Silanya

Expedition 32 - The Mean Streets of Antorum

AKA Our "Apocalypse Now" Moment

June 11, 2017

Characters: Sarene (cleric 2, log-keeper), Luke (warlock 2), Sovan (bard 5), Raevori (wizard 5), Quincy (fighter 4, map-maker), Melora (paladin 2)

Map: [link]

Character changes: Lucens gets -5 permanent INT injury but levels to 3; Melora levels to 3, Sarene levels to 3.
Raevori got a powerful thought of Dominate Person.
Sovan got a powerful thought of Confusion.
Lucens used a powerful thought of Remove Curse to save Sovan.
Quincy got a powerful thought of Misty Step.
Melora got a powerful thought of initiating telepathic contact.

Profits:
595 gp for Quincy (no donation to the LMF)
510 gp for everyone else (all donated to the LMF)
429 gp for the LMF

Note: all profits after expenses, items, but before item purchases from the below list. If you want an item, mark it as (claimed and paid for by ____) and deduct that amount from your character sheet. First dibs go to people on the expedition.

Experience:

1960 xp each, or 1782 if you don’t update your character sheet by 11:59pm on Tuesday June 13th. Everyone has a modification to their character sheet (leveling or a powerful thought or both), so you need to have the update by this time to get the bonus.

Points of Interest / Exploration Points:
New hex gold: 12.09, 225 gp
Minor POI, Keep of the Policeataurs, 50 gp, in hex 11.09
Minor POI, Tower with active wards, 50 gp, in hex 11.09

Items collected
Antorem police badges x5 (15 gp each) (claimed by LMF)
Dagger of banishment (300 gp) (claimed by LMF)
Rod of banishment (150 gp) (claimed by LMF)
Book of quirking a 2nd level warlock or sorcerer spell, single use (100 gp) (Claimed by Lucens)
Two organs that digest magic (150 gp each) (claimed by Raevori)
Second copy of the book of banishment from the Node towers (0 gp) (claimed by the LMF)
Magic book (1000 gp) (claimed by Melora for net 250gp, after selling the half plate page for 750 gp)
Medusa eyes (300 gp – Claimed by JP for reagent)
A technical book of some kind (120 gp – Tentatively claimed by JP depending on nature of contents)
3 world detail books (10 gp each – claimed by Sovan)
3 boring books (10 gp each – claimed by Sovan)

Pile of other valuable stuff that just gets converted directly to gold (lots)

Log:

DAY 1

It’s a nice day outside. We’ve been heading through 5.12 when we see a bunch of Blazing Banner heading into 6.13. Raevori’s decided to cast Invisibility and run on ahead, and then unleash her Fireball on them. We’ll see how this goes. It seems kind of reckless to me, but then again, this is only my first expedition since… Anyway.

Raevori runs ahead and lies down in a patch of grass, preparing to silently cast Fireball with Sovan’s inspiration. She Fireballs their wagon, blowing up 6 Blazing Banner. The outrider yells an alarm and runs away, out of our reach – but not Raevori’s. She dashes ahead and Firebolts him, killing him instantly as his horse runs away.

We investigate the smoking remains of the wagon. It looks like it had a load of stone, but there are some objects of value on one of the dead Blazing Banner – a sachet with 10 platinum, and a small garnet worth 25gp. The stone looks valuable, but we’re not about to waste our energy carrying it around with us.

(It’s weird writing in a book again. With a real hand. There are so many things I need to get used to about having a physical body. Things you wouldn’t think of. It’s always the strangest feeling.)

We head into 6.13 and see a patrol of Blazing Banner, riding along toward their headquarters. We try to stealth past – at any rate, the rest of the party does somewhat successfully, and I clank along in my chain mail. We do manage to avoid them, thankfully.

We head into 7.12, approaching the bridge. We see a small construction being built on the end of the bridge toward us, with some Blazing Banner working on it. Sovan decides to go up and say hi (of course).

As they spot us, they move into a defensive position. Sovan is walking up to them; one of them shouts “Stay back! This is our bridge”. Sovan asks why we can’t cross, and they say it’s because it’s their bridge – things came across the bridge a while ago and killed a bunch of them, so now they won’t let anyone else cross. Sovan asks “what kind of things?” They describe “dog-faced things with silver bands”. Sovan exclaims “we hate those things! If we cross the bridge, we’ll be more likely to kill them, and then they won’t bother you!”

They decide to let us cross. (Oh, Sovan. You are so persuasive. Even when you’re babbling.)

We head toward a couple of big fortresses – the Qua and Blazing Banner fortresses in 7.12. Quincy suggests that we head between them and then duck out and let them kill each other trying to find us. Lucens suggests we head to the south and avoid them. Raevori thinks we should head close enough to see if the dog-faced things are there, and we follow her lead.

