints to Brew, wakes him up on his carpet, and tells him that he's gotta win. It's super important. 

    Breena meets with Bejak who has procured a stealthy suit of leather, but it is cursed so she puts off using it for the meet. Her practice goes well and she is dialed in and ready for the competition.

    Vanir makes a breakthrough and gains the sharpshooter feet, allowing him pinpoint accuracy at an extreme distance.

    Onto the Festival!

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A Long Break: Write Highlights
This Was Harder Than I Thought It Would Be

Mark down highlights of previous adventures you remember. 

Glabagool, like that guy is so cool

Capra passed away, that was crazy.

 

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Sunless Citadel Finale: The Grove Floor Part 2
Belak's Bad Day

Ever Woken Up After Nearly Dying?

    The party wakes/untrances/stops studying and gets ready after their no good exploding day. The knocking at the door has gone down to a pathetic pace, clearly the work of an exhausted yet compelled party. The party goes out the door they came in and tries to loop around behind whoever is at the door.

    The end of the hallway opens up to a large cavern lit by fungus and covered in briars. They are difficult to move through without incurring some damage so the party takes it carefully. They see the three goblins that were at the door, still knocking, and try to sneak past but to no avail. "Hey, you! After them!" Nox speaks up, "We don't want to fight. Just show us where Belak is and we'll go." The goblins scoot around the perimeter and positions themselves southerly. "No way, you gotta stay here!" The party thinks a moment, and tries to make a show of giving in. "Okay," Nox continues, "We'll stay. Can you meet us here in a day to take us to Belak?" A good social roll later and the goblins agree, receding into the briars and saying, "Tomorrow, here!" They wait until the goblins are no longer visible and continue south. 

    The cavern is difficult walking. In the distance is barely visible a twisted tree-like shape, clearly the Gulthias tree. Erky exclaims, "There it is! We must hurry and kill it!" His voice is rewarded with a silent smack from a nearby twig blight. Erky fires back and combat ensues. Fire, necrotic energy, and scared flames fill the dark of the cavern. Tol stares intently at approaching blights. More and more crawl out of the briar but the party is able to rebuff them. It was quite a display. Onward they go. 

    The party approaches what look to the ruined walls of some rectangular building long destroyed. In the center of the clearing is the Gulthias tree, flanked by three human figures. One brown robed druid stands in the middle, beckoning to the party, the man and woman to his right and left featuring skin that looks like the bark of the tree behind them. The man in the middle shouts, "Stop, you know not what you do! I am Belak, the outcast who dared to dabble a power stronger than myself!"

    Capra steps forward, "What's going on with those two?" She motions toward the man and woman near Belak. "They have been taken by the Gulthias tree and have been reborn anew. They now serve the tree and attend to its whims with me. We are here to spread the tree to every corner of the earth. You would be useful as compost, but perhaps you would like to join in service of the tree?" Capra, seeing an opportunity, agrees to be transformed. "Wonderful, lay by the tree and let it engulf you completely. Your pain will be minor as the hours long process undergoes." As Capra is rethinking her deceit, Erky explodes into an unintelligible mess of prayer and exclamation about Sune and beauty and whatever. The DM really dropped the ball there.

    Nox tries throwing the weird potions that fuses you with a twig blight potion at Belak but unfortunately the man with a shield is able to bat the projectile out of the way. So, the spells begin to fly. Belak now has barkskin and woman dressed in finery steps forward to miss whatever spell she fired at the party. They notice a ring on the woman's finger, identifying her as Sharwyn Hucrele, the other missing sibling. Belak shouts, "Braford defend the tree!" The once paladin runs forward, brandishing his blade. Erky steps forward to take an action but is met by Belak's pet giant front. It immediately swallows him, and Erky struggles to free himself. Capra starts firing firebolts and Nox misses some guiding bolts. Tol spots the black fruit of the tree and prepares to jump.

    One mental realignment later Tol has grabbed the fruit from its place 30 feet up the tree. Midair, he turns Ogre and lands behind Belak, pushing him forward. Braford steps forward to deflect Tol's might blows and returns with one of his own. Braford's sword smashes into Tol's body with a deafening thud and rocks fly from Tol's body. Capra gets wise and targets the tree with a rain of fire,  doing massive damage and drawing Belak's ire. "What have you DONE?" 

    Sharwyn misses another spell, Belak attempts to entangle Nox and Capra's copies of herself but fails, Braford keeps targetting Tol. Poor Erky crawls out of the frog just to be swallowed again. Sharwyn's magic missiles get absorbed by Capra's on reaction shield, but are then twisted by wild magic and launched even stronger at the frog, killing it and freeing Erky. Nox unfortunately has trouble with landing guiding bolts and switches to swinging her scythe.

