The Vast, Unknown
Chapter 13 -- Grand Reopening
The session opened with the party concluding the investigation within the old dwarven watch post in the Glorming Pass, after having slain the orcs and their Neogi masters. FellReign focused on inventorying the caravan inventory, along with finding a few extra items of the magical variety that did not need to be returned to the Wizard’s Guild. Xander and Tydora find a secret door with a prison cell behind it housing the caravanners and the corpse of the dead wizard. Bzzt inspected the living space of the orcs and the old dwarven architecture, including a pair of statues depicting Moradin, head of the Dwarven pantheon. Rayne, meanwhile, composed herself outside, while Boti stood in silent vigil over her, understanding the struggle the noblewoman was feeling inside. After the thorough investigations were concluded, the party began to return to Raven’s Bluff. Boti parted ways, taking the corpses of the two Neogi with her as her trophies, fulfilling the bargain with the party.
The party arrived in Raven’s Bluff on 29 Tarsakh, two days before the grand reopening of The Lazy River. While the rest of the party went about preparing for this event, along with resting and recharging, FellReign returned to the Wizard’s Guild to report his success to Vondus. He was led to a subterranean portion of the guild hall where Vondus was bearing witness to the judgment of the goblin mage Wormwill, whom FellReign had reported to his dwarven mentor weeks prior as part of the Monster Mob smuggling ring. Fell watched the tail end of the trial, where several of the deans of the guild, the Vedalken wizard Nalle (who was present as a representative of FellReign), and Archmage Micah Starfire sentenced Wormwill to “Silence” and “Groveling” Zohlu, the Yuan Ti Illusionist who did not care for FellReign, had the honor of taking Wormwill’s tongue and hands, the tools of a mage’s better spells. Other witnesses in attendance to the trial besides Fell and Vondus were the Vedalken Imuloc, and a Red Wizard named Nazirra, who seemed friendly with Fell’s employers. Afterwards, Fell was paid for the completion of the job with gold, a handful of spell scrolls, and promotion to Circle Initiate within the guild.
Two days later, on the evening of 1 Mirtul, 1496, the party reconvene for the grand reopening of The Lazy River. Besides the party, the Vedalken troublemaker Arull is invited as an honored guest, having played a role in the assault on the Lazy River when it was still under control of the Monster Mob. The first night is a success, drawing a steady crowd of locals along with a few interesting cast of characters: Curious Wonder and Anyas, the same Watchmen Bzzt encountered on his first day as the new owner of the Lazy River; Marron and few other local thugs, suggesting that this bar would need time to shake its old reputation; Bradley, a loyal regular who pays special attention; and Hadam Quelmeter, a bold noble from an ostracized house with wild friends in attendance. The party interact with these guests and one another in exciting ways throughout the night.
Along with this, a few other important guests arrive: The bald, nondescript human who had marked Xander weeks prior on behalf of the assassin paid the warrior a visit in the sewer levels. The man informed Xander of the origin of the contract on his head: Igor Skyhawk, the young noble whom Xander humiliated at Fabien Flermeer’s party at Turnstone Hall. The man also told Xander that if he ever wanted to start making money, come find him again. Meanwhile, Bzzt parlayed with Cog, a goblin gangster in town on behalf of the Monster Mob elements from Calaunt, Raven’s Bluff seedier sister city in the nation of Vesperin. Cog informed Bzzt that as long as he never expanded out of Raven’s Bluff, the Mob felt no need to pursue any further conflict with the “Clanker.” The conversation ended without firm affirmation that Bzzt would abide by the restrictions, and Cog left without incident.
The final guests arrived as the Lazy Rivers began to wrap up a very successful opening night. Obir and Lillitt, the militant members of the East Nivix Trading Company, arrived with a delivery in a heavy-ladened crate, along with a message: Shieldmeet was only two months away, and it was time for the company to start advertising. Inside the crate was one Mizzium Mortar and one Pyroconverger, the party’s first taste of Mizzium. The session closed on this scene.
