The Sundering Worlds

In the Land of Aether
Session 13

After arriving in a strange new world, the PCs retired to a nearby inn in the hopes of recuperating their senses. Before long, however, an explosion rocked the city square and overturned the city of Areydan. In the chaos, a hooded figure confronted the PCs. He said his name was Mythar and that he was an autarch participating in the dispossessed rebellion against the Fhrey. Deciding to trust Mythar, the PCs followed him to the hideout of the dispossessed where they met with Aysha, the leader of the dispossessed, who spun a tale of oppression and deceit. The Fhrey, she claimed, rule Areydan with an iron fist. They are aether wielders who oversee all of life in Areydan, which has led to a society split in two. The Fhrey rule the dispossessed and the dispossessed are the slaves of the Fhrey. It is Aysha’s hope that the PCs will help the dispossessed ignite a war against the Fhrey, so that Areydanian society will reset itself. Aysha then told the PCs of a great rift outside of the city wherein the aether of the Fhrey is seeping out. The people of the city now have free and fair access to the magic that has so longed oppressed them. The rift, Aysha tells the PCs, must not be closed. It must, if anything, be permanently opened so that the Fhrey will be held accountable.

Later that night, however, the PCs were approached by a man named Fingol. He is a Fhrey and a lieutenant of the Archon, Elise. He told the PCs a vastly different version of events wherein Aysha is a usurper looking only for power and prestige. In order to maintain the world balance, Fingol asked the PCs, on behalf of Elise, to travel to the great rift and close the aether slippage.

In order to test their own theories, the PCs then traveled Areydan and asked the dispossessed if their lives were worth living. The PCs, unfortunately, received mixed feedback, and so, they realized, the choice was theirs: side with the dispossessed to overthrow the Archon or travel to the rift and seek to close that which is destroying the planar realms?

The Sundering Worlds Vol. II
The Story So Far

“Sit, sit,” she said. "Gather ‘round the fire. That’s right. That’s right. Now, quiet down. Yes. Just so. Just so.” The fired danced around the story teller’s face. Her gray hair glistening in the moon light. “Are you ready?”
The crowd nodded in anticipation.
“Long ago,” she began, “there was a nameless one, called by the gods, who ventured forth from his enclave. He was a traveler, of sorts, who, along with another, decided to accompany the plentiful goods of Neverwinter to a southern village named Phandalin. Once there, however, these two, Pekeporo and Corvus, found a city in disarray. A band of evil men, orcs, and half-elves had taken ownership of Phandalin. But this was nothing to our heroes, for they soon dispatched the invaders deep within their hideout and came to befriend a drow elf, a paladin named, Elzalath.”
“Is that Elzalath the forsaken?” a man shouted just beyond the storyteller’s vision.
“Just the one,” she nodded. “But do not outpace the very story I am weaving.” The storyteller paused to let her audience adjust. “Yes, it was Elzalath—that troubled soul. She had been taken prisoner by the Red Guard, but not for long. Pekeporo and Corvus rescued her and—”
“And saved Phandalin?” a child near the storyteller asked.
She shook her head. “No. No, that is not the story I have to tell. In fact, the city fell to a drow army. It was overran soon after a rogue general sided with the drow against Neverwinter. But that is another tale, for another time. The reason our adventurers—the three you know so well—were not present was because Corvus’ adopted parents had been taken prisoner in a village just outside of Thundertree.”
“And K’otquchoq saved them? Isn’t that right?”
The storyteller stared at a young woman whose face was aglow. “Is that what you heard?”
“Yes,” she said, abashed. “I did.”
“No,” the storyteller shook her head. “The wolf is a friend of Pekeporo, that is the truth, but a tortured animal. A beast of mixed passions. He was there, to be sure, but he was not alone. The three adventures, and their beast companion, saved Corvus’ family and unlocked the secret of Mandibar’s Mirror, but not before the God of Choas, Asmodeus, touched Corvus.”
“His brand, you mean?” another shouted.
“Aye, that. He was a haunted man, after. But that comes in later. Saving his parents did him well, but it did nothing to alleviate the dreams that Pekeporo was having, given to him by the God the Verdant Temple.”
“Is that why he lost his arm?”
“Hush, child!” the storyteller said. “You know not of what you speak. Pekeporo is a great druid, perhaps the greatest throughout the Great Wheel. He slayed the aboleth and traveled across worlds. Be respectful, if nothing else.” She paused again and waited for the attention of those gathered around her. “But, yes, they quickly traveled south to assuage Pekeporo’s dreams. With the help of a well-known sea captain, Pekeporo, Elzalath, and Corvus traveled into the bloodmists and the Moon Isles. Once there, they were told the most important thing that they would ever hear: the aether between the worlds was slipping. The realms of the Great Wheel were sundering.”
A silence fell over the crowd. Not a whisper could be heard over the crackling fire. “And so,” the storyteller continued, “they met with the Emerald Emperor and traveled to another world. And, though they did not yet know it, their mission was simple, to seal the cracks of the planar realms, to heal the wounds of the cosmos.”
“But Elzalath?” one said. “She was transformed.”
“Aye, that is true. And even then,” the storyteller said, “no one knew which way she would turn.”