The fort appears to be empty, as Raevori checks it out through the eyes of her falcon, Aelthrunn. There are weapons on the ground, with blood spots, but no bodies. We head in to take a quick look around.

As we search, Lucens finds that the fort has been meticulously picked over and cleaned – anything more interesting than a bow or some arrows has been taken, and there is not a single dead body anywhere in the fort. There isn’t even very much blood, even though it seems like whatever happened here didn’t happen that long ago. It’s… unsettling. There is definitely something magical about what happened here.

Quincy sniffs it out and gets a good sense of the smells around here – it smells kind of like the dog-faced things. Raevori, checking her arcane knowledge, finds that it was probably a Scorching Ray that emptied out this fort. So now we know the dog-faced things have casters of some variety.

We move on southward, having sent Aelthrunn to find out that the other fort is also empty.

We head to the Church of the Road to sleep. The night passes uneventfully.

DAY 2

We head out northward to 9.11 through the forest. I’m a little nervous about fording the river once we get to it, but Quincy assures me I’ll be just fine. With my chain mail and everything. In water. Sure, Quincy.

We’re close to the dog-faced things at the eastern edge of 8.12. This is the high corruption area – the air tastes sour and the trees seem kind of… off. As we’re walking, we see a horrible twisted thing shambling toward us through the forest. It looks like a couple of corpses grew together… It’s horrible. It doesn’t move like undead, and I don’t feel the pull of the river – it’s not undead. Yamaa would maybe want me to put it out of its misery. But she’s not here. I’m going to avoid it with the others.

We’re now approaching the river, and as we do, we see the tower in the distance with a purple swirl around it. The air is incredibly humid and feels like a thunderstorm. Lucens takes an image of it to show Silesse, later. (He’s also going to let me call him Luke! He says it’s “refreshing”).

I hand out sandwiches. I figure we need to keep our morale up, what with this gross corruption feeling all around us.

Quincy sniffs the air and says he can smell the dog-faced things. The wind is blowing west, toward the Wilted Forest, and he says the source of the smell is not very far away. We decide to avoid the source as best we can. But the more we move, the more it seems to track us, no matter what direction we move in. It’s within 150 feet of us and is hiding very well.

Luke casts an illusion, but nothing seems to happen. Suddenly, I see leaves moving ten feet away from us. Luke fires a blast at the movement, but doesn’t hit anything.

The beings go visible just before attacking us – they look similar to the dog-faced things in tone and banding, but look catlike. Lean and long, they have two sets of massive fangs, and one of them swipes its claws at Luke (6 damage and 7 damage). Luke is down, and it takes a big bite out of his head (fail two death saves, temporary loss of 3 points of Int, 1 point of Cha).

The second one now goes after Raevori, missing with its teeth but swiping her with its claws (4 damage). I ring the Sleep Bell to cast Spare the Dying on Luke to get him up (11HP) and cast Shield of Faith on myself. Melora Smites the one that attacked Raevori (20 damage), leaving a bright white line across the thing’s black skin. Raevori Shatters both of them (10 damage). Luke, now up, casts Burning Hands on both of them (18 damage on the one who attacked him; 7 damage on the other). Sovan casts Vicious Mockery on the one who attacked Luke (6 damage). Quincy attacks the one on Raevori (6 damage) and the one on Luke (7 damage).

The first one aims at Luke again, but Sovan uses Cutting Words and it does no damage. Quincy also reacts to protect Luke (8 damage and disadvantage on attacks). It winks out of vision. The second one follows suit. Quincy sniffs the air as I cast Grave Lights – one of them is outlined in light. Luke hits it with a blast of necrotic energy (12 damage) and Melora runs up to grapple it. It is very injured by this point.

Raevori tries to go after the other one, but fails. Sovan runs in another direction and actually gets to it, killing it.

The pinned one tries to break out of Melora’s grip and fails. It bites Melora, fairly weakly (7 damage). We execute it without much difficulty.

(If I seem clinical and detached here, it’s because I’m… I don’t know how to describe this. It’s terrifying. It’s oddly exhilarating? I don’t know. Everyone seems so used to this kind of killing. I guess it’ll just have to take time for me.)

(I miss him.)

We take a bit of a rest and then go on, approaching the river. Oh, right, the fording. After all this, now it’s time to try and cross a deep river in chain mail.

But thank goodness – Quincy downs a tree and we manage to walk across pretty easily. So this is what he meant! Thanks, Quincy.

We push on, trying to get as far away from the forest as we can before we have to stop for the night. The rest of the day passes without incident, until finally we can see the city in the distance. It covers the northeastern section of 11.10, through 11.09 and into 12.09. We still can’t see any signposts with the name of this city. Odd, because of how big it is.

I find a very secure place for us to spend the night, which also passes without incident.