Chapter 12 - Orcs in the Glorming Pass
At the same time the bulettes launch their attack on the party, a new figure also arrives: the Orcish warrior Boti, of the Black Crone tribes, who had been in turn hunting the Bulettes herself. Instead of risking injury in a prolonged conflict, Rayne expertly banished the creatures, while the rest of the party talked (and beat) down the enraged orc. Boti would leave the area, and the party would continue forward as well, not waiting for the land sharks to return to the plane of existence.
Tydora proceeded to scout forward via the air after this, finding the site of an attacked caravan after a while longer, but she could not find distinctive tracks. Meanwhile, the rest of the party waited her return in a cluster. At one point, Xander and Bzzt notice that they’re being stalked again, spotting the same orc hiding in a cluster of boulders behind them. They confront Boti, who reveals herself and then proceeds to stride into camp to speak to the “chiefess” Rayne, ignoring the male grunts in her employ. Boti is still there when Tydora returns with news of the missing caravan, and reveals she knows the attack, which had been initiated by orcs under the control of the “mind slavers.” Offering to guide the party in exchange for trophies to replaced the lost bulettes, the party heads higher up the mountains.
Ultimately, they arrive at an old dwarven watch post that had been commandeered by the enslaved orcs. Deceiving the orcs, Boti dragged Rayne forward as a prisoner, with a recently modified Terry doing the same with Bzzt. The charade breaks down shortly afterward, and combat ensues. In an effort to negate the sight abilities that Boti had warned of, Bzzt very wisely unleashed an ever smoking bottle in the confined quarters of the watch post, turning the fight into a blind slaughter. The “mind slavers,” a pair of neogi and a Neogi master, did their best to thwart the conflict, but they too were overcome. In one tense moment, the Neogi Master successfully drags FellReign out of the fog (Tydora was out of the cloud as well and witnessed this), but Fell’s Yuan Ti magical resistance saved his mind from being ensnared by the Neogi, so the Neogi was forced to dimension door away without a new slave. The rest of the orcs and neogi are slain, save for a single orog who left after being spared.
The session closed as silence fell on the watch post and the fog began to clear.
Chapter 11 -- Journey East
The sessions with Rayne at home, two days after the assault on the Three Rivers, transformed. While escorting Helen home, she had collapsed, as a metamorphosis from human to Aasimar occurred. Her servant, Cozah, tried her best to console her noblewoman, but suggested that it was better if she spoke with her waiting guest downstairs instead: Reverend Judge Antony Skyhawk, head of the Church of Torm. Heading down, she found Antony being entertained by Keycyne, Rayne’s elvish advisor assigned by the Church of Lathander. Conversation ensued, with Antony encouraging Rayne about her changes and warned her about the negative effects the rest of the party could have on her reputation. And, as if on cue, this the moment the party arrived to check on Rayne, whom they had not seen since the assault, before proceeding to behave embarrassingly in front of the Judge (who pretended that he had not seen them less than 12 hours before). Antony left, and the party proceeded to catch Rayne up to speed with everyone that had occurred while she was absent.
Over the next few days, the party prepared to leave the city, pursing the job FellReign had been assigned by his wizard mentor Vondus to track down a missing caravan in the Glorming Pass east of the city. Once ready, they departed, traveling parallel to the Fire River towards the small town Dragon Falls. Along the way, the rescue a Dwarf minstrel trapped beneath a fallen tree, receiving a reward from the grateful bard in the first place; they also learned a brief history of the region that night, how the land was originally owned by Orcs before giving way to the Dwarvish Kingdom of Sarbreen and then later settled by humans after the Dwarven kingdom collapsed.
