[ The party gets word of some cult needing extra hands ]
[ Simon, Maelic, Kela, and Benedict talk their way in and discover that they are preparing corpses for zombie rituals ]
[ Archibald shows up ]
[ Cilantro busts in and they start to fight ]
[ They defeat them, and head downstairs, fight more zombies ]
[ They interrupt a ritual being led by a dwarf, he escapes ]
[ Archibald chases him, but the dwarf releases a wide area attack into a crowd and escapes ]
[ The party interrogates the prisoners that were caught breaking into the graveyard ]
[ They take one of the prisoners with them for further questions ]
[ An old man (Frist) pleads with them to take him as well, the guards release him because he’s mostly harmless, just crazy ]
[ The party questions Frist about the arsons that have been happening in town. ]
[ Frist admits to being a (former) cultist of Vecna. ]
[ Frist shows the party that he is missing a hand, and the wound is kept fresh but in stasis by a magic bracelet. ]
[ The party convinces him to let them try to remove it. ]
[ Working together, the party manages to remove it, and they properly heal his wrist (but without being able to replace the hand). ]
[ Frist tells the group about a small temple in the eastern quarter of the city, which the other prisoner corroborates is where they were supposed to deliver the bodies that they were asked to steal. ]
[ Frist also tells them that Dokus, one of the dwarven priests, is in league with the cults. ]
[ The party sets out to speak with Felis, the other dwarven priest, in the hopes that they will be able to get help against Dokus, his brother. ]
[ Felis is unwilling to believe that Dokus could be working with the cults, and is convinced that the party simply misunderstands the idea of the duality of their deity. Felis invites them to meet them both for dinner that evening. ]
Several days pass, and the Witch lets the party know that she has gotten word from Taegwyn Valley. The foulspawn did not remain underground, but have spread out to the surface and have started raiding and pillaging through the valley.
There has been no specific word at all from Toreagn, but the Witch assumes that it has fallen, and gives Cilantro the dwarven crown that the party retrieved. She asks that Cilantro stay with her and help fortify against the dark things in the world, rather than throwing himself back into Toreagn and dying uselessly.
Benedict, intensely interested in how the hobgoblins came to worship Vecna, makes friends with Ethus and peppers him with questions about it.
Ethus eventually explains that an old human came to the tribes in the Fellwind Moors many years ago, and started the priesthood.
Most of the tribes have abandoned the traditional worship of Bane, instead following Vecna.
Ethus doesn’t know where the man has gone, though he left the tribes some time ago. He is fairly sure that the man was originally from the Castle’s Cross area.
After some downtime, the Witch asks the party what they want to do next. The news from Taegwyn Valley is not good, and she forbids the group from going there, but other than that she wants to know what they think would be best.
The party suggests that they travel to Castle’s Cross to investigate this man and the cult of Vecna. She agrees.
She sends Ethus and Norik with the party so that the party can keep an eye on them, and so that the two hobgoblins can learn more about what they do.
The party uses a teleportation circle to get to the Sun City Academy of Magic, and then books passage on river ship travelling up to Castle’s Cross.
The party spends as little time as possible in Sun City, to give the Thieves Guild a wide berth, but they do discover that the city is going into a sort of lock-down because of the Aberrant threat from Taegwyn.
The party travels up the river to Moonfall uneventfully.
Upon arrival, the group finds an inn and then begins their investigations.
Maelic attempts to meet with the leader of the arcane section of the Castle’s Cross contingent of the North Border Guards.
Maelic is informed that he is unable to meet with Commander Allamer, Castle’s Cross’ head magus, since he is away travelling the border. He instead meets with Lt. Commander Terris.
Terris tells Maelic that he is unaware of any cult activity within the city, however he does recall that there were some issues with some youth raiding a cemetary.
Maelic asks to speak with the youth, and Terris says that he will arrange for that the next day.
Cilantro seeks out the dwarven community in the northern quarter.
Cilantro finds a likely, well-populated inn and begins to attempt to recruit dwarves to his cause, proclaiming his right to the crown of Toreagn.
His attempts are laughed at, and he is told that the dwarves here have not considered themselves beholden to Toreagn for generations.
Cilantro learns that this dwarven community is led by a pair of brother priests, representing the duality of their deity — one for light and openness, one for darkness and secrecy.