Salted Vestments
Session 12

With the prompt dispatching of their martial foe, Corvus, Elzalath and Pekeporo set out for Leilon. Upon reaching the bustling borough, they made their way to the docks to seek passage south. After some guidance, they found Wick, Captain of the Lost Mermaid. He agreed to provide passage to Waterdeep despite his hesitation with boarding a drow.

The first days of the voyage passed without incident. The adventurers passed the time in their cabin until Captain Wick paid them a visit. As a merchant, he hoped to enlist their help through the dangerous voyage past the Mere of Dead Men. They agreed to provide assistance on the voyage as a basis for developing an ally on the seas.

On the third day, Pekeporo was sitting in the crow’s nest in the middle of the night. On the deck below, K’ot’s ears suddenly perked toward the stern, so Peke looked carefully at a rising wave. Almost too late, he realized a terror from the deep was upon them. As he sounded the alarm, Peke thrust an entanglement spell, but the beast was too elusive to be bound. Captain Wick, his first mate, Elzalath and Corvus emerged from their quarters as massive tentacles emerged from the depths, surrounding the vessel.

From learning an ancient legend of a master crippling his wayward pupil by gaining the higher ground, Corvus bounded up into the crow’s nest. Elzalath recognized the potency of their foe and quickly tagged it with her Hunter’s Mark before slicing into one of its tentacles with her Divine Smite-enflamed rapier. The beast retaliated by spraying the entire boat in a disgusting ooze. Corvus and Peke shook it off, but something evil in the vile sludge penetrated Elzalath’s psyche. Then the beast brought its tentacles down on the ship, blasting Elzalath against the deck.

Corvus and Elzalath unleashed flurries of arrows at the writhing tentacles as K’ot did her best to rend flesh from them. Peke despaired at the seemingly impossible task of felling such a creature through mere damage to extremities. He steeled his nerves, having grown up in a land-locked woods after all, and leapt from the crow’s nest toward the water. As he plummeted, he transformed into a giant squid, plunged into the icy depths and propelled himself at the bulk of his foe. After pummeling the beast with his freshly sprouted tentacles, he wrapped it up in a giant squid hug. As the boat glided off into the night, Peke took comfort in knowing his companions were safe for the time being.

Simultaneous to this relief was the dreadful realization that he was now single-handedly combatting an aboleth. Thanks to his uncle’s tales, Peke knew the potential for this beast to destroy not only his body, but his mind as well.

“Perhaps if I speed to shore, the aboleth will chase me in an attempt to gain vengeance for removing it from its quarry. Then I can make my way south on land to rejoin my companions.”

As Peke swam for shore, his best laid plans were immediately undermined by the aboleth’s determined and renewed pursuit of the Lost Mermaid. The aboleth swam with such speed and fury just below the surface, that a wave rose in front of him. Fortunately, the heroes on the boat did not view their reprieve from battle as an excuse for complacency. Elzalath spotted the approach from a distance and pulled her holy talisman from her cloak. As she bellowed her divine utterances, the token shone brilliantly and blasted the unholy creature in its pursuit. Suddenly, the wave died. The aboleth continued pursuit, but its pace was greatly reduced.

Peke built all the squid speed he could muster to catch up to the aboleth. He leapt from the water, transformed back into his natural form and blasted a wave of thunder from his fingertips as he skimmed across the surface of the water. The aboleth maneuvered around much of the wave, but the spell still took its toll. As he lost momentum, Peke transformed back into a giant squid and slid under the surface.

Corvus jumped on the opportunity to shoot the aboleth in the face with some arrows. His shots flew true and buried deep in the meat of the beast. The creature retaliated by slamming the ship again, this time destroying the crow’s nest. Fortunately, Corvus anticipated the blast and majestically dove at and clung to a hand-hold high above the ship. Once again, Peke pounded the aboleth with his tentacles and restrained it from further movement. Elzalath spotted its eye amidst the writhing tentacles and released the death blow. As sickening lifeblood poured into the sea from its eye, the aboleth’s corpse sunk down to the murky depths.

The journey to Waterdeep continued without further disruption. Upon arrival, Captain Wick offered the adventurers any favors they needed, recognizing the lifedebt he owed these three. He agreed to transport them to the Moon Isles, but he needed two days to repair the damage the aboleth had dealt the Lost Mermaid. The trio headed into Waterdeep to kill some time and ready themselves for the next stage in their adventure.

What dangers lie ahead at the Moon Isles for our heroes? What adventures will emerge in Waterdeep? What is the Jade Emperor doing while he waits for them to arrive? Sniffing buttholes? He’s probably sniffing buttholes. Tune in next time to find out!