Heading south from Dragon Falls, the party makes their way through mountainous terrain of the Glorming Pass. After several hours, the party notice something odd moments before a pair of bulettes burst from the earth on the hunt for them! The session closes as they prepare to defend themselves
Chapter 10 - Cleanup
The party continued with the cleanup of their new bar, the Three Rivers (which they choose to rename the Lazy River), disposing of the corpses deeper in the sewers and cleaning up the blood. Momak is paid to take a vacation for a bit, but is retained as the head bartender for when the Lazy River is ready to be reopened. Word is sent to the Reverend Judge Antony Skyhawk, head of the Church of Torm, to bring him up to speed with these new developments; a meeting is later set with the nobleman for the next evening. In the early hours, Bzzt is also questioned by a pair of Watchmen, the Tabaxi Harbor Patrolman Curious Wonder and his partner from the Canine Corps, the halfling Anyas. Bzzt is not charged with any crimes, but it is established that the Watch would be paying close attention to them moving forward.
The party split up the next day to pursue individual goals. One scene in particular of interest is Xander’s shopping trip to the Market District, where at one point a figure bumps into him, slipping a coin with three Raven’s heads in his pocket in the process. Xander catches a glimpse of the bald human male, but is unable to pursue him; he proceeds to keep the coin.
The party (minus Rayne, who is noticeably absent this day), go to the House of Loyalty in the Holyhouses neighborhood, the temple devoted to Torm. The party meets with Antony Skyhawk, who in the midst of the conversation reveals that they he possessed detailed intel on the entire party collected by an organization known as the Silent Network. In regard to the Three River’s situation, Antony produced an adventuring license for the party to sign that was backdated to the beginning of the month, legalizing their most recent antics. The party leave confident that, for now, the party are spared from consequences of the violence, although now they find themselves in the back pocket of a particularly zealous nobleman and champion of Torm.
Leaving the temple by its back entrance, Xander is immediately attacked by an assassin! Only the timely intervention of FellReign’s temporal magics spared the warrior from grave injury. The assassin is captured before he can escape, and reveals that Xander had a contract on his head. At the threat of death, the assassin reveals that Xander had been tracked magically via the coin slipped in his pocket earlier in the day, and they he should go to the Nimber’s Skewer Shop in Mortonbrace and order the Lamb Kebab if he wanted more information.
The session ends as the party returns home for a night’s rest
Chapter 9 -- Three Rivers
The party returns as quickly as possible to Raven’s Bluff, heading quickly to the Shadystreets neighborhood where the Three Rivers, the Monster’s Mob hangout, was located. Along the way, word was sent to Arull, the Vedalken artificer, to meet them there to assist in the assault of the Three Rivers (the Vedalken would arrive still in his pajamas). Opting to take a stealthy approach, the party took the sewers, finding their way through the underground to a locked gate that they could use to break into one of the lower levels of the bar. Striking unawares, the party launches an attack on the assembled gangsters, turning the tables! Combat ensues on multiple floors of the Three Rivers simultaneously, Arull topside and the party in the sewers.
After defeating the lesser gangsters, the party continues down, heading to a small dungeon level where they found Helen held hostage by the goblin gangster, Kabs! After a heated discussion in which Bzzt was unwilling to negotiate, Kab’s bodyguards launched their attack from the shadows in the cramped quarters. Timely counterspells from Rayne turned the tide quickly, and the combined efforts of Xander and Arull prevented the flying Kabs from escaping when it was obvious that failure was imminent. The bodyguards are slain and Kabs is taken captive (losing his ears in the process), and silence falls on the Three Rivers. While Rayne departs with Helen to reunite her with her son, the party begins to investigate the establishment, finding two things of particular interest: (1) Bzzt found the deed to the bar, which he then forced the Goliath owner Momak to sign over to him and (2) FellReign found crates of potions and other magical items with the Wizard’s Guild symbol on it, determining that their was some sort of smuggling operation afoot. He also learned the contact name Wormwill via a ledger found with the contraband.
The session ends in the midst of this post-fight cleanup.
Chapter 8 -- Turnstone Hall
The party return to Raven’s Bluff and commit to their individual pursuits for the next several days, all the while waiting to attend a small party hosted by Saer Fabien Flermeer, the elderly head of the noble house Flermeer, whom they met originally at the Feylight Festival weeks prior. A few party members acquire dates to the party: FellReign brought the promiscuous Transmuter Nono from the Wizard’s Guild and Rayne invited the entitled Igor Skyhawk, son of Reverend Judge Antony Skyhawk. The party travel via carriage to Turnstone Hall, the country estate owned by the Flermeer family and are invited inside. The gathering is hosted in an impressive dining hall punctuated by the skull of a dragon hanging over the mantle.
