The Regalia of Evil

Investigations part 1
Hope you took good notes...

(OOC Luna and Milgram’s players were absent for this session.)

Gwium and Merewen decide they are going to listen in at dinner, so they decide to go as Lady Raviaries‘s attendants. They gain some advice from one of Prince Herbert’s servants and some new clothes from town. Gwium also runs into the maid and suggests she stop by later that night for some priestly comfort (no, not THAT kind of priestly comfort). After listening in on a mostly boring dinner conversation, they hang around and find out some gossip from Bobby, the imperial attendant serving Lord Sterling. Merewen talks her way in to see the body of Jeremiah Gallant, but isn’t able to do much investigating other than to notice he was killed by a sword. It’s also known that the raise dead spell failed to bring him back. Merewen asks a few more questions of the guards, Sam and Calvin, and then meets back up with Gwium. Meanwhile, Gwium speaks to the maid, learning a few more tidbits.

Ultimately the two come to the conclusion that between the time the maid found the body and Merewen saw the body, a sword was removed from the scene of the crime. There are a number of persons of interest worth investigating, but as it’s now midnight, it’s the wrong time to go asking questions…

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Whodunnit
Oh sure, blame the paladin

On the way back to Mountain’s Gate, the Gwium spots a dragon flying overhead that turns out to be Aurix, gold dragon friend to Lord Ravian. Aurix explains to the group that Lord Ravian has been charged with the murder of Jeremiah Gallant and that he’ll hire the party for 1000g to find genuine (not faked) evidence or testimony that acquits Lord Ravian of the charges against him.

Aurix flies the group to Serendipity City and over the plains where it has apparently been snowing. (Lord Ravian’s warhorse leads Taffy and the other horses back to Mountain’s Gate.) Merewen asks the dragon all about other dragons, and about Lord Sterling’s orb. The dragon knows very little about the latter, but mentions that Lance is an archival specialist and he might be able to help. He also tells them that the reason for the “sausage-fest” (as Luna calls it) is that Empress Ishtar is trying to find a husband for her daughter, Princess Quinn. Finally, Milgram reveals that Bianca Gallant is one hot chick despite having a great-grand-nephew.

The group checks into the Imperial Guest House as Lady Raviaries retinue and then does a little shopping. Milgram‘s familiar, Cosmo the black cat, searches the guest house’s interior for a bloody sword while Gwium meets the maid, who was apparently Jeremiah’s lover. Luna inquires as to whom else is staying at the guest house and finds out that besides Ravian, Sterling, and Gallant, that Prince Max, Prince Herbert, and Lord Whipple are also in attendance.

The group debates the best way to go about investigating, given the amount of Imperial Guards around — whether to sneak, bluff, use magic, or follow Aurix’s advice and call themselves investigators working for Lady Rav.

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Danger lurks around every corner

The group presses deeper into the ruined fortress and triggers an arrow trap before drawing the attention of another set of dwarven guards. The spellcaster sends Merewen fleeing, but the party takes out the dwarves. Proceeding further, they find a hatch and ladder leading down. They descend into the dark, where the paladin locates a gelatinous cube with her face. The party races to free her before she melts to death. Gwium dons a set of full plate taken from the dead ooze. Luna scouts ahead and spots “Deathbeard”, a mysterious companion, and four more dwarven guards, as well as one hellhound, all lying in wait. The group spends time discussing tactics, giving their enemies a chance to plan and get into position.

The plan was to run out and shoot, but Luna falls victim to a sleep spell. Fortunately, Milgram is able to awaken her. Gwium steps forth intending to rebuke the hellhound, but catches a face full of flame and falls down, dying. Deathbeard melds into a wall, while his mysterious companion disappears. Raviaries revives Gwium long enough for him to neutralize the hellhound and its hidden companion, but then a dwarven adept causes Gwium to flee in magical terror. Even so, the party manages to cut down the guards and cowering hellhounds.

Magical analysis of the chamber reveals that Deathbeard is a powerful spellcaster and his fleeing was fortunate for the party. Milgram finds some gems, and the party finds a couple scrolls and a coppery potion. Merewen notes to herself that the gold appears to have been minted in her home town.

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Tactics are a good thing to have

The group is able to track down the goblins and decides to engage without much planning, despite having the element of surprise. This results in Merewen Elensar becoming a pincushion and Milgram Wigglefingers getting a badger thrown in his face. In spite of this folly, the group manages to route the goblins and dispatch those that try to flee… well, except for the mage, who casts a spell to run really fast and flees early. Merewen and Lady Raviaries ride after the mage, but it’s Gwium that actually finds him and captures him. Gwium and Luna play good-cop/bad-cop and find out that Xzarm the goblin was delivering the prisoners to a dwarf he referred to as “Deathbeard” who was going to pay 50g a head.