Session 9-11

Our trio made their way to Waterdeep or Neverwinter or something for some reason. While there, they did some research on the Jade Emperor and the Verdant Temple. They stole a book from a lady to get this librarian lady to help them out. Meanwhile, the drow lady kept following them around, because she still wanted Elzalath to come with her. When the team left the library, some general wanted them. They tried to run away, but the librarian lady turned out to be a High Sorcerer of the city or some such title, and she prevented them from running. They met with the dude and agreed to help the battle against the bad drow army and joined some order of the city that will hook them up from now on.

Then they went to the sewers to follow some guidance they got from somewhere. They found a powerful-seeming drow dude in a room with floating shit. They became pals and agreed to all go together to infiltrate the drow army or something. On their way south, Pekeporo had his most urgent vision yet, and attempted to abandon everyone to go to the Moon Isles with K’ot. But his pals heard him leaving and decided to go along. But then the army leader fought them for some reason. They whipped his ass and he said something about a Sorcerer or something that showed he’s bad and things are corrupt.

Will our heroes make it to the Moon Isles? Are they walking into a trap? Will Ryan write these in a more timely fashion so they aren’t insanely vague and brief? Tune in next time to find out!

Hell to Pay
Session 8

Corvus emerged from the abandoned home of his childhood mentor. Pekeporo met his eye and immediately understood Corvus’ despair. Elzalath slunk into the town’s periphery, recognizing her outsider status as a drow in this village. Time was of the essence and the group had no leads.

orc-gruumsh01-1Corvus and Peke headed to the village blacksmith to see if he had any information. The kidnapping and arson happened so fast, there were only rumors and hunches to be had. Yet among this hearsay, Corvus discovered a roving band of orcs calling themselves The Blackbird Red were responsible for this nightmare. He couldn’t say for certain, but the blacksmith thought they were probably posted at the Ruins in the surrounding forest. Corvus thanked the man for the information.

Meanwhile, Elzalath wandered the surrounding forest looking for clues. She sensed a presence and whirled to spot a fellow drow in the clearing.

“Elzalath, my name is Jaelryn, and I come on behalf of my master, Elendar. He sent me with this letter.” Elzalath knew enough of the ways of the drow to find this encounter quite unremarkable. “Elendar seeks what you seek and desires your tutelage. He can provide what you desire.”

Elzalath accepted the letter and Jaelryn disappeared into the brush. Skeptical, Elzalath tracked Jaelryn’s movement far enough to identify her movement west toward Neverwinter. This was certainly an intriguing proposition, but Elendar could wait. Elzalath had developed a strange and unexpected affinity for her journeying partners and wanted to help Corvus see this through.

The party reunited in the village and decided to confront the Blackbird Red head-on in the morning. After an uneventful rest, they journeyed to the forest ruins. They decided to rest before their confrontation, and Peke meditated fitfully. At the end of his meditation, he received the most powerful vision he had yet encountered. This time, the voice was understandable, admonishing Peke to seek The Green Emperor in the Verdant Temple. While still cryptic, Peke began to understand that his namequest would take him beyond every reality he had ever experienced.

In the morning, the adventurers finished their journey to the Ruins. Peke took advantage of the opportunity to show off the new spell he had been studying and cast the entire party into a veil of invisibility. Easily undetected, they found two watch-orcs high in a treenest. With incredibly precision, they unleashed a trio of arrows at one of the orcs, all three of which sunk deep into the orc to send him toppling out of his perch. Without hesitation, all three heroes immediately released another volley of arrows at the other orc. The first orc hit the ground in a burst of gore and viscera. The second orc managed to bone-crunchingly land on his feet, just conscious enough to taunt the trio with a warning of one-eyed Agar waiting for them. Then he breathed his last.

The crew made their way to the clearing leading to the Ruins to find a terrifying scene. Four orcs awaited them, two of which held Corvus’ father and mentor at knife-point. Between them stood a giant of an orc with a patch over one eye. Corvus’ mother was restrained behind his enormous arm with a knife to her throat. This orc had to be Agar, and he was waiting for them.

Corvus, Peke and K’ot remained shrouded and slowly snuck up behind the orcs around the backside of the ruins. Meanwhile, Elzalath emerged from Peke’s spell to attempt negotiation with the orcs.

“Who are you?” growled Agar.

“I’m a drow, and we share a common purpose. Perhaps if we work together, we can successfully enact vengeance upon the scoundrel Corvus Cade.” Elzalath was so convincing, Peke began to worry that Elzalath had been stringing them along this whole time. He certainly didn’t know anything about Elzalath’s life before they met.

Agar chuckled deridingly. “This isn’t about revenge.”

“Then what is it about?”

“Service. I simply follow the will of Asmodeus. He desires Corvus’ destruction, and I am happy to oblige.”

“In that case, we remain allies as I serve Elendar.”

At this, Agar grew quite agitated. He pointed his dagger at Elzalath. “You are no acolyte of Elendar. Now out with the truth.”

Corvus sensed the exchange was headed south, and took advantage of the opportunity to attack Agar while his blade was away from Corvus’ mother’s throat. He drew his swords and unleashed his fury on Agar. The trap was sprung.