An old dwarf takes pity on Cilantro and suggests that dwarves aren’t going to follow someone just because he waves around a bit of old jewellery.
The old dwarf suggests, instead, that he think about what he can do to prove his usefulness and his leadership.
The rest of the party goes to speak with the groundskeeper of the cemetery.
The crotchety old groundskeeper explains that recently there seems to be a rash of young people breaking into the cemetery.
He doesn’t think they’ve successfully stolen anything yet, but he’s glad that the guards have finally arrested someone for it.
The party leaves the cemetery, without new information.
The squad enters the city’s sewers to cross the walls into the Nobles’ Quarter.
The squad explores the sewers, finding them mostly empty. They come to a large, vertical shaft with a grating at the top. They estimate that they are under the Nobles’ Quarter at this point.
There is a rumbling, like something massive shaking at the bottom of the shaft.
The squad retreats and circles back, attempting to find a way up to the street. They eventually find a different tunnel leading to the shaft, this one with a ladder. The grating at the top of the ladder is locked, but they begin forcing the lock.
The rumbling gets louder, and a dragon climbs into the tunnel from the shaft. Its hide looks to be made of rock, and its presence causes massive tremors in the area. Kela identifies it as an earthquake dragon, a kind of elemental dragon with power over earth.
Kela attempts to reason with the dragon but it is thoroughly maddened with pain. Its mind is firmly in the grip of an aberrant magic.
The group fights the dragon just long enough to break the lock and escape the sewers. They make haste away from the shaft, and the dragon doesn’t seem interested in following them up to the street.
The party checks through a number of noble houses, notably one protected by a magic field. The group finds quite a bit of money and a magical hammer, untouched by the foulspawn thanks to the field.
The group hears a hobgoblin bugling in the distance, indicating that they have found the crown and giving coordinates for regrouping.
The squad travels quickly and reaches a palace where the hobgoblins are coming together.
Maelic makes a new friend in the group, another hobgoblin priest named Ethus. They bond over a shared appreciation of necromancy — a scholarly interest, of course.
The combined force makes its way into the palace and meets a group of foulspawn. The foulspawn do not seem to treat the group as a threat, instead inviting them into the main throne room of the palace.
Within the throne room, a robed figure reveals itself to be a mind flayer, and it has the crown. The group quickly asks for advice from the Witch and she advises them to get out of there as fast as possible.
The doors slam shut, trapping Maelic and Ethus within the throne room and the rest of the group outside. The foulspawn in the hall attack the force trapped outside.
In the throne room, the mind flayer has clearly placed some sort of compulsion on Thondry. Thondry swears allegiance to the mind flayer. The room, partly mind-controlled and partly not, erupts into chaos.
The fight outside is interrupted by a series of powerful shakes and rumbles, and the earthquake dragon from earlier bursts out of the floor. Kela approaches it again, non threateningly, and convinces it that the ones who caused it pain are behind the throne room doors.
The dragon throws itself against the doors, tearing them off their hinges and joining the chaos of the two fights together.
Seizing the opportunity, Benedict changes himself to look like Thondry, and strides into the throne room and grabs the crown. The mind flayer is confused but quickly sees through the deception.
The mind flayer is unable to act on its knowledge, as it is then attacked by the earthquake dragon.
The party runs.
Seeing no way for the group to escape, Jame halts, salutes Cilantro, and stands strong against the enemy to give them time to run. Cilantro wants to stand with him but Maelic convinces him otherwise.
The group runs until they are able to duck into an abandoned house undetected. They tell the Witch that they are returning, and teleport back to Amachey.
Norik the bugler, and Ethus the priest, escape with them, but Jame is lost. The Witch agrees to take on and find work for Norik, Ethus, and Calth.
Conrad, Moonshine, and Brigger are reassigned onto a different team and sent north on a scouting mission to find out if anything useful remains in the ruins within The Burn.
The rest of the party is summoned to the Witch. They are introduced to Kela, a bard that has come to Amachey following rumours of work for competent folk. The Witch asks Kela to accompany the party on their next assignment.
The Witch gives Kela a magical brooch that will allow them to stay in contact telepathically.
The Witch then introduces them to their next assignment. In her efforts to make diplomatic contacts with as many other peoples as possible, she has invited Cumin Spezerei, the head of the dwarven enclave in the city of Toreagn.