Merewen examines the goblin’s coinage and discovers that it is fairly new and it was minted in Sighing Mountain, her hometown. Meanwhile, Gwium gives Raviaries the book to be destroyed. As she’s about to strike it with a smite-evil, Milgram lunges in and snatches it away, rescuing the evil Vecna book from destruction, claiming it should be saved and not destroyed. As a compromise, the book is given back to Gwium for safekeeping. Xzarm also revealed that the potions the group salvaged were a mix of hide from animals and pass without trace, as well as one potion of barkskin. Milgram took the grey bag of tricks (4 charges left this week) and the arcane scroll.

The group hurries to the meeting place where Xzarm was supposed to sell the captives, and find dwarves hanging about the ruined tower. Luna attempts to sneak about at night, but is spotted. Cool under pressure, she bluffs the dwarf guards into thinking she’s a traveler wanting to the stay the night. One guard goes to ask his boss, but returns and lets Luna in. He creeps her out, though, and Luna tells him she needs to get her things as an excuse to exit the structure.

When Luna does not return, the dwarves send one of their number out, along with a hellhound. The hellhound tracks down the party’s camp and attacks, but the power of Lilliana cows it into submission. Milgram drinks the potion of barkskin taken from the goblins. The group heads over to the right side of the building and Luna once again is spotted as she attempts to get into a striking position. The group takes down the guards quickly though, and now they have a way inside…

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Why adventuring is typically done in armor

Luna decides to talk her way back out of Sterling’s mansion while the rest of the party escapes through the secret passage. Gwium has a knack for finding monsterous spiders, which he demonstrates repeatedly while the group is down below. Weakened by poison and fairly weaponless, the party faces their most fearsome foe yet in the form of an animated chest that swallows Milgram Wigglefingers. After a tough battle, the gnome is freed and the party escapes the tunnels.

Meanwhile, Luna learns Skittles’ true name. Once the party regroups, they head to the conclave of the lizardmen and speak to the shaman again. It is decided that the party will head to Mountain’s Gate to try and destroy the evil book, and Lord Kallion and 2 bodyguards join them, so as to put Kallion beyond the reach of Lord Sterling.

While visiting the Mountain’s Gate Protectors, a group of Paladins fighting in the names of Moradin and Heironeous, the party finds out that Lord Ravian, the head of the order, is off in Serendipity city at some unknown imperial gathering. The party agrees to aid a villager rescue the maidens of his town from goblin raiders. The Lady Raviaries accompanies them as part of the expedition, while Kallion and his companions remain in the town. At the thorp, the party picks up the goblins’ trail…

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Espionage

The party regroups with Skittles and decides to return to the tower to remove the last two guards now that Kallion is free. After finishing them off, they return to the lizardmen encampment, where Gwium realizes that Lord Kallion is the rightful lord of the Greenwood.

The lizardman shaman hands over a letter that was discovered in possession of the men who were transporting the group as prisoners. According to the letter, Bianca Gallant intended for the group to be presented as slaves to Lord Sterling, gifts to entice him to enter in a business deal with Lady Gallant. Kallion suggests the party use this as an opportunity to engage in espionage, since he overheard that Lord Sterling was immune to magic.

With Luna pretending to be Bianca Gallant’s representative, the group talks their way onto the grounds of Lord Sterling’s manor, where they use various excuses to split up and search for clues. Milgram Wigglefingers finds a journal in the study, as well as a book that is identified as belonging to the evil god of secrets, Vecna. Luna hides Lord Sterling’s jewelry on her person.

The group’s cover is blown as James the Butler finds out that they’re not who they claim to be. They prevent him from fleeing and manage to talk him into keeping silent, so long as nothing is found missing from the manor. The journal is returned to the study, but the group intends to keep and destroy the Vecna book.

The party does find the treasury, but it’s evident the room is guarded by lethal magic, and even Milgram decides discretion is the better course of action — no one steals from the treasury. The group goes downstairs and explores the Smoking Room, where Luna finds a hidden door by searching an enormous dragon skull. Exploring the revealed cellar, Merewen Elensar finds the secret passage within the last cask in the third row.

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Beginning
In the chilly month of November...

Merewen and Gwuiam find themselves accidentally in Gallant. After rescuing a shady character from being beaten up in an alleyway, they accept his offer of a free drink and wind up drugged and carted off as prisoners.

Luna is in Gallant on a personal mission and her attempts to make contact with someone who can aid her cause her to be led astray. Instead, she runs into the same shady character as Merewen and Gwuiam, and like them she winds up a prisoner.

Milgram has some business of his own, and he makes contact with Bianca Gallant. After some conversation, the two strike a deal and a contract is signed that makes them partners in Milgram’s business. A Mr. Stone will be heading to inspect Milgram’s business in Much-to-do Springs. Milgram also agrees to perform a certain favor for Ms. Bianca. Gallant being Gallant, he also winds up drugged and imprisoned.

The entire party is hauled in a prison wagon to the Greenwood, where lizardmen attack and kill their captors. The group speaks with Vahss the Shaman and agree to help rescue Kallion from one of Lord Sterling’s guard towers. Disguising themselves as guards with a pint-sized prisoner, the group talks their way into the tower and into the dungeon, where they kill the nearby guards. Kallion is freed and the group fights their way back outside.

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