Elzalath took the cue and cast a Blessing on her companions for battle while eviscerating the orc holding Corvus’ father. Peke used the advantage of surprise to Wild Shape into a brown bear. In a flurry of teeth and claws, he flayed Agar’s back as K’ot put all her strength into knocking Agar over.

From the prone position, Agar had no hope of turning the tide of battle. Even worse for him, as he struggled to right himself onto one leg, he saw his faithful followers scatter into the forest. “Goddamn cowards.”

Sensing that Corvus had the situation well in hand with his blades at Agar’s throat, Elzalath, Peke and K’ot leapt into the woods after the fleeing orcs. Elzalath and Peke subdued their quarries while K’ot demonstrated no such restraint. She sensed Corvus’ hatred of orcs in general and took this opportunity to decimate her prey.

Meanwhile, Corvus interrogated Agar to no avail. He held his sword and a potion of healing in front of Agar’s working eye. “We can do this the easy way or you can die.”

“Fuc…” Before Agar could finish his response, he choked on a geyser of blood that erupted as Corvus buried his blade in Agar’s throat. Corvus vaguely sensed the return of his companions but could only muster the strength to gratefully hug his family and mentor. In the group hug, he smiled as he noticed K’ot trot up and drop an orc dick at his feet.

Peke attempted to interrogate his captive to no avail. He paid attention as Elzalath demonstrated how interrogations work in Faerun. She enchanted her sword with a white burning heat. She held her blade over her captives head as she stuck her face inches from the orc’s.

“We need information, and let me assure you, you will not die quickly if you refuse to cooperate. You will not be so fortunate as your master. I have all day and endless creative ways to make you suffer. So measure your response carefully. Where is Asmodeus?”

As the stench of waste emanated from his trousers, the orc was clearly terrified. “I…I am a lowly minion. Agar didn’t trust me with any information. B…But he could read and write. He kept a journal. It has to be around here somewhere. I’ll help you find it.”

Elzalath lowered her sword while maintaining eye contact. The blade slid down further until it severed the bonds at the orc’s feet. “Good answer.” She helped the orc to his feet as Peke looted the ruins for treasure and Corvus held his family.

Will our heroes have what it takes to confront the threat of Asmodeus head-on? What secrets are our adventurers keeping from one another? Why is the Dungeon Mistress trying to give away all of Peke’s secrets? Tune in next time to find out!

Provenance's Due
Session 7

After Peke checked in with Myrna and Corvus and Elzalath went to patch things up with Phandalin’s inn-keeper, the crew decided it was time to confront Porcius’ irritating bounty head-on. After devising a slap-dash and largely unnecessary plan to confront Porcius, the ventured out toward Corvus’ hometown.

On the first morning of the journey after a night’s rest, the adventurers discovered an ominous dark object. Elzalath immediately recognized its demonic origin and was hesitant to bring it along. But where Elzalath saw danger, Peke saw power, and he convinced her to bring it along. The party stayed away from cities to avoid suspicious glances. Upon awakening the second morning of their journey, they found themselves back at their camp of the previous night. Ignorant of whether they had been transported through time or space, Corvus and Peke were sufficiently convinced to heed Elzalath’s caution and leave the damned object behind.

After repeating their journey of the previous day, they once again made camp outside Corvus’ town. The following morning, when no ineffable teleportation took place, they headed into town, straight to Porcius’ dwelling. Their ruse worked flawlessly as Porcius welcomed them in, believing Corvus to be captured. When he had his goons start escorting Corvus away, the trap was sprung. Corvus filled the room with fog as he grabbed his swords. Peke cemented their advantage by casting Faerie Fire on their opponents. Elzalath and Corvus made shockingly short work of Porcius’ goons, basically pulling an organs-on-the-outside-of-your-body-now situation. Meanwhile, Porcius grabbed a small object out of his desk and tried to escape. His voluminous body made escape a slow and laborious process, and Peke had plenty of time to slip into a form a bit more serpentine and put the squeeze on Porcius.

As the fog cleared, Porcius accepted defeat and demonstrated his true impetus for seeking Corvus.

“This is much bigger than you can imagine. I was only doing what Asmodeus made me do. Please let me go. It won’t end with me. You’re screwed and so is your family.”

In Porcius’ hand was a small glass bird containing a swirling black cloud. Elzalath bristled at the evil it contained. She recognized the dark machinations of a object of Asmodeus. Even the thought of that name filled her with righteous rage. K’ot also sensed the evil in Porcius’ hand. She instinctively attempted to separate Porcius from the glass bird by biting off his hand. But in doing so, her teeth came down on the bird, shattering its fragile body in her mouth. An ominous cloud burst from her mouth, filling Porcius’ cavities and melting his entire head into a gooey blob. Simultaneously, a burst of energy erupted from K’ot, turning her greay coat deep crimson and seemingly sucking the life from her.