DAY 3

As we approach the city, we can see a few different areas of it. The south-most portion is made of destroyed white marble buildings and some newer wooden buildings which have still largely decayed. To the north, we see a tower made of white marble. To the east of the tower, there is a place built mostly of white marble with less of the wooden constructions.

We decide to go straight for the tower. It looks like the walls of the city have been damaged about 300 years ago, never having been repaired since. We remember what Silesse told us about the cities – Antorum is the richest city of the old empire, while Vanikzila was more of a sketchy port city that never fully submitted to Silanyan rule. We do see a lot of more recent construction in the rest of the city, it’s just the walls that appear damaged. Perhaps this is Antorum because of the marble… or maybe it’s Vanikzila, which was punished by the Silanyan leadership for its rebellions by never getting fixed up. We don’t know quite yet.

We see a church similar to that by the psionic beings who gave Sovan a thought on a prior expedition. It’s empty. As we pass on, we enter an area full of wooden shantytown constructions. The larger marble buildings seem significantly older than the wooden ones, and a lot of them show signs of having partially collapsed and been partially rebuilt. Suddenly we remember that Silesse told us Antorum was built mostly out of marble – so this must be Antorum!

We now head to the tower and see three very large muscly creatures with horns protruding from their heads, wearing breastplates and carrying shields as well as large axes. There is a pale greenish tint to their skin. They seem like they’re patrolling one of the streets near the tower.

Sovan, again, approaches them to say hi. “Hello, citizen,” they say. “Do you have a licence? If you don’t have a licence, we’ll be putting you in jail.”

“We were actually just on our way to get a licence, but we seem to have gotten lost. Which way do we go?”

“Practicing magic without a licence is illegal. You must come to jail.”

(Raevori, quietly: “The jail will have a lot of stuff. Let’s agree and then blow up their stuff!”)

Sovan tries to argue that he’s new here and will totally go get a licence if they tell him how to do it. They look at him confusedly.

“Where do we go to get a licence?”

“You don’t have a licence and you cast magic. We’re taking you to jail now. Come or die.”

(God, they’re stupid.)

Raevori loses her patience (of which she never seems to have very much, anyway) and casts Fireball silently after warning Sovan to dash out of the way, frying them (30 damage). They yell “Stop, thief!” and we attack.

Sovan casts Hypnotic Pattern, yelling “SHOWTIME!” as we all close our eyes. Two of them shake it off, but one of them is caught. Luke hexes one (14 damage). The other one charges Sovan and hits him (22 damage). It catches him with his horns and tries to slam him into a building, but he (amazingly) digs his heels in and stops it. Melora hits it with her javelin (6 damage). I pull out my Command bell and yell to the one that attacked Sovan, “GROVEL!” It kneels and falls prone.

(It feels pretty cool, I’m not gonna lie.)

Quincy hits the grovelling one (9+14 damage). The other, seriously injured one, goes to hit Quincy, but Sovan yells “SPOILER ALERT! NONE OF US HAVE LICENCES!” and it stops in its tracks. Raevori bounds up and misses it with a Freezing Ray. Sovan goes after the one that’s now on Quincy (13 damage and it runs away). Quincy lashes out with his chain, but misses it. Luke shoots it (11 damage). Melora throws a javelin at it, but misses. I cast Toll the Dead, ringing my Speech bell, and it falls! (10 damage.)

One having been killed pretty fucking (oops, sorry Fior) well, Quincy goes after the grovelling one with his chain (10+13 damage). We execute the one in the Hypnotic Pattern.

Holy balls, we’ve just killed three cops. As we examine their bodies, we see badges that say “Antorum Military Guard”. We take them (15gp each). Sovan, Quincy, and Raevori each put on a badge. I facepalm. I feel like killing cops is probably bad enough, but impersonating them? We’re definitely past the point of no return now.

Luke, tiredly, asks if we can go to the tower now. Yes, Luke. Yes, we can go to the tower now.

Quincy picks the lock with Sovan’s help and we look inside. Its layout is very similar to the one in Toba – a main central room with a staircase up, and visible markings of warding. Quincy finds a book (a manual for the killing of a demon), rod, and dagger in this tower, in the same place they were in the tower of Toba. It looks like the two towers are actually identical in layout.

As we rest, Quincy takes more of a look around. It looks like the casting chamber was blown up – the staircase is fine up to a certain point, but past that there are black scorch marks and the top floor has been basically… melted. Everything up to the third floor is alright, though.

As we look out through the window slots, we see that to the north of us are about five large estate buildings with substantial grounds in the middle of the city. There’s also a very large central building in a grand, distinctive style of architecture. To the northeast of us, we see a military district with a tall keep on the water. West of us is more of the shantytown wooden construction. Although we try to find more loot in the tower, we only find two new books in addition to the manual for the demon we already found with the rod and dagger.