Besides Fabien, the other guests at the party are as follows: Malgaris, an elderly gnomish sage who specialized in the histories of famous weaponry; Archdruid Talvar, head of the Circle of the Sheaf in Raven’s Bluff; Sir Hamish, Right Hand of Tyr, and Mister Shrubs, Fabien’s awakened shrub. Conversation is had with the guests, with a few tense moments here and there, before everyone settles in for a game of two truths and a falsehood. More tension, sexual and otherwise, ensues with Rayne ultimately winning the contest, receiving a small prize from Fabien’s personal collection.
Overall the night is considered relaxing, up until Bzzt receives an urgent sending from the Vedalken wizard Nalle: Alex’s mother Helen has been kidnapped by the Monster Mob! Bzzt informs the party and they make plans to return quickly to Raven’s Bluff, fearful that Helen would not live to see the morning.
Chapter 7 -- Blood Water
The session begin with combat between the party and Sir Genzik of the Knights of the Golden Rooster and his retinue (which included a cleric to Tempus). The party defeated the group handedly, slaying all of their assailants save for a single scout who fled from the battlefield. Bzzt took Geznik's plate armor for himself, and the party proceeded to bury the bodies in an unmarked grave off the beaten path before continuing on the journey without Suleesa, who had dipped into the ethereal plane at the start of combat (thus revealing a nature not entirely human in the process). Even with their employer out of the picture for the moment, the party was still interested in investigating this cult activity in case it was connected to the Order of the Sibriex that they were hunting.
After one more day of slow travel along the banks of the Fire River, the party stumbled across the remains of an archaeological dig and a subterranean entrance to a temple once devoted to Eldath, Mother of Waters. Scouting inside, the party found immediate signs of cultist activity in the entrance foyer, with Abyssal graffiti scrawled on statuary and a pool of blood in a basin that once held fresh water. Moving deeper into the temple, the party kicked the door down to a side room to find two cultists in the midst of foul deeds: one had ritually cut his arm out, replaced at the stump with a rapidly growing tentacle of sort. The party quickly slew the two before they could raise an alarm, and continued on.
More cultists impeded them in what was once a library, now bare. The party engaged, drawing the attention of more cultists in the wide room beyond, who were receiving foul teachings from the leader of this cell, a young woman horribly warped by Fiendish magicks almost to the point of losing her humanity. Much of the session was devoted to this fight as the party pushed through library to fight cultists, this fiendish priest, and her pet Leucrotta. In the end, despite some close calls, the party slew every cultist there, bringing quiet once more to the abode of The Quiet One. The party investigated the cultists, noting the fine make of their weapons and the maker's mark "Glowfire" on all of the blades. They also discovered a private sanctum with a large baptismal pool, also filled with blood and the scattered remains of corpses, along with Suleesa's husband Elrod stuck on the other side.
Suleesa herself revealed her presence, stepping out of the ethereal plane beside her husband; it was confirmed that she was indeed a succubus, of fiendish origin. The conversation was tense, but the party stuck to the original agreement of the contract, receiving payment along with a few more interesting magical items. Suleesa also told the party that this probably just one cell of these cultists operating in the region, and that they should follow the weapons if they desired to find the others.
The party left the temple, and the session concluded with an uneventful two days of return travel to the city of Raven's Bluff.
Chapter 6 -- Boom
The session opens with Bzzt returning to his workshop in The Shutters a few nights after the Revel Arcane. As he settles in his desk, he notices a letter on his desk written in Goblin, telling him that he should have just paid up. A moment later, a trio of delayed fireballs detonated, evaporating the goblin and turning his workshop into a pile of burning refuse . . .