Pekeporo blanched. He ran to her side as the cloud dissipated in the room. K’ot was barely breathing, but Peke dug deep in her psyche and found a remnant of her former, virtuous self buried beneath the fog of evil. He recognized what she had become…a Changer. He remembered sleepless moonlit nights in the Wood of Sharp Teeth, keeping watch with T’Allius for the Changers who would mindlessly eradicate life throughout the Wood.

“What happened to her?”

Elzalath’s seemingly benign question snapped Peke back to reality. But he had known Elzalath long enough to know the real question she was asking, and K’ot’s life was far more important than some holy agenda to eradicate evil.

“She’s hurt is all. That cloud sucked the life out of her.”

“You sure?”

“Positive. She’ll be fine.”

Peke healed his lifelong companion and they walked outside together. When Corvus and Elzalath rejoined them, the group decided to make haste for Corvus’ home. After their recent ordeal, Porcius’ threat seemed far from empty.

They ran to Porcius’ home to find it ablaze. The townsfolk had no helpful information regarding the fire or Corvus’ family. Peke and Elzalath helped the residents put out the fire while Corvus ran to his mentor’s home, hoping to find his family. Instead, he found an empty house with another glass bird sitting on the doorstep. He picked it up and swore vengeance upon Asmodeus.

Have our heroes stumbled into their greatest foe yet? What will happen when Elzalath learns of Pekeporo’s deceit? What’s the deal with all these glass birds? Where’s the Faerun Seinfeld when you need him? Tune in next time to find out!

Opposites Attract
Session 6

After a bit of persuasion and payment, Halia outfitted Elzalath with her weapons of choice. The trio headed to the inn for some much-needed rest. The inn’s tavern was largely empty, with a lone figure drinking silently in the corner. Pekeporo’s ignorance of social custom shone through as he attempted to befriend the gruff stranger who quickly dismissed Peke’s congeniality. After some drinking and good-natured rabble-rousing, the adventurers headed off to bed, using their Bree technique. But this time, their adversary anticipated their schemes.

“Corvus Cade. Your time has come. You can come quietly and nobody gets hurt.”

The gruff man’s voice rang through the hallway as he emerged from the stairway. Another figure appeared from behind to surround them. Corvus reached his limit on paying off Portius’ goons, so he drew his swords. 3 on 2 with a trained draw on their side? This would not be a fair fight.

And it wasn’t.

After slaughtering the unknown figure behind them, the trio allowed the gruff figure to live when he dropped his false bravado. He was simply an aspiring adventurer on a hunt for gold. Despite Elzalath’s misgivings, they decided to allow him to live and accompany them back to the Redbrand hideout as their meat shield.

The innkeeper entered the hall and was horrified by the grisly scene. HIs anger was dwarfed by Elzalath’s rage that he allowed this to happen. He stammered the impossible situation he was placed in and in his outrage, he kicked them out of his inn. He didn’t realize his good fortune at escaping the situation with his life.

The heroes along with their captive journeyed back into the Redbrand cave. As they entered, their captive felt the oppressive mental prison Corvus experienced on their first entry. Fortunately, this left Elzalath, Corvus, Peke and K’ot the mental clarity to recognize the foe across the chasm that was the source of the anguish. It was a massive nothic out of an eldritch nightmare. They quickly sprang into action.

Corvus unleashed a flurry of well-placed arrows as Elzalath harnessed her righteous power to bring down destruction on this beast. Upon arriving in melee range, Corvus and Elzalath beat the life out of the creature. Meanwhile, Peke took careful aim and his arrow flew true, straight into the monster’s teeny-tiny butthole, stimulating the anus and causing the beast to projectile shit all over the cavern. An unholy stench temporarily overwhelmed the nearby combatants, but they quickly recovered and dispatched of the creature.

After a bit of healing, the party headed into the unexplored areas of the hideout. In the farthest reaches of the caves, they found a room that was clearly Glasstaff’s. The entire hideout was abandoned. Among the baubles and arcana, they found a rat skittering around the room. Glasstaff addressed the team through the rat, demonstrating its presence as a surveillance simulacrum. When Peke attempted to destroy it, it disappeared. But the most disturbing part was their discovery of Glasstaff’s identity. Glasstaff was their pal’s missing friend.

Will our heroes ever track down Glasstaff? What the fuck, friend we rescued earlier? Why can’t Ryan ever remember anyone’s name? Tune in next time to find out!

New Companions of All Varieties
Session 5

Our heroes awoke refreshed in Queline’s entryway. Carp bounced into the room, thrilled at the prospect of adventure. Corvus swept the sleep out of his eyes as Pekeporo packed their equipment. With a final caution from Queline toward safety, the trio set out for the secret entrance to the Redbrand cave with K’ot. They had a leisurely and uneventful stroll to the cave mouth. Carp pointed it out and went on his way, pockets a bit heavier with the gold he earned for his bravery.