We decide to check outside the tower before we rest – and thank goodness, because there are six massive cops outside. Raevori and I decide to surprise them with attacks out the window – Luke suggests to Melora that she barricade the door – and – but now apparently Sovan and Quincy want Luke to disguise them as cops and – and now Luke is making an image of a cop? No, wait, Sovan is now opening the first floor window and yelling “I’m a cop!”

They yell “Halt, thief! Halt, thief!”

Sovan holds up his badge and sticks out his head.

“Show badge! Out!”

One of them comes up and takes the badge, looks at it, says “Checks out! Regulations say not in there! Get out!”

“Chase thieves, got away, door stuck, leaving now,” says Sovan.

“Thieves here?”

“That way!” Sovan points.

And they run off in that direction yelling “Halt, thief! Halt, thief!”

Wow. They really are stupid.

And off we go. To the Keep! We cut through the market area, which is a mix of new and old construction in the two styles. A lot of the old construction looks like it’s been fixed, all pre-corruption. All the marble is in remarkably good condition, considering how long it’s been. It looks clean and bright.

I wonder where the normal citizens are? All we’ve seen are cops…

As we go through the market district, we hear whooping and hollering and we see a large number of five-and-a-half foot tall, burly looking things with unnaturally large eyes and scooped-beak-like noses, running around and smashing things. We’ve found the hooligans!

(Sovan, Quincy, and Raevori quietly take off their police badges.)

We duck into a buiding and they run down the street past us, kicking things and parkouring as they go. We keep going, passing the central market square area and heading to the Keep. Standing on the walls of the Keep are more cops (“police-otaurs” as Raevori says). We scope it out from a distance and move on.

We move on north, passing by a patrol of three more cops who nod to us. “Citizen.” We nod back. We then pass a group of blue psionic beings, who say “Sir” to the cops when they nod and say “Citizen”. (Interesting. I thought they couldn’t talk?)

Sovan thinks a friendly thought at them, letting them know that he’s interacted with them before. One of them says, “Oh, you traded with one of us? Hi. Who are you?”

“We are travellers from far away, coming to explore and learn more about this city. Do you live here?”

“Yes. Do you have anything interesting? We would trade.”

“Of course! Do you want the best song in the world?”

Sovan then hears in his head, his song. “We have it,” they say.

“Oh, do you guys share information? That’s awesome. I have a much worse song?”

“That’s okay.”

“No, it’s still good, it’s –“ And they turn away, focusing on the rest of us.

Raevori thinks about Fireball, Luke thinks about his “interesting experiences with personal agency”, whatever that means, and I think about the bells.

The bells instantly pique their interest. The blue thing reaches for my Thought bell and starts ringing it. Um.

“Do something interesting!”

Okay? Okay. I cast Grave Lights and they look at it curiously. “Do something else!”

After some consideration, I (consensually) cast Command on the blue one to make it dance. (A police-otaur wanders over, but Sovan shows it his badge and it wanders away again.) All of them start dancing at the same time, and then they suddenly stop.

“That was interesting! We will give you a thought.”

And they give me a thought of a single-use Jump spell!

Now it’s Melora’s turn, and she thinks about lifting things as it relates to her relationship with Valkor. She picks me and Quincy up and parades around with us on her shoulders. The psionic beings don’t seem very interested, unfortunately. (I found it great, though. Thanks Melora!)

Raevori summons up an image of her particular dodging technique. They understand it and say, “Go! Try!”

Raevori tells Quincy to try to attack her non-lethally. Quincy punches her, but Raevori manages to block it with a Shield. The psionic beings go, “Okay! Try us!”

She tries to attack them, but they easily step out of the way. “Try again!”

Finally, Raevori attacks them and they mirror her earlier actions, replicating her Shield block.

“That was good! We will give you a thought.”

And they give her a thought of Dominate Person! (Sovan: “That was definitely the best person to give it to.”)

Luke thinks about his experiences of resisting and overcoming the influences that acted on him in the past. They say, “We will give him a thought. Maybe we can help with a thought.”

And they give him a thought of Remove Curse! “This is the way we know to take things away.”

Luke says, “I appreciate very much your efforts. Thank you.”

Sovan thinks about inspiration as a concept, and inspiring them to do something cool. “What’s something you’re good at but is still hard?”

Suddenly Melora asks, “Do you like sad thoughts?”

“Sometimes good thoughts can be sad.”

Melora thinks about losing her fiancée, and having her childhood best friend go insane and start acting like her fiancée. (Oh, gods. Poor Melora. I really should spend some time with her. Note to self: take Melora out to lunch when we get back to Sila.)

They give her a thought that allows her to initiate telepathic contact on a one-use basis. “This is so you don’t have to be alone.”