Toreagn was once a dwarven kingdom within the Windborn Peaks, but the kingdom fell during the Times of Madness and the dwarves have lived on the surface ever since, in what used to be a small trading outpost.
Cumin has asked, in exchange for alliance with Amachey (including monetary and military support as well as craftsmen and architects) that the Witch send one of her rumoured bands of adventurers into Toreagn to retrieve the lost crown of the Spezerei line.
Cumin also asks that the party take with them his son, Cilantro, who up until then has been a thorough disappointment, showing absolutely no interest in the path of the warrior and instead becoming a priest of Pelor, of all things. His hope is that travelling with a band of real adventurers will toughen him up.
The party agrees to the assignment.
After some discussion of how best to travel to Toreagn, Cilantro realizes (based on the party’s description) that Foss Wyadd, the monastery where he has been receiving his training as a cleric, has a teleportation circle in its courtyard.
Teleporting to Wyadd, while expensive, will cut weeks off their journey, and so after finishing their preparations, they teleport to Foss Wyadd.
The Witch sends with them a scroll of teleportation, in the event that they find themselves in need of a quick escape back to Amachey.
The party teleports to Foss Wyadd, where they stay briefly before leaving for Toreagn.
The party travels quickly up Taegwyn Valley, arriving at Toreagn without incident.
Cumin invites them to stay for a night before heading into the mountains. They do so, making sure that they have what supplies they’ll need.
Cumin, on behalf of Toreagn, sends two dwarf warriors with the party, Jame and Calth.
In the morning, the party sets out. On the way to the entrance to the kingdom, they discover signs that some sort of warband has passed through there recently.
The party proceeds cautiously, and finds the gate broken open. Entering, they surprise a small hobgoblin raiding party and defeat them handily.
The party continues on and enters the city of Toreagn. The city is full of activity.
While exploring, the party comes upon a group of deformed, monstrous humanoids. Kela identifies them as foulspawn.
Cilantro and Calth leap through a window while the rest of the party battles the foulspawn. Eventually the foulspawn are defeated.
Further exploration leads the party to a group of hobgoblins engaged in a skirmish with a force of foulspawn. The hobgoblins are greatly outnumbered and attempting to fall back, so the party leaps into the fray and helps them to escape.
The hobgoblins, impressed by the party’s skills, invites them to band together with them to return to their main camp.
The party goes along with the hobgoblins despite Cilantro’s protests.
The party is taken to a semi-fortified camp in the middle of the city, where the hobgoblin forces have made their stand. They are taken to meet with the heads of the hobgoblins.
The hobgoblins have a joint leadership between a number of officers and a group of black-robed priests, who make no secret of the fact that they worship Vecna.
The hobgoblin leader, Thondry, explains that they have been sent to attempt to retrieve the dwarven crown. If the party is willing to help them find it, they are grateful for the help.
Benedict convinces Thondry that the party is uninterested in taking the crown for themselves, and that the terms of their contract simple says they need to find the crown, not retrieve it. The party quietly makes plans to make off with the crown once the hobgoblins have helped them find it.
The party is assigned to be its own squad, and given orders to make for the Nobles’ Quarter along a particular route. No one knows exactly where the crown is, but their best guess is that it will be in that quarter.
Their squad is filled out with hobgoblins — a priest named Kruth, a great-weapon fighter named Morrik, an archer named Jasith, and a bugler named Norik.
Kela and Norik compare notes on music, and Kela begins to learn some of the hobgoblin bugle language.
The squad crosses the city, avoiding all but one altercation with a group of foulspawn.
The teleportation spell goes slightly awry. Brigger, Marissa, Kashla, and the pirates arrive in the Witch’s tower without the party.
The party finds themselves trapped in a between world, where they are confronted by a faceless, nameless creature.
The creature taunts them, intimating that it is privy to their communications with the Witch (communications that are cut off in the between world).
The creature tells them that it would be willing to make its own deal with them, much as it had with the Witch, and that it will be in contact with them in the future.
The party is released, and finally finish their teleportation to the Witch’s tower. A few days have passed since the rest of the group arrived.
The Witch presses the party for details, and when they explain, she is aghast.
The party, in turn, presses her for information. She seems reticent to respond, but eventually explains fully.