For the rest of the party, it is a few days before they notice the absence of Bzzt as they pursued their personal goals within the city. FellReign sought an audience with the Dean of Illusion at the Wizard's Guild, but instead found himself in a heated conversation with Zohlu, a Yuan Ti Illusionist who did not trust Fell's rapidly growing ambitions; the conversation did not lead to conflict, but Zohlu did warn Fell to "stay in his lane" within the Dunamancy school and not be so broad with his reach. Rayne continued moving among the noble social circles, her presence heightened by her role in the Revel Arcane's explosive events. She also followed up with Saer Fabien Flermeer, the nobleman they had met briefly at the Feylight Festival, and his awakened shrub. Tydora continued exploring the city while also trying to befriend the Vedalken Potlet, who warmed up somewhat to her over the course of their conversations. Finally, Xander made an anonymous donation to the Hand of Mercy Children Hospital, an Ilmater-sponsored orphanage in Raven's Bluff.
After Bzzt's absence was finally noticed, the party traveled to The Shutters in search of him; they find instead the remains of his workshop. While searching the rubble, a green hand exploded from it, attached to a metallic frame that declared itself as Bzzt! It became clear to the party as the conversation continued that, somehow, that the soul of the goblin had moved from his original body to the lifeless frame of Bzzt's secret artificer project, giving him a second chance at life. While the party spoke Julius, the ghost that haunted Bzzt's workshop, appeared and confirmed that the explosion was caused by the Monster Mob. He also mentioned that the Mob returned a second time and pulled Terry, Bzzt's Steel Defender, from the rubble as well. Unwilling to pursue retaliation immediately against the mobsters, the party returned to The Boar's Head Inn to settle themselves.
While at the Inn, the party are then approached by a woman named Suleesa, who wished to hire the adventurers to rescue her husband who had been kidnapped by supposed cultists. The party, already on the trail of the Order of the Sibriex, agreed to the job in an effort to investigate these kidnappers, in case that they were one and the same. The party left the morning after with Suleesa in tow, traveling east along the banks of the Fire River, eventually finding themselves moving among the trees of the Highbank Forest. Before they reach the cultist hideout, which they learned was an archaeological site that the cultists had overtaken, they were intercepted by Sir Genzik, a Knight of the Golden Rooster, and a retinue of similar-minded warriors. The knight claimed that Suleesa was a fiend who had attempted to charm him in Raven's Bluff, to which Suleesa denied.
In his quick attempt to verify, FellReign spoke to Suleesa in both Infernal and Abyssal, noting her recognition to the languages. Unfortunately, Sir Geznik also heard the foul tongues, and concluded that the entire party must be fiends, not just Suleesa! The session ended as combat was initiated by the knight and his retinue.
Chapter 5 -- Revel Arcane
The party attend the Revel Arcane, a social gathering hosting by the Wizard's Guild where the elite of the city are invited, earning the invitation by FellReign's enrollment into the guild. After being introduced to the crowd as BFG (save for Rayne, who entered the gathering separately with her noble status emphasized), the party filtered into the gathering in an attempt to network and learn whatever they could from the movers and shakers of Raven's Bluff. The conversations go as follows:
- Bzzt: The goblin settled on the outskirts of the gathering, hiding within his Steel Defender, which he had disguised to appear as a vending machine. This drew the attention of Favored Mother Roxanne Kettlebopper, the gnomish head of the Church of Gond in the city, and her accompanying cleric Benyam, a Fire Genasi. Roxanne complimented Bzzt's craftmanship and inquired about his training, before inviting him to visit the Church. Bzzt, meanwhile, informed Roxanne of the presence of the goblinoid arm of the Monster Mob, in the hopes of drawing the Church of Gond into his personal conflict with them.
- FellReign: The Yuan Ti wizard sought connections with the higher ups in the Wizard's Guild, eventually interjecting into a conversation between Vondus Ironsong, his dwarven mentor, and Noobom, the Loxodon Dean of Dunamancy. Fell ingratiated himself with the Dean, emphasizing his desire to grow in power and knowledge, with the Loxodon encouraging patience and hard work.