    Erky is free at just the right time to see Tol pound his arm into the tree, and Capra to launch a burning Chromatic Orb right at the three, finally cutting through and crashing it down, burning completely. Belak screams in frustration as Braford, Sharwyn, and Nox finish him off, once and for all. Braford and Sherwyn both still have the bark skin though, and continue the fight.

Cleaning Up

   Braford meets his demise at a raging ogre sized hit from Tol's arm. Just before dying, he is able to mutter to Tol, "Keep my sword." So Tol takes up the sword and is struck by its innate power. Sharwyn is able to break free of the corruption long enough to tell the party to kill her and bring her ring back, as there's nothing she can do now. Nox hatches a plan. With one hand she snuff's Sharwyn's life, and the other she revivifies her on the spot. The bark skin crumbles away and she is free of the tree's influence. 

    Erky, having completed Sune's calling, feels a surge of new power. As Capra and Nox bicker over reviving Braford or not, Erky walks over and brings him back himself. Barely able to stand, Braford begins the journey back with Erky and Sharwyn. The party follows suit, but not before looting Belak's body for a wand, some scrolls, and some potions. 

    The journey back is slow. Along the way they meet Calcryx one final time. She speaks to Nox, thanking her for the food and the good time. She begins to leave and says, "I'll remember you," and is gone. 

    The rest of the journey is quiet, and the trip up in a bucket to the Yawning Portal is as chill as a trip in a really big bucket can be. The party is met with murmers of a dragon flying through the tavern, and a worried woman who asks them about the Hucrele children. Once Erky brings the rescues forward, Sharwyn thanks the party once again and asks them to stay until her mother thanks them properly. The rescue crew leaves, and the party gets to settle into a victorious night at the Portal. 

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Sunless Citadel: The Grove Floor Part 1
The Party's Bad Day

Landing 

    The party must climb down the vine covered eighty foot hole in the middle of the goblin chief's room in order to get to Belak's grove. Tol drops the green torch, sees it disappear, and begins to climb down. Capra revs up for an acrobatic dive, begins to plunge into the dark depths, and is caught by Nox. A wordless reprimand later and Nox is climbing down the vines with Erky. Capra attempts a stylish dive again, succeeds, and is able to slide down the vines the way she intended. 

    Calcryx is satisfied with killing off the goblins, and takes bits of her frozen enemies back to her comfort space. 

Hobgoblins Suck

    The large, rough room below is host to more glowing fungus and scrubby looking vegetation. There are two skeletons with shovels pushing a wheelbarrow of soil, tending to the plants. Tol is at the west wall doing his best rock impression (it's amazing) while Capra and Erky approach the skeletons. "Hey, how's it going?" asks a friendly Capra. Unfortunately, Skeletons are not friendly. Before they can lunge at her with their shovels, Erky holds up his amulet of Sune and prays, sending the skeletons running in terror. Cleaning up the skeletons is an easy job for the party, and slew of psychic force and cantrips takes them out.  Tol begins to come back to the middle of the room where Nox is standing, but he is stopped by the sound of an aggressive whooshing.

    A twig blight emerges from the shrubbery, indistinguishable from the plants around it. Tol breaks its entire body with a swing from his mace arm. A little closer and another blight takes a swing at Tol, chipping a little away. Just as the party takes this blight out, they hear a booming war cry in goblin and the skittering of giant rats. "Balsag hunt you now!"

    Balsag's hunting rats immediately take to Tol as the hunter himself turns to face Capra. Nox does her best to help Tol with the rats and is able to split one of them nearly in half with her scythe. Tol disengages with the other rat and turns to face Balsag. Both Capra and Nox are firing spells at Balsag, but he is deftly shrugging them off, adjusting their arcs with his shield as he approaches Capra. He then advances on Erky and hits him with a massive swing from his morningstar. Erky crumbles, cracks, and goes under as Balsag turns to face Capra. 

    He throws a javelin that catches Capra's side, inducing panic in the poor satyr. Her next spell triggers a reaction and Capra is left resisting the effects of a Polymorph spell, doing her very best to not bleat through the sheep's form she's been given. Balsag misses the half transformed Capra with his morningstar. Finally, he falls to a fully not sheep Capra and Nox's spells, with a bit of sacred flame thrown in. Tol makes sure to mind thrust the escaping rat. Can never be too sure. Nox rushes over to Erky, on his last leg, and revivifies him. "Wow, I thought that was it, thank you." He looks up at Nox with a mixture of gratitude and fear. 