They then turn back to Sovan. “Learning is hard. We want to learn more. We have things to learn that are hard to digest.”

Sovan inspires them and they usher us out of the street, taking us into what seems to be their home. They sit in a circle and are silent for about an hour. Suddenly, they come out of it and say, “We learned! We will give you a thought!” And Sovan gets a thought of Confusion.

Quincy asks them, “What do you want?”

“We want something new.”

“Okay, well, what’s old?”

“Things we have –“ and they start listing all the things they have.

Quincy offers to show them how to make the most of a given moment – i.e., Action Surge. Luke and Sovan both throw up obstacles on either side of him, and he Action Surges to hit both of them with his chain.

They like it, and they give him a thought of Misty Step.

“Okay, we have to learn now. Goodbye!”

“Wait,” Sovan says. “Can you share some stories about this place, and we can tell you some things about the places we’ve seen? What’s the deal with the bull guys?”

“Don’t do magic around them, don’t do thoughts, don’t break things, don’t go bad places.”

“Who are the hooligans we saw?”

“The Mindless.”

“What are bad places?”

“The Keep, the Tower, the other people’s places.”

“How many peoples are in the city?”

“Not many really, but if you go there they say Halt Thief and they chase you.”

“The estates?”

“Yes.”

“Where’s a safe place to sleep for the night?”

“This area is pretty good.”

“Where are the people who are not you, not the Hooligans, and not the police?”

“There are some places. They –“ and we get a picture of wasp-people, with segmented wasp bodies but human heads on top.

“Are they friendly?”

“No. There are some of them in one of the “other people’s” houses.”

“Which one?” And they show us.

“There is one of them who is too strong for us in the city. There’s a couple others we haven’t caught yet.”

“What’s ‘them’?”

We get a picture of the red thing that was with them last time.

“Would you like us to help you get that one?”

“We can’t get that one. It’s too strong.”

“If we got that one for you, will you reward us with powerful thoughts?”

“We are strong.”

“You can’t get that one.”

“If we made it very tired and hurt, could you get it then?”

“Maybe. It’s very strong. Every time we try to get that it makes an iron wall and we can’t get it.”

Sovan thinks at them about books – “If you can get us books, we can tell you what’s in the books.”

“Oh! Written thoughts!”

“And we can read them in return for getting to keep the physical book.”

“Oh! Yes!”

The red one, which is too powerful for them, is in the market district.

They also think at us about the beings in the north – massive blobs with large mouths, brightly-coloured – who are too strong for them as well, but whose magic they would like to take – who eat books.

We make a plan to meet them back here in three days – we will do what we can about these things in the meantime.

Sovan, in return for this information, tells them about Toba and the forests near here, as well as Lua territory. They think, “That’s not a good way to take things.”

When we’re barely at the door, Raevori says, “Guys, they’re mind-slavers.”

“Yep,” says Quincy. “Everything on this continent is an asshole.”

(At this point, I get out some sandwiches for everyone, and Luke is kind enough to take over the log for a while.)

Most of the next NE district is small houses – still fine, but not estates. Also many Government Buildings, a sort of civic / bureaucrats’ district. Slums all around the edge of the city even here.

(Broad structure – 5 estates centre, then Gov’t. buildings, surrounded by slum; then 2 more areas to be described.)

V. north end, slums stop – see at top of city, couple of v. tall stately buildings – still not in NE section of 12.09 – made of various materials, not white marble. Area around them, large # of long low buildings, old rotting inn signs, stores, around their base.

12.09 – farther NE – ritzy, marble townhouses. Rich persons’ homes. Merchants and nobles.

(Thanks Luke! I’m back now.)

We’re now in the rattier end of the city, with more of the shantytown constructions. Any books we find have now rotted away.

Continuing north, we find ourselves looking at a large greyish blob with three coloured blotches on it – a small dark reddish blotch, a small dark green blotch, and a stripe of silvery-white – as well as a mouth. As it sees us, its teeth start to gnash and it moves in our direction.

Quincy pulls out his badge and says, “Halt! You’re under arrest!”

An extremely long, disgusting tongue shoots out toward the badge. It’s attack time, I guess.

“Get out of here, jerk!” Sovan yells, and it… goes nowhere (3 damage, though). It slurps at the air, and then it goes to bite Quincy, who’s in front of all of us (12 damage). It then starts sprouting pseudopods out of its skin and shoots them at him (14 damage). The tentacle wraps around Quincy and tries to grapple him. Luke misses with an eldritch blast. I unsuccessfully try to Toll the Dead on it, but Raevori and Melora pummel it with blasts (41 damage).

Sovan heals Quincy, right before it tries to slam Quincy into a wall – and fails. Quincy attacks it with his chain, and Melora misses – and I miss – and Raevori misses. Fuck. (Sorry again, Fior.)