Corvus, Peke and K’ot cautiously entered the cave. There they found a massive room with a stream running through it, but Corvus was unable to enjoy its magnificence, as he felt an oppressive voice in his mind. He couldn’t shake the voice as despair settled in. Fortunately, Peke noticed the tree from his vision in the southeast corner of the room, so they went down the hall. As they distanced themselves from the entry room, Corvus felt his sanity returning.

They found another room containing many doors and a well. Peke sensed something was odd about the well, so he went to inspect it closely. He found a thin strand, which he pulled to reveal the necessary supplies for disguise and escape. Corvus led the way as they explored a storage room beyond the well, where they found three Redbrands. Their attempts at deceit fell pathetically short, so Corvus made quick work of the three foes. Before dispatching the third, Corvus questioned the Redbrand, but he was of little assistance. His lack of useful information was rewarded with the business end of Corvus’ blades. Fearing discovery, Peke weighed the bodies down and dumped them in the well.

Further exploration revealed an abandoned manor and a hallway with an ornate door bearing Peke’s vision tree. The voice from his vision urged him on. He noticed a trap in the hall and managed to trigger the collapse of the floor without stepping on it. This left him a narrow ledge to cross. Unfortunately, his poor agility led him to fall in the pit anyway. Corvus danced across the ledge and sent down a rope to help him out.

Corvus and Peke explored the next room, where they discovered four strange sarcophagi. Feeling a bit of weariness, they decided to press on in their Redbrand disguises. When they entered the next room, they discovered a prison guarded by two Redbrands. This time, they managed to convince the Rebrands they were replacement guards and even persuaded the Redbrands to give them keys to the cells. Peke was so excited it worked, he didn’t think to change out of his disguise before setting out to befriend the silent Drow Elf sitting in one of the cells. When he discovered his foolishness, he quickly explained himself and recklessly freed the Drow and offered her goodberries to gain her trust. While the drow was hesitant, she did offer her name: Elzalath. Meanwhile, Corvus freed the woman and children in the opposite cell. Through discussion, he learned that this was Mirna, the woman who disappeared with her children when her husband was killed.

The group set out to exit the caves when Elzalath recognized a dark presence. Frustrated with her liberators’ lack of thoroughness, she knew a fight with evil was imminent. Fortunately, her combat spell proficiencies had suffered no entropy while imprisoned. As skeletons emerged from the coffins, Elzalath and Corvus made quick work of them with some assistance from Peke and K’ot.

They cautiously exited the caves. Fortunately Peke’s earlier actions prevented the Redbrands from discovering their deceit. They headed back to Phandalin to return Myrna and her children to their home, to seek weapons for Elzalath from Halia, and to get some much needed rest after a productive day.

Will the Redbrands recognize them palling around town? Will they ever figure out who Glasstaff is? Is Peke moving in on Myrna way too soon after she lost her husband and was imprisoned? Tune in next time to find out!

Growing Menace
Session 4

K’ot was lying bloody and bruised next to the enraged ogre. Pekeporo’s distaste for violence disappeared as the spirit of vengeance overcame him. With a battle cry, he unleashed an arrow that sunk deep into the ogre’s cheek. His vengeful rage emboldened his companions. Corvus let loose an unrelenting barrage of arrows. K’ot mustered the energy to bite the ogre’s ankle, but the ogre immediately dealt a near-fatal blow, knocking her out indefinitely. Meanwhile, the orcs escaped their verdant chains. Filled with bloodlust, they charged down the corridor.

Pekeporo knew this day might come. They were too numerous to deal with individually. Despite his truest friend’s presence in the blast radius, he appealed to Aerdrie and watched sorrowfully as lightning erupted from his fingers, tearing apart the bodies of two of the orcs, but also blasting K’ot against a wall to crumple in a seemingly lifeless heap. The ogre managed to stay outside the arc of the lightning blast. He gathered his last bit of strength to heave his great battle axe at Corvus while the remaining orc heaved a nearby javelin at Pekeporo. The orc’s waning strength was a boon for Pekeporo as the javelin clanged to the ground five feet in front of him. But even a near-dead ogre outmatches most creatures in strength. His axe whipped across the cavern and dug deep into Corvus’ shoulder, parting flesh and muscle.

Where many would find despair at suffering such injury, Corvus found a renewed sense of vengeance and purpose. Adrenaline mixed with hatred in his veins as he wrenched the cursed axe from his shoulder. The unavenged spirits of his slain family filled him with a strength reserved only for the bulkiest berserkers as he flung the ogre’s great axe directly back down the corridor. Pekeporo watched in awe, mouth agape, as the axe sailed end-over-end, supernaturally picking up speed as it travelled. The well-sharpened blade flew through the ogre’s skull so cleanly and with such ferocity that it took a moment for the split to appear. But when the split came, Pekeporo realized the axe had cleaved the ogre’s head straight down the middle. The axe continued its inspired journey as though guided by the hand of divinity straight into the chest of the remaining surviving orc. Corvus let out a mighty cry of satisfied absolution.