    Some healing and planning later, the party travels south down a hallway. They reach a sudden drop in the ground, and it looks like the hallway was torn in two and a rift left in the division. The scar is only two feet lower than the hallway but is filled with two foot diameter holes in the ground. It is possible to walk, though Capra does try to see if these holes have a bottom. She is able to shove in most of her leg before she decides there simply isn't a bottom. The party finds the hallway and continues south.

Dragon Skelly Hands

    A locked stone door bars the party from continuing forward. Strength checks galore! Tol is able to shove the door off its hinges and it falls inward, revealing a square room with statue of rusted iron depicting an upright dragon holding a metal tray in its mouth. The party investigates the room but finds nothing but the statue, so Capra climbs up on top of it. Upon the plate, written in much newer carving than any other they have found so far, carved in Draconic reads, "Something of wind and rot." The party quickly figures out it may be referring to the Nightcaller whistle, so Capra blows it  and places it on the tray.

    The room shakes intensely, and skeletal hands sprout from the base of the statue, reaching up all around it. As the shaking stops, the hands rest upon the statue, looking like they are trying to pull the statue into the ground. Nothing else happens. I guess its time to leave the room!

Fire Snek

    At the scar again, the party decides to go left and see how far it goes. They come upon a room with one of the many holes glowing red. As they approach it, a Fire Snake slithers out and takes a bite at Tol. That bite misses, but the tail follow up connects and leaves a flaming mark on Tol. 

   Too bad it's only one snake. It's dangerous, but the party takes it out without too much fanfare. There were two sapphires in the snake's hole, so they took 'em.

Murder in the Lab

  The party follows the scar northeast and ends up in an empty lookin' room. It opens up into a hallway with more dragon marble statues for pillars, but also covered in vegetation gathered from what the party gathered was nearby and many tools to examine it. Capra is able to put together another healer's and herbalism kit at Nox investigates some snoring she hears from the northwest room.

    Inside are two sleeping rolls filled with singular goblins. Capra raises her scythe and executes one of them. She quickly grabs the other in chokehold and asks, "Where is Belak." The goblin, terrified beyond its wildest nightmares, chokes out, "East and north, follow the hallway." Nox runs him through, dumps the body, and leaves the room. Blood pools as she closes the door, and terrified goblin commoners sprint out from the room across the hallway. Tol investigates that room only to find rancid goblin wine. Ew.

    The northmost room houses goblin commoners that were repairing some cruddy clothing. Nox runs these through, too. The southmost room has a warrior and two commoners looking over a giant rat with woody fibers growing all over it. Nox and crew take out the warrior, steal a crystal flask of potion which the commoners tell them turns living beings into part blight, and then Nox runs them through. Can't let the goblins run off and inform Belak. That's the way.

Gardens and Shadows

    The northeastern room has a collection of beat up weapons, and the way forward. East and north, as the now dead goblin said. The way opens up into a large room with more glowing fungus and vegetation resembling that found in the lab. There are many doors to other sections to the east and south, but the part goes north. 

    They find a bugbear woman trimming underbrush with a long scythe-like like instrument. They try to talk her down, tell her Belak sent them, but she remains utterly unconvinced. After all, there's only one path to Belak and it's through her. They end up magically putting her to sleep and shove her in an adjacent room before continuing north.

    The north door leads to a room with more concentrated growth, a garden of sorts. All pale and sickly looking. They pass through uneventfully to a clean, dark hallway opening into a room with another dragon statue in it. Its eyes glow red and there is a darker stone in front of it in the shape of a circle, with draconic runes on its right. Just as the party approaches to read it a shadow slithers out from behind the dragon statue and attacks Capra.

    It's never able to quite connect a hit on the party, though Nox certainly does. He scythe sinks in, but feels like it does not do the cutting damage she is used to doing to other living things. Fire and mind thrusts ensue, and here Erky shines. Literally. His sacred flame causes the shadow immense pain and eventually brings it down in a radiant display. "Sune's will, right?" 

    Tol stands on the circle and reads the draconic aloud, "Let the sorcerous power illuminate my mind." A puff of harmless flame engulfs Tol, and suddenly he's a chatterbox. He feels social, more than he has ever in his entire life. Nox is already over it, and is checking for treasure. She finds a loose stone behind which are some health potions and scrolls. Good find.

    The party continues north to the sound of Tol's prattling. 