It tries to slam Quincy into a wall again, but Quincy resists. It spits three magic missiles at Quincy (8 damage) and the white stripe vanishes. Luke hits it (8 more damage). Melora and Raevori both hit it as well (11 each) and we take it down.

With Luke and Sovan’s assistance, Raevori finds that this thing has an organ that digests magic (worth 150gp), and that once this thing digests magic, it appears in a certain colour on its body. The red blotch is transmutation, and green is also transmutation. White is evocation. We hole up in a nearby tavern with a bunch of broken bottles of old alcohol and a sign that says “Student Special!”. We rest up for a bit and then get going again.

As we crest a hill, I see about five or six of the grey blobs. We decide to leave them alone. I also see another one concealed away, which looks like two lumps pulling apart from each other. Yay. Disgusting monster mitosis.

They are somewhat spread out, so we decide to find a two-storey building and shoot down from a window. The one near the building sees us as we’re setting up, but we manage to shut the door and barricade it in time. We all fire down from the window – Quincy and I miss, but Luke hits (12 damage). It takes a flying leap and adheres to the wall right below us. Fucking disgusting. A tentacle lashes out at Quincy and Luke – Quincy reacts and uses his chain to disadvantage the attack on Luke, but it hits Quincy (10 damage). Quincy braces himself against the window as it tries to throw him out.

Raevori and Melora hit it pretty respectably (20 damage) and Luke casts Burning Hands (4 damage). I miss again with a crossbow, and Quincy finally manages to cut it away from the wall with his chain. It splashes to the ground and he hits it again (5 damage). And it vanishes. Sovan tries to use Dissonant Whispers, but it seems to have teleported away rather than just disappearing. We go after it, Quincy sniffing as he goes, and we catch up to it. Quincy hits it (12 damage), and blocks its hit in return (another 6 damage). Luke shoots it (7 damage) and it puddles! I manage to extract the magic organ, with Raevori’s guidance (another 150gp).

I pass out sandwiches just as we realize two groups of Hooligans are approaching up from each direction. Great. Sandwiches will have to wait.

(AN: Quincy and I both roll opposed 19s for me to find out what Quincy’s favourite kind of sandwich is. I WIN. MY SANDWICH INTEL IS ON POINT.)

Raevori Blurs and shoots ahead, ready to cast Fireball. Luke makes a Silent Image near us of a crystalline statue depicting a police-otaur holding a shiny badge aloft and hexes one in the group Raevori will confront. I ready a Toll the Dead, and the rest of us prepare our attacks.

One group goes directly for Raevori, with only one of them managing to scratch her (4 damage). I Toll the Dead on that one (2 damage). Five of them leap over and start flailing at Luke’s image of the cop statue. One of them slashes at Quincy (9 damage).

Another squad of hooligans comes forward and tries to smash the police-otaur statue while coming toward us. I smash one of them with my mace (6 damage), Melora tries to stab at one with her javelin, and Sovan tries to punch another. One of them hits Luke (9 damage).

Raevori and Sovan now go – Raevori Fireballs the seven of them by the statue (22 damage). Raevori follows it up with a Shatter (13 damage, still no drops). Sovan also Shatters them (19 damage and they finally drop).

Whooping and screaming, two more come after Raevori (4 damage). Five more focus on Melora, two hitting (8 damage after reduction). Quincy wraps them with his chain (6 damage and some are Restrained) and hits the one on him (6 damage).

I heal Luke, who looks like he sorely needs it, and Melora uses the Drain power of her greatsword (21 damage, Melora heals for 9). Luke moves his hex over to the restained Hooligans (11 damage, toasts one, injures three). The group near Raevori tries to attack her and… all of them miss. Sovan yells “SHOWTIME!” and Raevori closes her eyes in time while seven out of eight get caught in a Hypnotic Pattern. The restrained Hooligans try to attack Melora and all miss. Quincy drops one (18 damage). Raevori hits another (7 damage).

I’m getting tired of this. These things are too fucking tough. I’m not sorry anymore, Fior. You’re really nice but we’re the ones on an expedition right now. This is live flavour.

I hit one of them with Toll the Dead (12 damage) and drop it! In return, another scratches me. A light ouch. (1 damage)

Luke backs off a bit and the one remaining Hooligan attacking Raevori misses her yet again. Raevori misses it. The restrained group tries to break out of Quincy’s chain and one of them manages to. Quincy hits that one (18 damage, but still up). Melora slashes with her sword and stabs one of them pretty hard (13 damage). I use Toll the Dead again, for the one on me, and hurt it a little more (3 damage). Luke shoots one on Raevori, right in the butt. (In the Hooligan’s butt. Not Raevori’s). (11 damage)

I’m going to cut this short because it is really long to write out. We kill them, except for three that run away. It takes a while, but we kill them.

