Chapter 2: A Tiefling & An Aasimar Walk Into A Bar
Having emerged from the ground water tunnels on the northwest shore of Lake Shonoc, the party looked across the lake and saw the tower in which they had awakened in imprisoned. Having battled a couple of patrols of bullywug patrols, the party seized up the shoreline realizing it was rather marshy. They decided to make camp further into the forest proper away from tunnel and shore. Resting for the evening, the next day the party wakes with the dawn.
John Doorson decides to take this time to study one of the spell books discovered in the tower rooms. The spellbook written in common reveals the process for casting Burning Hands, Cure Wounds, Raise Dead, Ray of Sickness, Silent Image, and Healing Word. Nym and Asher are each in their own way mediating around the campfire as Roben sharpens the short sword he took with him out of the dungeon. The party discusses what to do next, specifically where to go.
After consulting their map of the county, they decide to trek further northwest through the forest in the hopes to find a road or the town of Foxon. As the party proceeds through the uninhabited forest after a few hours they stumble upon a small clearing where there is a campfire going. The party stop. Across from the smoldering fire is a human man suddenly crouched, caught unaware.
The party call out to the man, asking him if he knows if they’re near a town. Asher in an innocent but very direct manner asks the man if he knows about the tower on the lake, where the nearest town is, what is he doing here, and that they have just escaped the tower.
John expressed exasperation at Asher for giving away too much information to a stranger, “We don’t know if he’s connected to who kidnapped us.”
“How will we know if we don’t ask.” Asher responds confused by John’s hesitancy to engage the man.
In the meantime, the man has ducked and attempted to obscure himself further by hiding in the brush. Nym takes charge introducing the party and asking the man his name. The man is very guarded but eventually comes out to the party. This is Jorg Gale, ex-soldier spy (new player joined the game making it now a party of five); the rogue joins the party saying “I’m going this way. If that’s where you’re going, you can walk with me.”
As the party moves through the forest, their progresses is slowed as they pass some rather large brittle-looking tall shrubs. As the pass, several party members trip. They stop to look and see the roots or vines of the shrubs moving reaching out towards them. The party has encountered three Vine Blights.
Without any fire casting, the party roles for initiative and positions themselves to strike first at the creatures. Asher and Roben are on point confronting the Blights striking them each and doing standard damage. Alongside them, Jorg moves quickly getting behind the Blights and striking. At range, John casts and hits as does Nym. When the Blights attack, they fail to land any damaging blows to Asher, Roben, or Jorg, and when the three attack again they successfully crush the creatures. All party members receive 100 XP for each Blight.
The party makes its way out of the forest onto a hard packed dirt road, heading south the road disappears into woodlands but north it appears to open up into a settlement. The party head north discovering the village of Foxon. Entering the village, they are greeted by a guard stepping out of small sentry post. This halfling female, Ervida, calmly waves the party over asking them in a friendly but formal manner how they are, where they are coming from, and how she can help them. John inquires to a tavern or in and Ervida gives them directions. As the group begins to walk away, Ervida asks if the strangers would like a map of the village, which they gladly take.
The party enters the Running Dancer, a large inn and public house with a brewery attached. The place is lively though not full with several musicians playing on a stage, tables on the floor between the stage and a long bar, some small semi-circle booths cut out of the walls, and two staircases leading upstairs to the rooms that are let. The party is greeted and seated by the human servant girl Waru. She brings the group a round of beer returning to ask if they would like food but then leaving before they give her an order. Waru is clearly flustered by Asher, his tiefling countenance doesn’t frighten her but is obviously something she is only barely familiar with. When Waru finally does arrive with food, bread and cheese, the party begin to size up the room and discuss what to do.
Jorg eager for information and to gamble, spies two well dressed men, a dwarf and human, who seem to have coin to part with. Approaching them, Jorg easily coaxes them into playing cards for lowish stakes. As the rogue wins hand after hand, he pulls some information about the town from the two. John decides to approach the aristocratic looking halfling woman behind the bar who is surveying the crowd with a pleased look on her face. He discovers there’s a temple to Pelor in town (Everbright Sanctuary), informing the group he’s going to stop by there before evening. Nym having asked if there was a jeweler’s guild in the village discovers a shop called Diamond Dogs sounding dealing in jewelry, handicrafts, and gemwear but, more importantly, owned and run by Celia Moncrief. The deed the party found bore the name Balidor Moncrief, so Nym convinces the party to check the shop out to see if the two are connected.
When Jorg returns, he relates what he learned from the two–that there’s a seedier tavern, Hard Oaks, in town on the other side from where they entered. He’s going there to see what he can get into. The rest of the part decides to pay a visit to Diamond Dogs. Upon entering they meet a middle-aged goblin women, Xazt, at work stringing beads on a strip of leather. Nym attempts to engage Xazt but is rather snottily dismissed. However, when Roben steps to the counter, the goblin completely changes her demeanor smitten by the handsome aasimar. Roben convinces Xazt to go fetch ‘Ms. Celia.’ When she returns with her boss in tow, Roben takes one for the team giving his arm to Xazt allowing her to lead him around the shop and dote on him.