Maybe Books are the Actual Evil

    The party encounters a crumbling library and gets to work. They find a scroll of fireball, Melf's acid arrow, and a book of draconic lore worth 150g-ish according to Erky. Nothing else is worth keeping, so the party continues down the stairs under the northern garden and into a long hallway. They able to bust another door off of it's hinges and end up in what looks like a private study. Papers cover a large desk, and the north and east walls feature large bookcases. The floor is also covered in soil. 

    The records seem to contain tables of growth and the passage of seasons. Some searching reveals a scroll of entangle, cure poison, and a book of druidic lore worth another nice sum. Nox also finds another book titled Treasures of the Fire Lords. As she opens it, she triggers a glyph and an explosion of cold envelops the room. After the dust settles, only Nox is left standing, barely. She administers as much healing and stabilization as she can and gets Capra and Tol ticking again somehow. Erky is barely stabilized and the party digs in for the long night.

    The fleshies sleep and Tol regains consciousness to find Nox copying spells from scrolls into her grimoire. Soon after they hear goblins outside the door to the south, then knocking, then more knocking, then some screaming. Somehow Capra doesn't wake. Probably all the near death. The knocking begins to slow down and is now pathetic as the party gets its full rest.

Oh boy. 

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Sunless Citadel: Clearing the First Floor Part 4
The Rise of Calcryx

Sleepy Time for the Squishies

    The party settles in for the night. Tol is at the door doing his guarding thing, Nox is copying spells into her spellbook from all those scrolls they collected, and Calcryx is dragging frozen chunks of kobold into the room for a breakfast before settling down next to Tol for the night. As Capra rolls out her bedroll for the night, everyone is reminded that Erky does not have a bed roll, or any possessions really. Out of the reluctant kindness of her goat heart, Capra allows Erky to share a bedroll with her. Erky is beyond thankful, and settles in as co-ed as he possibly can. Neither Nox nor Tol get what the deal is, but whatever. They get a chuckle out of seeing Capra sleep-kick Erky onto the floor anyway.

    Morning comes, Capra shares a ration with Erky, Calcryx devours the slightly defrosted pieces of kobold, and the party is ready to rock. Pun unintended, Tol.

Marching on Goblinville

    The kobold camp is completely scattered. Any kobolds corpses left behind have been gathered up by Calcryx and frozen into a food stash near her original cage. The goblins Tol didn't free from the Kobold prison are in there, too, frozen solid. The party marches past the main hallway into the fortified hallway between the kobold encampment and Goblinville. 

    The hall features a spike pit with two goblins and one of the elite kobolds (that Nox scared into a frenzy) in the pit, dead. The party listened at the next door and heard four goblins guarding the room. The party burst through the door, firing bolts, flames, and limbs at the goblins. Calcryx steals the show with another icy blast and the goblins are dispatched. The party moves through the room and ends up in the smoky hallway where they last were dragging Calcryx the day before. 

    The sounds of nervous goblin life carry down the hallway from the west, toward Goblinville. It seems as though the kobold panic put the goblins on high alert. The party sneaks around a northern hallway, encounters a locked door, and turns south to face Goblinville proper. They encounter a large rectangular room with a high ceiling, illuminated by glowing purple fungus. Before the party is a large group of goblin commoners, who panic at the sight of the large party and sprint for the eastern door. Among the crowd are five warrior goblins, advancing on the party. Nox summons a spider web to ensnare the warriors, and Calcryx follows up with yet another full blast of icy breath. Three of the five Goblins are dead where they stand.

    Nox, Erky, and Tol easily dispatch the remaining warriors and assess the room. The room would be completely rectangular had there not been a circular base of a tower to their left. The goblin commoners have all left and the sounds of their panicked running is fading. A huge pile of items taken from prisoners is against the southern wall. The party pokes through the pile. Capra finds a poisoner's and healer's kit among the tribal equipment. Nox scores herself a fine agate statue of Corellon Larethian (30 gp). There's also a chain shirt that they try to put on Erky, but it's way too big. To the door of the circular room!

Suddenly, a Betrayal

   The door is barred and the sounds of two humanoids bleed through the doorway. There's no time to waste, Erky needs to get down to the grove level and the way is behind that door! Capra launches a surprisingly effective firebolt at the stone door, and it comes loose off its hinges. One of the guards holds up the door and props it against the frame, but a deep voice belows from behind him, "To arms! We fight for our home right here, right now!" The door drops, revealing four hobgoblins, one of which is standing at his throne, and a small goblin dressed in shaman gear. The chief at the throne stands tall and composed in his plate armor, barking orders at the other three hobgoblins. 