The Witch, she explains, is technically a disciple of the Lords of Madness, the sanity-destroying creatures from the Far Realms that invaded the world and destroyed Boros a hundred and fifty years previous. She, herself, is directly responsible for at least part of the magic which brought them into the world.
She explains that during the Times of Madness, she came to realize and regret her mistakes, and hid herself away in the Windwood. She found the elves, practically wild, and taught them about building and civilization and magic.
Her magic is warlock magic, meaning that she entered a pact with the Lords of Madness in exchange for her power. She has since found loopholes in that contract which allow her to extract some magic from them without actively helping them in any way.
She confirms the party’s suspicions that they most likely met one or more of the Lords in the between world, and she expresses extreme discomfort that they are apparently privy to their thoughts. She cautions the party to be careful with the telepathic link.
Having completed her assignment in Sun City, she gives the party some time off, allowing them to rest and resupply, to see Amachey’s rebuilding efforts and how the pirates and Brigger, Marissa, and Kashla are fitting into their new life there.
The party explains that they arrived via a teleportation circle. The guards are disbelieving but summon a headmaster anyway.
Portello and Varsus arrive to investigate. They are taken to a sitting room.
Varsus recognizes Maelic immediately, but Simon keeps himself hidden and anonymous. While Portello speaks with the rest of the party, Varsus takes Maelic aside to talk with him.
Portello thanks the party copiously for thwarting the sahuagin’s invasion of the college, and as payment puts them and the pirates (that are still tagging along) up in a nearby inn.
The party checks into the inn, and formulates their plans.
The party splits up and travels about town, looking for information in their own ways.
Archibald becomes a tree and eaves drops in a common area in the city.
Benedict and Simon talk with people, getting information about the Thieves Guild. It seems that the Guild has been on alert because of Brigger’s presence, lending credibility to the rumors that he exists, and that he is in Sun City.
Moonshine investigates the regent’s palace, eavesdropping on some servants who are gossiping about the rumors that Brigger is in town.
Conrad spends time with the pirates, becoming friends in particular with Orryn.
Maelic meets with an old friend/mentor of his, a hedge-wizard named Hirram. Hirram says he will look into it, and asks Maelic to return later that evening for more information.
Through a new “friend”, Crow, Benedict meets with Vindicharm, who gets him job working for the Thieves Guild a few nights hence, to act as some muscle in an expected altercation with another gang.
The party reconvenes that evening, and head out to meet with Hirram.
When the party arrives at Hirram’s, they are met by a group of assassins from the Guild. Hirram attempts to turn the party over to them in exchange for his life, but he is killed instead during the ensuing battle. The party defeats the assassins.
As the party returns to their inn, they notice a shadowy figure watching their movements, but are unable to catch it.
Since the previous day was not terribly fruitful, the party decides to hire an investigator to help them get information around the city. Portello suggests a man that he has worked with in the past as a courier and investigator, named Rin.
Maelic and Benedict go to hire Rin, who they find living on a friend’s couch (Marissa). He seems happy to find some work.
They briefly explain that they are looking for the legendary thief Brigger. He seems surprised that they believe he exists, but he says he will contact people he knows and see what he can find out for them.
Rin arranges to meeting with them regularly so he can tell them what he’s found.
The party spends the next few days collecting not very much information, and decide to go ahead with taking on the job that Benedict found, in the hopes that they will get some more information from the Guild.
Benedict beings impersonating a man named Depectorth, with whom the Thieves Guild has had some sour dealings in the past, and is brought in to meet with Nobile. Benedict talks his way out of it and escapes.
Maelic, Simon, Benedict, and Archibald meet with the group working for the Thieves Guild. They are taken into the catacombs below the city.
As their first stop, the group is taken to a zoo or menagerie of strange creatures, including a shadowy horse (Brigger is rumoured to have a horse made of flames and shadow) and a young girl who is clearly sorcerous or psychic somehow.
The group feeds the various creatures, and some of them (non party members) do not survive the ordeal.
The group is then taken and stationed outside some sort of vault, and told to prepare to be attacked.
Conrad, Moonshine, and Rin take an altogether different route into the catacombs, Rin leading the way. They stealthily make their way in without encountering any resistance.
The group outside the vault is eventually attacked, and they fight a battle with the other gang.
Conrad, Moonshine, and Rin show up near the end of the battle and help to finish it off.