Upon recognizing their victory, Pekeporo couldn’t share in Corvus’ glee. He ran to K’ot and laid hands on her. He called desperately on Angharradh, elven goddess of protection to revive K’ot. Then, to his indescribable relief, he felt her chest move as she began breathing once again. A wave of joy washed over Pekeporo as he clung to K’ot. He moved deeper into the passage to examine its contents with K’ot by his side. But when they passed the ogre’s lifeless body, K’ot stopped and whimpered. Pekeporo kept walking but couldn’t shake the feeling that he and his friends had violated innocent life in their violence against the ogre. As Pekeporo explored the cave, grabbing some well-deserved loot, Corvus set about removing the heads of their dispatched foes. Pekeporo couldn’t help noticing how much happier Corvus

After such a demanding battle, the trio bedded down until morning to get some much-needed rest. Pekeporo took first watch. Halfway through his watch, he sensed a presence in the forest with him. Growing up isolated among the beasts of the Wood of Sharp Teeth, he was no stranger to this sensation. So he followed his habit in such cases and tapped into Rillifane’s insight to communicate with nearby animals. But his appeal went unanswered by the surrounding woods. This presence was no animal. Then he saw hundreds of orbs of light passing through the forest around him. Trying to make sense of the strange phenomenon, he attempted to touch one with no success. But he heard a clamor of quiet voices. Through the din, he was able to decipher the repetitive whisper of “name…name.” Seeking guidance, Pekeporo poured his thoughts and energy into the mistletoe woven into his druidic focus and touched one of the orbs with it. Suddenly, he was blasted back against the nearest tree. Yet Pekeporo felt nothing as his mind and vision were completely engulfed in a prophetic dream of the largest and most ebullient tree he had ever seen. It seemed beyond anything beyond possibility as he clearly heard, “Portal.”

The trio returned to Phandalin in the morning as it burst with life. Children played while neighbors talked idly. Corvus made his way to the Townmaster’s Hall with his friends, until they were abruptly stopped by four Redbrands standing in the commons. Corvus and Pekeporo were ready to get their reward and spend an evening in drunken revelry, but the Rebrands made it clear that they were a problem that could no longer be ignored. K’ot frightened one of the Redbrands off, but the rest bared naked steel in response to threats. Their de facto leader closed the gap in attack. Corvus, still feeling confident from the destruction of orcs, would no longer abide gangs of foes teaming up against them. He found an unprecedented swiftness and strength to engage two foes at a time. He simultaneously embraced this new combat style, noting its efficacy for future engagement. While one of the ruffians buried his sword deep in Pekeporo’s side, Corvus almost single-handedly dispatched of his opponents in a flurry of shortswords. K’ot felt a growing connection to Corvus and sunk her teeth into the final opponent’s manhood. She lapped up some of the blood and looked to Corvus for approval as the man bled out from the groin. Corvus was quite pleased and affirmed K’ot’s tactics. After supernaturally knitting his side back together, Pekeporo rejoined Corvus, and they donned the Red cloaks of their slain enemies as a disguise. They looked around and realized their fight had emptied the town, confirming the grip of fear the Redbrands had instilled in the town.

As they approached the Townmaster’s hall, Townmaster Harbin burst through the doors, frantically crying, “What have you done? Oh god, you’ve only made things worse. Glasstaff will repay this tenfold.” Even in the midst of his cowardly tirade, when Harbin noticed the orc heads dangling from Corvus’ belt, his mood slightly lightened.

After brushing with death thanks to Harbin’s incompetence, Pekeporo had enough. “Look, we took care of your orc problem. Now we’re taking care of your Redbrand problem . Whether or not you’re competent enough to recognize it, you need us. Now pay what you owe.”

“No, your help can’t make up for how much worse you’ve made things.” Harbin turned on his pudgy heel, waddled into the hall and slammed the door.

Pekeporo ran down to Halia’s shop to drop off the swords of the slain Redbrands. In return, she offered him information. “Glasstaff is headquartered in the manor east of town with the rest of the local Redbrands.” She thanked him for their help.

When Pekeporo returned and told Corvus about Halia’s message, Corvus communed with the largest tree in the commons to learn more about Redbrand activity. Then they went back to the tavern for a night of drinking and relaxation. The innkeeper was very grateful and reminded them of Queline Alderleaf’s son, Carp, discovering a secret passage to the Redbrands hideout. They thanked him for his hospitality and retired for the night…

Until Corvus woke up Pekeporo at midnight. “Peke, let’s go scope out that tunnel.”

“We don’t know where it is.”

“Oh, right. But Carp does.”

“You’re right. Let’s go talk to him.”

“Now? It’s the middle of the night.”

“Exactly. No one will suspect we got help from a little kid in the middle of the night.”

They snuck out the window and stealthily walked down to Alderleaf’s farm and awakened Queline with their knocking. She was initially displeased with being awakened, but quickly warmed to the adventurers who were willing to rid her town of its blight. She invited them in but was unwilling to allow her son to show them the cave in the middle of the night. So they posted up in her entryway until morning, waiting for the opportunity to take on the local Redbrand scourge head-on…

Will our heroes be prepared to face such a massive threat? Will their allies manage to avoid the wrath of the Redbrands? Will Corvus turn into Dae Hyo from the Hollow Gods trilogy? Does anyone even know what I’m talking about? Tune in next time to find out!