    Spells begin to fly through the doorway as the closest party members fight the hobgoblins. Calcryx finds a moment in the panic to breathe icy death upon the melee enemies and they freeze to death where they stand. Durnn turns to the shaman and yells, "Grenl, cast something!" Grenl, in open mockery of the chief, turns to the party and casts thaumaturgy, "SOMETHING!" The chief and remaining hobgoblin guard are stunned, and Grenl continues, "This is all your fault! You tore my tribe apart and took control, and now you are the reason our people run screaming down the halls! Now it's my turn to make things right!" She thrusts her wand forward and sprays poison in the chief's direction, missing her shot.

    Invigorated by this turn of events, Capra steps forward into the room and casts the coldest chromatic orbs she's got. It soars over the opening in the middle of the room and hits the chief dead on, obliterating him. Grenl looks at the stump where moments before stood Durnn and shouts at the top of her lungs, "YEEEEEEEEEEEES! This is what you get!" Calcryx quickly takes out the other hobgoblin and the party turns to Grenl.

    "Please, let me go. I only want to care for my tribe. Everything has been going so wrong, I know we can do better." Erky steps forward, "What about the Gulthias tree?" Grenl grimaces, "It was a source of income for us but it's all yours if you go below and confront Belak. He tends to the three, and he has been having us send prisoners to him. But I have never felt well about that business." The party decides to let Grenl go, after having her swear to never return here again. Erky chimes in, "That was fantastic! Now we won't have to deal with any more of them as we go down!" The party turns to the well in the center of the room, and see thick vines good for climbing leading down into the darkness below.

    Calcryx begins to gather up her trophies, dragging the frozen bodies outside the room. 

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Sunless Citadel: Clearing the First Floor Part 3
Old Magic Is Weird

The Dragonpriest's Chamber

    Dust. Dust everywhere. So much dust. Every room behind that locked door is filled with dust. It's so stale and dusty. Good thing only half of the party has to breathe.

    The first room behind the door features a bunch of dormant orbs. Capra approaches one of them, it begins to play mournful harp tones, and Capra matches them with her pan pipes. She turns to see both Erky and Tol blankfaced and running for the entrance. Nox is stoic. Some quick probing results in the hypothesis that the orb is linked to the room somehow, and that it is fragile.

    Capra picks up the orb and takes it out of the room. It falls silent and goes dark, the affected party members returning to sanity. But hey, Capra misses those dulcet tones and takes it back into the room. Off goes Erky! Tol resists, testily approaches Capra, and smacks the orb out of her hands, shattering it on the floor. Capra won't forget this. Probably.

   The next corridor features a lovely pressure plate trap. The party jams a rock under the pressure plate and its rendered useless. Cause and effect!

    The room following the trapped corridor is large and is almost completely empty save a ten-foot tall statue of a dragon carved from red-veined white marble. The party stands next to the statues and hears it speak, "We come at night without being fetched; we disappear by day without being stolen. What ar-" Almost simultaneously both Nox and Capra say "Stars." Erky is visibly impressed, and praises the intelligence of the two. A portion of the wall opens to their left, leading to the next room. 

    This room features six alcoves, all but one of which have humanoid statues carved of a similar marble to the dragon statue. They are tall elves in plate armor. Across the room from the party is a pit with spikes at the bottom. This is where the party goes perception crazy. Check after check after check reveals tiny humanoid footsteps in the dust, and a secret door to the south. It opens with an easy push. Erky glows, "Wow! Great job!"

    The room beyond the door is tiny and has an inscription in draconic on the far wall, "A dragonpriest entombed alive for transgressions of the Law still retains the honor of his position." Cool. You know what means? Perception checks. The party finds a secret trapdoor that opens with a push, leading to a three by three foot tunnel. "Erky, get in there." So he does.

Demon and Elf

    "It's clear," a nervous voice calls back. Indeed, the mostly empty room was clear, aside from the broken violet tiling, green burning torch, and the large sarcophagus in the center. Dragon motifs are carved all up and down that central piece, so why not approach it?

    Because bad things happen in seemingly empty rooms. A rustle of leathery wings turns into an alien assortment of claws launched at Nox. One bop to its head later and it's a different story, "Whoa cool it! You broke the enchantment, I don't gotta stand guard 'ere anymore!" The party assailed the Quasit with questions: How long were you here? Why are you guarding this place? Who summoned you? All of these the Quasit shrugged off, saying "I don't gotta tell ya nothin'. I'm out!" He turns to a bat, dodges a few things thrown at him, and turns invisible. "See ya later, assholes!" Whadda dick. 