The party, reunited, decides to use the chaos of the attack, still ongoing, to break into the vault. They steal what they can, and leave an inch of sea water, a goat, and the words “BRIGGERWASHERE” scrawled on the wall in blood.
The party fights their way to the menagerie. Rin is concerned about the young girl, and the party eventually decides to simply let loose all of the creatures to further the chaos.
Rin also appears to be familiar with the shadowy horse. He gives Maelic a figuring with which to control, dispel, and summon the horse.
The party confronts Rin, and asks him outright if he is, in fact, Brigger. Rin admits that he is, though his grandfather was responsible for most of the legends. He also explains that the young girl is, Kashla — Marissa’s daughter (but not his).
The party escapes the catacombs and heads back through the city to their inn. They invite Brigger to go along with them, and he agrees on the condition that Marissa and Kashla come as well.
They collect Marissa, as well as Hurn and her pirates and make for the Magical Academy to teleport away.
The party is caught by assassins at the gate of the Academy. They fight through them, and despite some bad injuries make it inside.
They make their way through the Academy, making it clear that the guards need to defend it from possible Thieves Guild attack, and make it to the teleportation circle and away before they can be questioned by any of the wizards at the Academy.
The party rests for a few days, then the witch contacts them for their first assignment.
The witch explains that she is thinking that her time as a recluse needs to end, and so she needs to start reaching out to the rest of the world.
In addition, she wants to start accumulating followers to help her do things. She explains that she is unable to leave the village, so she needs adventurers to help her. She is hesitant to send her elven apprentices and guards by themselves, since they are unfamiliar with the world outside.
She asks that the party do two things: accompany a small contingent of elves (including Lethressa) to Cerule to meet with the officials there to offer apologies for the undead scare and attacks, and to continue on to Sun City to track down a legendary thief named Brigger, rumoured to currently be in Sun City.
The party agrees and travels with the diplomatic contingent to Cerule.
Archibald checks up on his boat and looks for a carpenter that can help him with an idea he’s had (goaded on by Conrad’s false tales of the ancient Borosian land fleet), combining a boat and a wagon into a “land boat”.
The party meets with Cerulean officials along with the diplomats, and helps smooth things over.
The party enjoys a night or two in Cerule, and discuss their options to get to Sun City from there.
Crossing the Gorimar Plains is dangerous and will take a week or more. They hear that bandits and gnolls have been harassing travellers on the highway.
Crossing the Cerulean Bay is also dangerous, but much faster. There have been reports of ships disappearing as they cross, and so trade across the bay has slowed to a crawl.
The party decides to go with the faster route, finding a captain that will take them across. They find one captain, and Benedict haggles with him.
The ship sets out across the bay.
On the second day, the party’s ship is attacked by a pirate ship. The party leaps to the defence of the ship and engage in a battle across the two decks.
As the pirate captain, a big half-orc wielding a massive great axe, emerges from the lower cabin, a giant kraken attacks both ships, breaking them to pieces and dragging everyone under the sea.
The party wakes up in the courtyard of a strange castle. The castle appears to be on the bottom of the sea, with a magical bubble keeping the water out. Benedict examines the bubble thoroughly, ending up using the water to determine the volume of the inside of their magic chests, and taking with him a chest full of sea water.
The surviving members of the pirate crew ended up at the castle with them. Hurn, the captain, agrees to work with the party until they can escape. Along with her, there is Orryn, a gnomish wizard, Smelly, a minotaur warrior, and Gnash, a gnollish archer.
The group searches the castle thoroughly, splitting up to cover it more completely. They discover signs that something has been there recently, and proceed cautiously.
On the second floor, one of the groups encounters a party of sahuagin (which Benedict declares to be called sea-wagons, but he is unsuccessful in convincing them of this), which attacks them.
On the ground floor, the pirates are waylaid by another larger group. After dispatching the group upstairs, the party rushes to their aid and help to defeat the sahuagin. Their leader, a large four-armed sahuagin, surrenders his belongings in exchange for his life, and escapes.
Among his belongings the party find a ritual scroll for a teleport spell, and a drawing of what appears to be a teleportation circle. Further investigation of the castle reveals a teleportation circle on the top floor of one of the towers, with a different sequence than described on the paper.
After debating their options a bit further, the party decides that their only real option is to take a chance and teleport to wherever the sahuagin were headed. The pirates agree to go along with them.