Nym shows Celia the deed with John asking if she knows anyone named Balidor. Celia, who happily entered into the conversation with the strangers, becomes agitated demanding to know who Colo Ilrym is and how the two came to possess the deed to her family’s traditional seat, their lifelong homestead. While not trying to give away too much, John is able to answer some of Celia’s questions learning that Balidor is her uncle, a ne’er-do-well who pissed away the family’s fortune and disappeared years ago. Celia insists the party not only give her the deed to the estate but that they meet with her tomorrow at the village courthouse to figure out what to do. The party is hesitant but Celia says she’ll pay for them to stay at Running Dancer (6 silver a night per person) entreating them to stay and work with her and the magistrates.
The party agrees, glad to have a place to stay for the evening. As they leave, Asher and Roben decide they are going to go find Jorg at the Hard Oaks. Nym agrees to accompany John to Everbright Sanctuary, which is just the next building over. When Nym and John enter the temple, John’s demeanor changes. The suave facade dissolves replaced by someone who is appropriately humble and attentive. He pulls a necklace out from his tunic and it is clear he is an acolyte of Pelor. Nym watches quietly as John approaches a gnome priestess Bori asking if she is familiar with the pendant the party has found. Nym holds out the black onyx pendant ringed in gold looking like a reverse image of a sun and too similar to the symbol of Pelor to be a coincidence. Bori has no knowledge of the pendant but directs the two into the basement where Elyn Balley, an older female halfling scholar of Pelor, is busily reading and marking up a rather large text. In a roundabout conversation since Elyn is both absent-minded and impatient, the two discover the pendant may be of a Corse cult. Elyn reveals that each Corse tribe was devoted to opening portals to other planes. This pendant would seem to suggest t belongs to a cult or tribe who was trying to open portals to the Nine Hells, but Elyn shrugs saying it’s not her expertise but rather Vada’s. When pressed, it’s revealed that Vada is a Raoan scholar at the other temple in the village, the Serene Shepherd, devoted to the god Rao. Vada is the only tiefling in the village, which explains why Asher has been getting sidelong glances from the folk. Elyn insists if they want to know more about the pendant and the inscribed name on the back of it (Barabad), then Vada will know.
Meanwhile, a tiefling and an aasimar walk into a bar. Jorg has been drinking with and slowly peeling information from two elf scofflaws, Church and Creed. The two elves fancy themselves experienced mercenaries but as Jorg talks to them (being a real ex-soldier and blade for hire), it becomes clear the two are just provincial thugs. They are drinking heavily however and Jorg is pretending to the drinks are getting him more drunk than he actually is. When Asher and Roben enter, Jorg goes to the bar to get the two to leave and let him work.
Before Jorg comes over to them, Asher and Roben collect a series of sustained glances from the patrons of the dark tavern–a female halfling merchant, an angry looking female fighter in the corner, the male gnome at the bar, and the human female bartender, Shanna, who takes their drink order. The two converse in Celestial to which Shanna smirks at telling the two, “You know, that’s rude,” as she sets their drinks before them. The two had thought to try to interrogate a few of the patrons but when Jorg comes to the bar, he discretely gives a signal to get out and let him work. The two finish their drinks, pay, and go outside to wait for Jorg.
The rogue learns that Church and Creed are regularly hired by an enchantress, Maise Pegoram, to work as guards at the Usurer’s Tower. They tell him that maybe once every coupe of weeks the woman shows up at the Running Dancer looking for hirelings. The pay is good and the job is simple: put some passed out strangers in a cell and make sure they don’t leave until she tells them so. Eventually, Jorg has heard enough from the elves and makes a show of staggering slightly on his way out of the tavern. He does notice just as he leaves the two elves disappearing out the back door of the tavern. Jorg continues to walk down a dark street (it’s early evening at this point) with Asher and Roben following him from a discreet distance. As he had suspected, Church and Creed step out in front of Jorg on the street demanding his purse. Church is armed with long, thin daggers in each hand and Creed with a whip. Jorg, Asher, and Roben roll for initiative.
The three battle the two elvish thugs who seem too drunk to do any real damage to them. The elves strikes fail and fail again to hit the three adventurers. Between them, Asher and Roben successfully incapacitate the elves while Jorg delivers killing blows. After the fight is over, they drag the elves’ bodies into the woods off the road which is the town’s western boundary. The three then calmly walk back to Running Dancer. When they enter, they meet back up with Nym and John.
The five exchange information. They’re worried staying at the Running Dancer they’ll encounter Maise Pegoram again, she’ll recognize them and it’ll lead to problems. Jorg points out she doesn’t know who he is and there might now be a couple of new openings to work as a guard for her in the tower. The group mulls it over. John and Nym reveal they’ve agreed to meet with Celia at the courthouse in the morning to talk with her and local magistrates about the deed. The group is again a bit worried that perhaps their murder of the two elves might lead to some issues. Rather than figure it all out now, they decide to sleep on it and approach it all with fresh eyes in the morning.