    The sarcophagus is sealed shut by rusted iron clamps. That means strength checks. Strength checks mean crowbars. Too bad the party's resident ogre is now distrustful of all crowbars and refuses to use them. Regardless, a combination of efforts wrench the iron clamps open. One final surprisingly strong shove by Capra moves the lid out of the way to reveal flash of green light and a troll dressed in rotted finery.

    The troll sits up, its rubbery, putrid green flesh stretching around its elongated frame. It opens its beady black eyes and snarls at the party. There's no hope of diplomacy here. Sacred flame and firebolts from Erky and Capra keep the troll flesh smelling crispy, alternating scythe cuts and necrotic damage from Nox keeps the troll seated, and Tol keeps on swingin'. The troll takes a swing at the party but fails to do any meaningful damage. That's when Capra decides the troll's gotta fly.

    Levitating twenty feet in the air, the troll is useless. The party considers what to do with it. Throw it into the spike pit? Nah, too much effort and geometry. Hit it till it stops moving? Nah it's up in the air. More fire? Ding ding! Capra launches a vision streak of fire at the floating troll. It burns brightly, flesh turning to a fine ash that falls slowly into the sarcophagus below it. Erky, simultaneously disgusted and amazed, whispers, "Wow, amazing work Capra!"

    Finally, the treasure is claimed. Nox walks away with an ornate ceremonial dagger that was held by the troll (125 gp), Capra claims the trolls two silver rings and silver amulet (15 gp each), the casters share a bunch of spell scrolls after wiping the ash off of them (command, cure wounds 2nd level, inflict wounds 2nd level, and guiding bolt 2nd level), and Tol claims the green burning torch, which just so happens to have a continual flame enchantment. The legend of Tol the living rave grows.

    While the party is collecting their goods, Erky is looking through and around the sarcophagus. "This tomb is for a dragonpriest that studied unsavory magic. This elf turned himself into a troll! He still got a burial fit for a dragonpriest, but it was more a prison than anything else. Gross. I'm glad we killed it. This was a twisted act, unfit for a world filled with Sune's beauty." Remember kids, if you encounter a cult of Ashardalon, kill it. Kill it fast.

    Missing their spent spell slots, the party heads back to the first room they slept in, grab Calcryx along the way, and take a snooze. 

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Sunless Citadel: Clearing the First Floor Part 2
The Liberation of Calcryx

Dragon What Do Now

   Recalcitrant dragon wyrmling named Calcryx in tow, the party pushes forward toward Goblintownville. Dragging the dragon along is challenging but somehow never loud enough to draw the attention of the goblins in adjacent rooms. Sometimes the DM hates his dice.

   The party has a discussion about where to take Calcryx, as the goblin inside Tol known as Bildur says the Chief may give them some treasure or just kill them, and Yusrayl already promised a reward for the wyrmling. The party decides to begrudgingly drag Calcryx to the further away yet guaranteed rewards of the kobold clan. 

Everything Goes Kind of Nuts

    Meepo is beside himself in glee when the party drags Calcryx back into the kobold held part of the Citadel. Calcryx is visibly upset. The gears (probably made of stone) gears in Tol begin turning.

    The party is accompanied by five elite kobold warriors and a Meepo as they present Calcryx to Yusdrayl. Yusdrayl is backed by her usual two honor guards. The two groups, Kobold and our Righteous Revenge party, attempt to sweeten the deal with offer and counter offer. Tol tires of discussion, hates the idea of selling another being into imprisonment, and asks that Calcryx no longer be harmed if they are to make a trade. Yusdrayl offers that in the form of the generous "Kill the goblins for us so there are no more raids! I'll be there to fight myself." The party smells are rat, and Tol rips loose Calcryx's bonds. 

   While the kobolds are in shock, Capra launches a chromatic orb of cold at Yusdrayl, nearly freezing her solid in her throne. Already unstable from an earlier tampering with fate, Capra bursts necrotic energy from her, sapping strength from everyone around her. As her eyes glow with renewed vigor, Yusdrayl's cold body rots away in front of them. 

    The kobolds, leaderless, are in a state of shock and awe. Meepo is utterly dejected. Nox can use this. Shouting with an intensity matching the state of their despair, Nox bellows "We have killed your leader. Run or die!" The kobold clans sprints in every direction, some to Goblinville, some to the entrance, some to the Underdark. Only the honor guard remains, and they stand ready to avenge their fallen leader. Calcryx won't have any of that.