They cast the teleportation and step through into a room crowded full of boxes, chests, wardrobes, and the like. The party is unable to discern their whereabouts so instead they begin to open the containers.
The containers are all manner of things, many of them magical. After an explosion, releasing a large cloud of bats, and other such things, a guard appears, throwing open a door and demanding to know who they are and why they are in this storage room in the Magical College of Sun City.
The party returns to Cerule in Archibald’s boat. He puts it into storage there.
The party heads back toward Stonebridge and the Windwood.
Along the way, they meet a young girl, Newt, survivor of an attack on a small farming village. They give Newt a horse and tell her to ride back to Cerule, to warn the paladins and priests of Pelor there to prepare for invasion, in case they are unsuccessful.
The party finds the small cave that leads into the catacomb and leave the sign for Lethressa. After resting for the evening, Lethressa finds them and leads them back into the city.
Lethressa brings them to the witch’s tower, where they discover one of the undead mages demanding angrily to be let into the tower. The elven guards are refusing to allow him, since there is no good reason for them to enter then.
The undead mage grows increasingly irate, and his retinue of undead begin drawing close for a fight.
A crowd has gathered, and Benedict begins trying to turn the crowd against the undead. Simon and Maelic help by using some magic to “throw the first punch” and they succeed in inciting a riot.
In the confusion, Lethressa and the guards get the party into the tower.
The party races to the witch’s study and deliver the components they have recovered to the apprentices there. The apprentices, lead by Lethressa, begin the ritual that will free the witch.
In the meantime, the forces of the undead have broken into the tower and make their way up the stairs. The party fights the undead in the antechamber outside the witch’s study, hoping to buy the apprentices time to complete the ritual.
The party successfully beats back the undead long enough for the ritual to complete. The witch awakes.
The witch is grateful to the party for their help, asking if they will help her take care of Nethrecil. The party agrees.
The party, with the witch, proceed through the village to Nethrecil’s mansion. They find it empty, and they agree to split up to search for him.
Benedict asks if the witch has some sort of item or magic that would enable the group to communicate over a distance. After some thought, she cuts her palm and smears the blood on her lips, then kisses each of the party members on the forehead.
The party finds that they are able to hear each others’ thoughts, and the witch’s as well. She imparts a good description of Nethrecil mentally, and then they split into groups.
One group searches Nethrecil’s basement. They discover a secret passage into a section of the catacombs, and begin to explore it.
The group finds a fork in the tunnel, one way leading back toward the service and the other down towards a powerful source of active arcane power.
They are accosted by an undead mage and its retinue of skeletons. The group summons the rest of the party mentally.
Benedict disguises himself as Nethrecil, and thoroughly inspects the mage, confiscating his robe and wand, under the pretense that there are invaders in the village impersonating him so he must be careful. He sends the mage off somewhere else.
The group searching the streets gets a sense of what’s happening, giving help to the elves when they can. They eventually receive the summons from the other group and they make their way down into the catacombs.
The party and the witch converge on the fork and head downward. They discover a vault door which they manage to open.
The party enters the vault, which turns out to be a laboratory of sorts. Nethrecil and some of his zombie assistants are there.
They are performing some sort of ritual/experiment on a young white dragon, apparently replacing parts of its living body with undead parts instead.
The witch leaps at Nethrecil, transforming into some sort of shadowy monstrosity before they both wink out of existence.
Nethrecil’s assistants attack the rest of the party, and during the battle the dragon escapes from its chains. It attacks everything, driven mad by the experiments, and eventually the party defeat both it and the zombies.
The witch reappears, alone and covered in blood. She leads the party back to the tower.
On the way, the party sees that the fighting in the city is winding down. The undead mages seem to have deserted the area, leaving only relatively mindless zombies and skeletons.
Maelic manages to exert his will over and “capture” a skeleton, giving it the command to follow him.
The witch takes them to her tower, grateful for their help. Then, she breaks the bad news: The way that they are able to communicate telepathically is, in fact, a curse that she has laid on them.
The curse allows her to spy on their thoughts and speak to them mentally. It also allows her to cause them intense pain and eventually kill them, simply by wishing it.
She expresses regret about the curse, saying that she shouldn’t have cast it but in the heat of the moment it seemed the most efficient way to keep them in touch. She explains that, because of the rules of the curse, she is unable to end it directly, and she can’t help them end it themselves.