- Rayne: The noblewoman was intercepted by Calagards Dunkon Neste and Al Glowfire, a pair of life lords in the city intrigued by the new arrival within their social circles. Al settled on conversations involving the economy of Amn, which bored Dunkon, who pressed Rayne on the concept of power before moving on from the conversation after Rayne gave him an insufficient answer. Rayne then continued the conversation with Calagard Glowfire, who showed little interest beyond trade.
- Tydora: The cleric of Tymora spotted Nalle, the Vedalken wizard from the East Nivix Trading Company, in conversation with a trio of elves: Lady Belinda Moonglow, Dean of Enchantment; Lady Delshandra Sinaran, Dean of Wizardry; and Micah Starfire, Head Archmage of the Wizard's Guild. After a brief conversation with these powerful figures, Belinda broke off with Tydora and introduced her to the Luckmistress, Saeress Cithay Boldtalon, head of her noble house and of the Church of Tymora. Cithay was thrilled to meet Tydora and mentioned that she had heard of her from Bilwor Twintrick, the gnomish cleric Tydora met on her visit to the temple.
- Xander: Seeking his information elsewhere, Xander dipped from the party all together and sought out the carriage drivers outside, hoping to learn what they would know. In the midst of the conversation, he was able to verify one particular nugget of information: a notable noble-son of House Skyhawk was a frequent visitor to the House of Desires in Raven's Bluff, Sharess' temple. Beyond that, he determined that wagon drivers were a strong source of information about the coming and goings of the city's elite, in case he ever needed more information.
Beyond Nalle, the party noted the presence of several other members of the East Nivix Trading company's leadership: Obir and Lillitt were spotted socializing with Knights, and Imuloc was noted in conversation with a unknown Red Wizard. It was Arull, though, who made the largest splash at the gathering after he boldly declared that both arcane magic and divine power from the Gods paled in comparison to the power of Vedalken technology. This obviously caused a stir among the crowd, and was directly responded to by Reverend Judge Antony Skyhawk, head of the Church of Torm in Raven's Bluff, who wished to put the claim to test in a friendly duel. The party (save for Tydora who watched), intervened on Arull's behalf and acted as his champions in the duel against Skyhawk, who blended martial prowess and divine magic. That was not enough, however, to overcome the party, who knocked Antony unconscious, earning them recognition as formidable combatants and brought the East Nivix Trading company to the forefront of conversation moving forward.
The session closed shortly afterwards.
Chapter 4 -- Networking
The party continued to explore the city for the next eleven days as they waited to attend the Revel Arcane, a social gathering hosted by the Wizard's Guild for their members and the city's elite, accompanied by their Vedalken employers on a few occasions. FellReign continued to explore what the Wizard's Guild had to offer, acquiring a mentor wizard named Vondus and attending an important meeting with the Vedalken Nalle and Lady Delshandra Sinaran, Dean of Wizardry within the Guild; in the midst of the meeting, in which FellReign was largely excluded, he did find the time to make mention of the Order of the Sibriex operating within the city, although he received little in way of information in return from the archmage. Bzzt paired with the troublemaking Arull synthesized some drugs in the goblin's workshop, before investigating a figure in Shadystreets claiming to be Bzzt's brother; they would eventually meet the goblin Kabs in the sewer bar of the Three Rivers, who claimed to be a representative of the Monster Mob and wished to offer Bzzt protection from the city after he unknowingly broke an unspoken rule by establishing a presence above ground. Xander sought out The House of Desires, the temple of Sharess within the city, where he had an interesting conversation with the Tabaxi Priestess Wild Dream. It was mostly a conversation of faith, though Xander would eventually learn that the temple was frequented by all manner of wealthy individual, including one Calagard named Dunkon Neste. Rayne continued to prepare for her debut in noble circles, seeking out information of several of the noble families at the Sage's Guild in the city, before purchasing gifts and pleasantries to give out at the proper times. Finally, Tydora wandered the city further, visiting its further reaches in search of new information, learning two things: the city was a haven for foreign trade, drawing in merchants and artisans from all over the region, and that a turf was was slowly building in Crow's End between the Monster Mob and the Four Ravens, two criminal groups in opposition of one another.