We behead the dead Hooligans, thinking we can probably get a sweet police salary for them. We approach the police-otaur fort. WE ARE RIGHT. This is insane. They’re actually paying us!! (100 gold plus 10 scrip for 10 gold each.)

And we finally sleep. What a day.

DAY 4

We’re thinking of just looting this place now, starting with the fancy district. Why not? Melora, who is amazing by the way, can carry all the loot we get.

(Actually, everyone is amazing. Even Raevori, who treads a fine line between “amazing” and “terrifying”. As I write this, she’s making a chain of the Hooligans’ hands. I really hope she liked my sandwiches. I’m not about to get on her bad side.)

Not a super interesting day – we do a lot of sweeps of the ritzy areas. In the morning, we hear a screeching sound from some distance off, and Raevori scouts it invisibly. She sees an enormous brownish-green wyvern, and we hide from it as it swoops off to eat some Hooligans.

More searching. Yawn.

In the afternoon, we come across a barred door leading into a medium-sized mansion. Luke looks in through a window and sees some expensive brocade and nice statues. Quincy sniffs and detects some trap magic on the door… so Luke Mage Hands the window and it opens.

Without incident.

THESE PEOPLE ARE SO FUCKING STUPID.

Anyway. Valuable chandeliers, valuable statues. Plush ballroom, silk brocade, large shattered mirror. We get a vague scent of magic, which Raevori clarifies with her Detect Magic vision. It turns out that the statues are vaguely magical. I test out the stairs by throwing an object up them – it just clatters back down. Sovan goes up them, no problem, while Melora picks up one of the statues.

And Sovan sees someone coming down from above… screams… and gets Petrified. Turned to stone.

We all run to grab shards of the shattered mirror. Holy shit, it’s a Medusa. IT’S A MEDUSA.

Raevori prepares a Fireball as I aim – and miss – a Guiding Bolt, but also cast Shield of Faith on myself. Luke runs over to Sovan and casts Remove Curse to de-stone him, preparing a hex. And it works!! IT WORKS! Thank the GODS.

Melora pulls out her longsword and moves up the stairs to engage it, but misses. Sovan readies to cast Hypnotic Pattern after Raevori’s Fireball is cast. Quincy moves over to us to defend us from what’s surely coming.

It bites Quincy (28 damage). Raevori blind-fires her Fireball and misses Quincy by inches, hitting the Medusa (39 damage), as well as Shattering it (6 damage). Sovan casts Hypnotic Pattern successfully! Excellent! And we all blast it with our best attacks, FUCKING PULVERIZING IT. WE FUCKING PULVERIZED A MEDUSA, FIOR. WE’RE SO GREAT.

Okay. Adrenaline wearing off now. Holy shit, a Medusa. If you think about the convergence of crazy coincidences that led to Luke giving the psionic beings a good thought to them giving him Remove Curse to him managing to use it successfully on Sovan and Sovan not… being Petrified… fuck. Fuck. I can’t think about that. I’m not going to think about that. I’m… Deep breaths, Sarene. Deep breaths.

(Medusa’s eyes worth 300gp and are a crafting reagent.)

We get four books and Medusa’s eyes, as well as the chandelier crystals.

I can’t believe I said this was a boring day. I can’t believe I was so stupid. I’m… DEEP BREATHS SARENE, DEEP FUCKING BREATHS.

I can’t lose someone else. I can’t. I can’t.

Okay.

OKAY.

We sleep.

DAY 5

We get up and keep searching.

[AN: Talking about hypothetically having to send Sovan’s Petrified body back to the mainland to get cured by a cleric and David says “At least we could sculpt the hair to look better”. Amazing.]

The rest of our searching goes relatively smoothly, as the only police-otaurs who bother us instantly get deterred by our Shiny Official Badges. Except for one, who grabs an invisible Raevori as she tries to finagle one of their badges. It body slams her into the wall (20 damage) and the other one says, “MOVE ON NOW!”

We do not move on, and Sovan successfully Calms Emotions on the one holding Raevori, who lets her go. Luke and I both Command them to Grovel while the rest of the party attacks and kills them.

Quincy casually grabs a Hooligan hand from Melora’s necklace and fixes it to the end of a police-otaur’s dead claw. (“They’re hardly fucking Poirot.”)

We manage to avoid the wyvern again. (How weird is it that this shit is starting to sound routine?)

We come to a house that seems relatively normal and unmagical, and we find a book here that’s well hidden. The book is magical. We don’t open it. We’ve learned some lessons about caution today.

(45gp of stuff plus magical book and one other non-magical book.)

We finish our day by meeting with the psionic beings, who have a book for us. We read them a book in return. It is an incredibly boring book about an incredibly boring mayor of Antorum. They are unimpressed, until Sovan shares another more interesting one. “Okay,” they say. “We will continue to gather written thoughts.”