She promises, however, to not directly prevent them from figuring out what they need to do, as much as she is able. She also offers to give them employment; she doesn’t want to keep cursed adventurers in her employ, but while they are stuck with each other she promises to keep them fed and housed and well-paid.
The party considers her offer, and accepts it. She gives them Nethrecil’s mansion to live in, and a few days’ rest.
Maelic, Moonshine, Simon, and Conrad travel to Cerule, then follow the old highway east towards the site of the wizard’s tower. They arrive there without troubles on the road.
In the abandoned, ruined town under the tower, they meet a travelling paladin, Benedict, who has come to the town investigating reports of the activity of a cult of Vecna in the area.
Independently, Archibald, a psion has come from his island monastery to the mainland, intent on learning more about the mainland and tracking down the truth behind some reports of aberrant activity.
Benedict and Archibald join the party in their investigations.
Outside the tower, the party discovers a group of black-robed hobgoblins, preparing some sort of ritual. It appears to be something involving matter transference, but they don’t appear to be any particular threat so the party leaves them be.
The tower itself looks suspiciously like the witch’s tower from the elven village near Stonebridge.
Inside the entrance, they are attacked by some old homonculous guards. After defeating them, they explore the tower thoroughly and find nothing of any particular import. They do discover a trap door leading down into the earth, however.
They follow the trap door down, and explore the basements of the tower. They encounter some slimes in the corridors. They discover a couple of chests which appear to be magically and mundanely protected from intrusion in a closet. Simon manages to get them both open and they turn out to be a chest of holding with some letters and some magical items inside.
They discover a half-finished, abandoned ritual that Simon completes to summon a couple of lesser demons, which the party then dispatches.
They make their out of the basements onto the shores of a natural underground lake. A pile of slightly-magical rock indicates the remains of a recently destroyed golem. There is a hole in the roof of the cavern which matches up roughly with where they noticed the group of hobgoblins preparing a ritual, and signs that a boat had been hastily patched and taken from the shore.
The party searches the area, discovering a system of locks allowing boats passage from the lake to the ocean, and back again.
The party bundles itself into Archibald’s boat and sail eastward after (they hope) the hobgoblins.
The party finds some well-patched boats poorly hidden on the shore and make their way up the cliffs to confront the hobgoblins.
After a bit of internal miscommunication, Moonshine rushes the hobgoblins and starts a fight. The party handily defeats them all, ransacks their camp, and beats a hasty retreat when they hear something large crashing through the forest toward them
In the things taken from the hobgoblins, the party finds both the components that they need to free the witch, and also proof that the hobgoblins are Vecna worshippers, an unusual thing for a band of hobgoblins.
Archibald and Benedict decide to stick with the group to see through the freeing of the witch.
Moonshine, Maelic, Simon, and Conrad meet as four mercenaries who have traveled to Stonebridge to answer a call for adventurers to help with a problem the town has been having.
They are commissioned along with another group to investigate reports of “demon elves” raiding the outlying farms of the town, coming from the nearby Windwood where local folklore reports there lives an evil, hideous witch.
The party sticks around to investigate in town, other group heads out of town to investigate the woods. Party intercepts one of the other group returning, chased by elven archers. They rescue the adventurer and capture one of the archers and get some information about the raiding; it is in fact the elves.
The party travels to the Windwood and are met with organized resistance, including towers, barricades, and elves working alongside undead creatures.
The party is met by a force of spell-casting undead outside a massive magically erected bone wall wrapped around the elven village. The party is beaten and captured and thrown into the catacombs beneath the village.
The party is woken by a young elf, Lethressa, who claims to be a student of the witch. She has nursed them back to health and promises to lead them out of the catacombs. They are accosted by ghouls and zombies formed from the fallen members of the other adventurer group, but they escape.
The party travels with Lethressa to the witch’s tower, where they find that the witch has been captured within a trap laid by her head apprentice, Nethrecil. Maelic is able to contact her magically. She asks the party to travel to an abandoned wizard’s tower a few days’ travel away to retrieve some components that she needs to break the spell. The party agrees to help.
Lethressa leads them out of the village through the catacombs. She agrees to check the exit (which only she knows about) daily, looking for signs of their return. The party sets off for the wizard’s tower.