The session ended the night before the Revel Arcane.
Chapter 3 -- Feylight Festival
The party attend the Feylight Festival, a magical carnival hosted within the Feywild and host to all manner of creature and monster. They compete in games of skill and chance, attend a handful of delightful shows, and even partake in sweet treats sold by Treants and Gelatinous Cubes. Tydora specifically had an interesting conversation with the Dryad Helia, a figure she had seen in a dream prior to the party's arrival to Raven's Bluff. Helia hints at Tydora's nature that she is yet unaware of before asking for her help in defending The High Country from the assault it was facing. Before Tydora could learn the finer details, however, she is distracted by the sudden appearance of Ethan Copperstone, fleeing from an Oni who claimed he was a thief. The party, which had separated earlier, rush to intercept, following the pair into a dead end alley, with the largest central tent forming the wall, where the party successfully talked the Oni down from his intention of punishing Ethan. The oni departed (but not before he was pick pocketed by Bzzt), the party begin to speak with Ethan, who was still unwilling to return home. Ethan escaped underneath the central tent, and the party followed after they heard him scream.
Stepping into the tent, they found an old woman (later learned to be Miss Agnes) crouched over the unconscious Ethan, the room empty save for a massive water tank behind her back. Miss Agnes thanked the party for the meal, but asked them to leave so she could enjoy it in peace (referring to Ethan), and the party rushed to intervene. Miss Agnes dropped her illusionary appearance to reveal her Sea Hag nature and fought back against the party, aided by the arrival of a quartet of lobsterfolk from the water tank. The party fought valiantly, thwarting their enemies attempts to drag Ethan and others into the depths, slaying several of the lobsterfolk in the process; Miss Agnes, unfortunately, escaped back into the tank, pursued by Bzzt. Bzzt continued to swim down, far beyond the reasonable depth of the water tank as it had appeared topside, until he found himself somewhere else entirely: the Elemental Plane of Water. Desperate, clinging to a glowing coin in the darkness, Bzzt swam back in the direction of the "surface," feeling the presence of unseen forces closing in, until he bumped into the flesh of a gargantuan creature, which he used as a last ditch launching point (the coin he dropped was swallowed up by a massive maw moments later), running into Xander at the apex of his trajectory, and returning back to the surface from there.
Ethan regained consciousness and requested to return home, so the party departed from there, stopping only to exchange their tickets from the carnival games for a plethora of magical prizes. Afterwards, they exited the carnival, reuniting Ethan with his parents and getting paid accordingly. They thought only a few hours had passed, but would later learn that they had been gone five days . . .
Chapter 2 -- Planting Roots
The party spent the next five days exploring more of the city of Raven's Bluff, splitting off in a variety of directions. FellReign focused on the Wizard's Guild, enrolling as an Associate member of their ranks in an effort to tap into their libraries and laboratories. Bzzt began to furnish his new workshop, scouring the seedier parts of the city for laborers willing to work outside the city's robust guild network. Rayne made contact with the Embassy of Amn and began the process of putting her name out in the noble circles of the city, preparing for her debut into their world. Tydora and Xander sought out the public library in search of information on the various religions in the city, learning primarily about the bureaucratic body of The Clerical Circle, Sharess' unique entry into the religious fold of the city, and the Fall of Tyr from favor among the general populace.
On the morning of 13 Ches, the party reconvene at the Boar's Head where a local Halfling farmer named Sylvey Windbluff was rambling on about an exciting event nearby: a carnival run by the mysterious Fey. The party are eventually coerced to attend with Sylvey, who leads them out into the wheat fields on the outskirts of the city where a mob of locals had formed around the ticket taker, Thom the Satyr. The party tried to defuse the tension, which was primarily caused by the disappearance of the child Ethan Copperstone into the carnival (his parents Ernest and Elvira were nearby, distraught), before coming to blows with a few of the more aggressive locals. Hostilities were quelled without serious injury to anyone, and the party then promised to the Copperstone that they would find their son in the Festival and bring him home. They then continued down the path towards the Festival.