    Calcryx stretches long and deep, saunters forward between the party, and lets loose her frozen breath. The honor guard is frozen in place, dead on the spot. Calcryx claims her trophy and drags one of their bodies back near her old cage, now devoid of kobold presence. 

    Treasure time! Capra takes Yusdrayl's yellow opal ring, because why the heck not. Near the throne is also a quaal's feather token (free oak tree outside!), three spell scrolls (mage armor, spider climb, and knock), and a small flask with three doses of elixir of health. Lastly, there's a big key to the treasure held in the southwestern passage. 

    The kobolds have been routed. Level up!

Leveling Up!

    The party gains a nice boost in power. A familiar voice rings out while the party deals with its new power in their own heads. It's Erky, calling from a nearby kobold prison. Didn't they tell him the kobold safe word?

Erky's Quest

    Turns out Erky bumbled his way through the kobold area mispronouncing ticklecorn and got himself captured again. In prison, Erky had a vision from the red-haired goddess of beauty herself. He saw the twisted, vampiric Gulthias tree beinh tended by Belak and his cohort below, twisting the land and choking it of beauty. He knew in that moment he had to do something about that tree, regardless of what it took. 

    Too bad he's just an acolyte and is good at getting captured. Tol rips the door off its hinges, distrusts crowbars after failing to unshackle the goblins still trapped in the prison, and offers Erky a place on his back. Erky declines the offer, and gives his healing services to the party as long as they are willing to assist him in doing something about Belak and the twisted tree. 

    But first, treasure!

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Sunless Citadel: Clearing the First Floor Part 1
The Finding of Calcryx

Meepo?

   Our team takes a rest, meets with Meepo, takes a quest from Yusdrayl to get back Calcryx the White Dragon Wyrmling, and takes Meepo along as a guide. Meepo is a bad guide, but gets them through to the start of the Goblin territories before being sent home. Friggin' Meepo.

    The Goblin guards are easily dispatched between the entrance and the makeshift practice range. One Goblin, after being nearly crushed to death by Tol's mace arm, is spared and allowed to stabilize hanging awkwardly inside Tol's body. He leads the party away from some traps and down to the prisoner's quarter where the keys to some locked doors are hanging. The party releases some imprisoned Kobolds and breaks out a Gnome by the name of Erky Timbers, an acolyte of Sune. The party agrees to lead him to safety in exchange for his Turn Undead Feature, which is needed to open a magically locked door along the way to the exit.

That Door!

    Inside, Capra grabs a potion of fire resistance and skeletons rise to defend their tombs. Nox slashes, Tol smashes, and Capra burns skeletons and herself with her first ever Wild Magic table roll. It's a self fireball. Good thing she's nimble enough to twist away and take half damage!

   The skeletons dispatched, treasure is collected. A crystal whistle with the a carving in Dwarvish reads "Nightcaller." This buddy raises the dead, and Tol is hoarding it. Even though he doesn't have lungs. Also a candle with continual flame is also grafted onto Tol. Thus begins Tol's Rave transformation.

  Erky is impressed, but still bolts after being trapped in the Citadel for months. "Ticklecorn" escapes his confused lips as he leaves. 

Here There Be Dragons?

  Back to business, the party takes its keyring from the prison room and finds that lovely locked door that leads to the Trophy Room. Stuffed and mounted bugs, deer, and kobolds of the underdark adorn the walls. Streaks of frost cover overturned tables, and a single metal rod with a broken chain stands in the center of the room. The party inches in, and Calcryx the Wyrmling emerges, biting at Capra. Tol goes Ogre form, wrestles Calcryx to the ground with Nox's help, and Capra is eventually able to tie and bind the Wyrmling. Success!

So what do they do with the wyrmling now?

    

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First Foray
Lol Rats

Our adventurers head east, toward Core and the High Ice.

Along the road, daylight brings no encounters along the lonely road. Nighttime is a different story. A trio of goblins attempt to stop our party, but a highly coordinated intimidation via demasking by Nox, a telepathic berating by Tol, and an expertly whispered Vicious Mockery ("You're really small") by Capra laeds to the panicked flight of the goblics. The part takes over their campfire and Capra consumes the cooking rat.

The next night a quartet of giant rats stalks our party, but are no match for Nox's skeletal giant owl. A flurry of scythe, knife, and mine thrust culminates in a bit thigh, a crispy rat, and a short rest.

The third day is uneventful and the third night brings the party to the dilapidated ruins of Core. This city on the border is the last view of civilization before a bit of desert a lot of ice. 