More errands. We go banking to try and get our scrip traded in. It works! And the suit of armour who serves us at the bank looks exactly like X-02 (but in these case there are several suits of armor like that). So we get our 100 gold and scram, sleeping in the police district again.

Well, we try. There are fucking police-otaurs training with their weapons RIGHT outside our sleeping place.

So we try to find another sleeping place, and… and there are more police-otaurs training.

On every street corner.

WE WRAP CLOAKS AROUND OUR FACES AND EARS AND FUCKING SLEEP.

DAY 6

Thank the Gods, they’re mostly done now and a third of them are actually asleep in the street.

We finally leave Antorum and head back home through the forest. We come across a ton of giant wasps fighting each other and Raevori Fireballs them (CR ¼, 20 of them). Mmm, caramelized wasps.

No, I’m not actually going to make a sandwich out of that.

We travel through 10.11 and at the bottom of the hex, we see a pair of Lua carrying one of the psionic beings upside-down. We obviously can’t have this. And Raevori fries them (lightning bolt), and we untie the psionic being.

“Oh, um, I have no thoughts for you. Thank you.” And he leaves. Goodbye, friend!

(AN re the Lua: “How do I aim for the Lua without hitting the little blue guy?” “Hit him right in the dick.” “It’s a small chance.” “It’s a small dick.”)

We sleep at the edge of 10.11.

DAY 7

We cross the river on the way back and… Raevori falls in the goddamn river. Quincy fails at rescuing her. And there’s a High Corruption silver-banded fuckface in the fucking river. Fuck. I just want to go the fuck home now, you guys.

Sovan Dissonant Whispers the thing. Quincy Chains a tree, grabs Raevori, and finally pulls himself and Raevori out of the river. The thing doesn’t resurface (CR 1).

We take a short rest and then head to the Church of the Road. We see a bunch of dog-faced things with Lua captives. They’re in three flying groups of 8. One of them starts to dive-bomb us. Raevori starts casting Fireball, Luke preps Burning Hands and hexes one at random, Sovan readies a Hypnotic Pattern, Melora and Quincy ready attacks, I Command one to “cluster” and it… flies closer to another one. Okay. I guess I can’t command them in a group, like I could with the psionic beings.

Luke’s Burning Hands downs one, while two are injured. Melora swings at a plunging one, and they all go after Sovan. Quincy Chains one out of the air (8 damage). Two of them hit Sovan, who is paralyzed for two rounds and gets moderately hurt (10 damage). Raevori toasts seven of them. Nine out of eighteen are now dead. Quincy kills two more.

The remaining flight descends. One misses me, another hits Luke and paralyzes him (8 damage) but gets hit by Quincy (9 damage).

One grabs Sovan and starts flying away with him. Melora jumps to try and grab him and gets paralyzed as well. I jump as well, grab him, but slip off. (8 damage to me)

Raevori casts Shatter on the ones flying away with Sovan. Two die, two are not strong enough to keep holding onto Sovan, and Quincy catches him, attacks with one hand, slings him to his other shoulder, off-hand attacks, then Action Surges and kills one of the remaining three on the ground (14 damage). Quincy is amazing.

One of the flying ones divebombs Luke and explodes into him (5 points of permanent Int damage, 10 points of temporary Int damage – he is in a coma). Another one flies at me and… misses, exploding in midair. The final one also flies at me and hits me, and honestly, I’m feeling pretty fucking rough. Thankfully we manage to kill that one and we get healed up.

Sovan goes to talk to the Lua, who is surrounded by four more paralyzed Lua. “I heard you were having trouble here?”

“Yeah, those things, they took one of us and made it that.” We see a little vat and a Lua body in there, slowly bubbling and turning black. I cast Sacred Flame and the tar dissipates.

Sovan says, “That’s awful. I’m so sorry. I’m glad we were here.”

Quincy hands them a card and says “Here’s our card. We’re in the area trying to make things better.”

“O…kay.”

We help carry the paralyzed Lua to Toba – after an hour, they loosen up and are able to walk for a bit. Sovan tells them about our explorations, but not in enough detail that they could actually retrace our steps.

We finally get home, after Sovan tells the bridge guards about all the High Corruption beings we’ve killed.

AND WE ARE FINALLY HOME.

I’m not going to put too much of a postscript on this. I can’t believe we nearly lost Sovan twice. I can’t believe Luke has sustained these horrific injuries. I can’t believe how strong Quincy, Raevori, and Melora are.

I can’t believe how much I miss Naveed, and at the same time, how I’m able to go on with my life like this while he’s… dead. While he’s dead.

I’m going to need a break before I go out again.

Yeah. That’s all.

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James_Elcombe JamesMinor

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