Chapter 1 -- Raven's Bluff
The party arrive to the city of Raven’s Bluff on 7 Ches of the Year 1496, disembarking at the docks in the Silverscales neighborhood in the Harbor district. While finding their bearings, Tydora notices a man wearing a Hawthorne Guild badge lingering nearby and approaches him, with the party following behind moments later. The man introduces himself as FellReign, a wizard from the guild who had traveled to the city in the company of Gold-tier adventurer Blackmaw, who wished the party to meet him at the Boar’s Head Inn within the city. The party acquired directions to the inn as well as a map of the city from the newsboy Billy, who was hawking his various wares to new arrivals nearby. After antagonizing the boy for a bit, the party head further into the city, splitting off in multiple directions in an effort to explore this new, unknown place.
Tydora headed the Market District, traveling through the Temple District in the process, where she made note of a multitude of shrines and places of worships to various deities. Her original destination was forgotten for now as she stumbled across the Hall of Luck, Tymora’s temple within the Holyhouses neighborhood, which operated largely as a casino for the Lady’s worshippers. Tydora briefly spoke with gnome cleric Bilwor Twintrick, who was pleased to meet Tydora and curious about the Hawthorne Guild she worked with. He made mention of the Hall’s “Venture Projectionist Program,” in which clerics of the goddess were assigned to adventuring guilds as an advisor of sort in case that would ever interest Tydora and her companions. From there, Tydora departed and made her way to the Boar’s Head Inn
FellReign, meanwhile, sought out his own goddess Selune, finding her temple (known locally as The Moonflame) within the Alterside neighborhood in the Temple District. Upon his arrival, he found the temple in transition from their nightly shelter the temple offered the homeless of the city, along with a soup kitchen in full swing to feed those in need. FellReign was enlisted to help serve food by a nameless cleric of the goddess, who spoke to FellReign and his “darkness” he often espoused. Afterwards, FellReign too made his way to the Boar’s Head Inn.
Bzzt, Rayne, and Xander traveled in tandem northward in the city to the Anvil neighborhood in search of a ferry to cross the Fire River to The Shutters, where Bzzt was in search of property for sale. Along the way, Xander attempted with little success to contact criminal elements within the city; afterwards, the trio crossed the river aboard Derry’s Ferry, docking in the warehouse district across the way. Bzzt sought out the property for sale advertised in The Raven’s Gazette, speaking with the guard posted outside. He learned that the property was on deep discount due to the unfortunate “orgy-turned-suicide pact” performed by trespassers that the realtor Mervin claimed were worshippers of Sharress. Unperturbed, Bzzt purchased the property and hired on the guard, Alex, to continue providing his services in the evenings to come. The trio then continued on to the Boar’s Head Inn in the Stormrime neighborhood of the Southport District.
The party reconvened and headed upstairs in the Boar’s Head Inn to meet Blackmaw in the smoke room, where he was playing dragonchess with the wizened regular Or. Blackmaw asked the party of their escapades while traveling east to Raven’s Bluff before offering them a new task: track down the Order of the Sibriex, a cultist cell that he had dealings with in the past, and eradicate them. Blackmaw provided the party with notes on the Order (which are now in FellReign’s possession), and directed them to one note of interest regarding the involvement of “The Calagard,” which the party later learned was the title given to nobleman of a certain stature within the city’s hierarchy (equivalent to that of a Baron in parts of the world). Blackmaw departed afterwards, leaving the five members of the party as the only operating representatives of the Hawthorne Guild in the entire region of The Vast.
The night ended shortly afterwards with the arrival of the Vedalken leadership who announced their acquisition of a majority stake in the Blue Star Trading Company, thus establishing themselves within the merchant circles within the city in the manner of hours. The East Izzet Trading Company was open for business, with the Hawthorne Guild on retainer, and a vast new region to explore . . .