Wind buffets the party and they cannot proceed. Good thing there's a building with the lights on among all this rubble.

Inside the wind dies down and a giant well takes up prominent display. A few quiet patrons, a bar, and a surly looking barkeep surround the well. Investigating the wax paper windows reveals no wind outside, only opening the door connects to what looks like Core still outside. 

The barkeep doesn't answer questions without gold. One gold, one answer. The bar is the Yawning Portal, the well leads to riches, and it costs gold to go up and down in the giant bucket hanging over the portal. Tol stands at the bar awkwardly, staring forward and offering gold coins. Capra decides to speak to the old man in the corner, since the barkeep is not forthcoming. The old man, who can't remember his own name, reveals that Durnan, the barkeep and owner, explored the depths of the well and came back rich and powerful. Durnan's trinkets and magical items litter the bar and may be what lends to his long life. The old man also tells of four adventurers, two of which are siblings of a prominent house, went down into the well a month ago. The matriarch noble of Oakhurst, a well off farming community, is offering a bounty for the safe return of her children. 

Awkwardly out of options, the party descends into the well. 

It's dark as they land on a flat. Good thing they all have Darkvision. Every single one of them. Darkvision. They even brought torches. Spoiler: they don't use any. 

There are humanoid tracks, a month old, and giant rat tracks leading down the side of the cliff. The stairs lead to a fortress sunk into the ground. Some quick remembering of history reveals the fortress to be the Sunken Citadel, which sank into the ground a long time ago when a nearby volcano erupted. It used to house a dragon worshipping cult. Maybe there's stuff inside!

A trapdoor, a giant rat, a shield, and a door later the party is inside the remains of a circular tower. It's broken and leads up into darkness. Rat chewed goblin carcasses litter the room. Some quick wit from Capra reveals a hidden door and a level to open it to the south. Unfortunately, a metal pin stabs her hand as she pulls the lever. Fortunately, the pin is not poisoned or diseased. The door swings open, and Capra steps into the tiny room.

Three skeletal archers animate and take aim. Capra is injured before moving behind her beefier teammates. The skeletons continue to shoot arrows at close range disadvantage and somehow keep making their mark on Tol's stone body. Nox takes aim with her scythe, and ends up lodging its blade into the stone below her. Capra pokes her head around the doorway, casts magic missile, and all three miniature rams of energy break apart one of the archers. Nox recovers her scythe, bisecting another skeleton. The last goes down in a hail of Capra fire and mace arm and the party continues on.

Nox removes a spear pinning one goblin to the westernmost point on the circular wall. The body slumps and reveals some draconic runes. Good thing we have draconic fluency. It reads "Ashardalon" and some knowledge checks reveal that to be the name of an ancient Shadow Dragon. The party collectively says, "Huh, alright" and forgoes to the southwest door for the northwest. 

A corridor, perception checks abound. Nada. Three doors meet them on the west end, one to the north, one to the west, and one to the south.

The north leads to an empty room. Really, it was very empty. The west leads to a large, reverse L shaped room with a fire pit, some torches around the room, a roll of sleeping fabrics with something whimpering inside them, and a large cage to the south with a broken gate. The party immediately leaves to check the southern door of the previous corridor. Poor sobbing whatever it is.

The door to the south is locked. We do not have thieve's tools. Or sleight of hand proficiency. Hilarity ensues.

Nox and Tol put their heads together to fashion a lock pick out of Tol's stone fingers. Capra pointedly plays with her metal hairpin. Against all odds, Nox and Tol succeed in making a lockpick and narrowly avoid breaking Tol's favorite fingers in their failed attempts at opening the door. Capra is also unsuccessful and compromises the integrity of her hairpin. Finally, frustration sets in as the party remembers their crowbars. The wooden door is promptly smashed off of its hinges. 

Inside the tiny room is a rusted metal keg, with pipes connecting it to the floor. Hitting the keg reveals the sound of sloshing. A great push from Nox sends the top of the keg crashing to the floor and two mephits, ice and steam, emerge. 

The battle is quick and decisive. Both mephits expend their respective elemental breath weapons but the party resists the worst of their effects. Fire and blunt hits weaken the ice mephit. Nox's necrotic hand holds down the steam mephit as Capra's chromatic orb completely dissolve's its body. A firebolt finishes off the ice mephit, and it explodes in a hail of ice crystals. Poking around the open keg reveals five tiny sapphires. 

The party, needing rest, sets up a makeshift camp in the empty room across the corridor. Tol takes a seat at the door to listen and block out intruders. 

I wonder what all the whimpering in the next room is about?

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