The Witch

The Thieves of Sun City
  • 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 “BRIGGER WAS HERE” 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.
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Crossing the Cerulean Bay
  • 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.
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Nethrecil's Defeat
  • 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.
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The Broken Tower
  • 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.
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A Call to Stonebridge
  • 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.
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