Corvus' Ghosts
Session 3

“Show yourself.”

Corvus was in no mood to deal with a new threat. He was exhausted, and Sildar was in no physical condition to engage in a fight. Diplomacy was the only option.

“Very well,” called the sinister voice as there was a rustling high in the nearest treetop. A nimble figure clothed in all green was barely visible among the foliage as it leapt from the heights. The masked figure taunted, “You are truly fucked, Corvus. Porcius placed a 100 gold bounty on your head. Every bounty hunter worth their salt is out to get you. Fortunately, for me, you’re shit at hiding.” He noticed Pekeporo moving his hand over his staff to cast Shilelagh. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Druid. I may be outnumbered, but you’ll not survive a fight with me.”

Pekeporo withdrew his hand as Corvus dropped his blades. If Corvus wasn’t ready to fight, Pekeporo knew this bounty hunter’s words were no idle threat. True to form, though, Corvus wouldn’t go down without a verbal fight. “Who is this Corvus you keep talking about? I’ve never heard of him.”

“Ha. You must take me for a fool from your backwoods village. I know very well who you are, and you’re coming with me. Unless you can make it worth my while.”

Pekeporo was dismayed. “We can’t just pay off every bounty hunter that comes calling.”

Corvus looked around, noting the windfall of valuable goods they were delivering to Phandalin. “No, Peke, we can’t. But we can pay this one.” He turned to the bounty hunter. “I can pay, but there’s no way I’m worth 100 gold to Porcius. He’s offering you 50 at the most, so I’ll give you 75 gold pieces to fuck off.”

“Very well.” The bounty hunter held out his hand for compensation. The moment the gold dropped in his hand, he started skipping off, laughing. “You fools,” he taunted, “the offered reward is only 25 gold.” And with that, he disappeared into the woods.

Corvus felt a bit foolish but was too relieved to be on his way to care too much. Pekeporo’s wolf sensed the alpha presence of K’ot and sat at her feet. This act of supplication greatly pleased K’ot as she loved Pekeporo but often missed her pack. Pekeporo came over and told the wolf, “I promised you freedom. You repaid me with your protection. There is no debt between us. Be free.” The wolf yipped in gratitude and bounded into the forest.

The crew uneventfully journeyed with the goods the rest of the way to Phandalin. On the journey, Corvus advised his friends to call him Markan to avoid such unpleasant encounters in the future. Upon entry in Phandalin, they made their way directly to Halia Thorton’s blacksmith shop, recognizing the symbol on her sign from some of the crates they transported. They delivered her goods to much gratitude and offers of even the most exclusive wares. Corvus and Pekeporo found an instant ally in this strange new town. She warned them of the presence of Redbrands, a group of ruffians casting the town into a state of fear and paranoia. They thanked her and moved on to deliver the rest of the goods.

At the inn that night, they drank, laughed and talked. They learned of many local problems and discoveries from the other patrons in the bar. Sildar told them of his true intentions. He made his way to Phandalin to seek answers regarding the disappearance of his friend, a sorcerer, who was last seen on the outskirts of town. They lost the night to friendship.

The next morning, Corvus and Pekeporo headed to the Townmaster’s Hall to seek more information on the commission of adventurers to rid the town of a nearby band of orcs descending upon unwary travelers. For some reason Pekeporo didn’t understand, Corvus was hellbent on seeking out these orcs. But he was in this for the adventure, and Corvus was the truest friend he had found since leaving the Wood of Sharp Teeth. When questioned about the Redbrands, the Townmaster grew nervous and undermined the word of the townsfolk as mere hyperbole. Before leaving, Corvus and Pekeporo promised Sildar they would return to assist him in his quest.

Corvus, Pekeporo and K’ot made their way on the trail but ducked into the woods as they approached the orc encampment. There were two watchorcs at the opening of the enclosure. Thanks to their stealthy tactics, they quickly dispatched of these guards in a flurry of arrows and direwolf teeth. After hiding the guards’ bodies, the pair slowly approached the entrance. Inside, they found three orcs and a massive ogre, all sleeping. Both adventurers felt a sense of being outmatched and quickly took advantage of their surprise position. They unleashed their arrows at the sleeping ogre as K’ot bounded down the opening at him. The ogre awoke with a cry of pain thereby arousing the orcs. They charged toward the opening, but Pekeporo called on the power of Rillifane Rallathil, elven god of nature. Barbed vines sprouted from the floor and walls and bound the orcs where they stood. Meanwhile, the ogre slowed in the face of Corvus’ relentless arrow strikes and K’ot’s persistent attacks.

As the battle seemed all but won, the ogre tossed K’ot against the wall and brought his massive club down in a crushing blow on her skull. Pekeporo cried out in fury as he witnessed his closest companion crumple to the ground.

Will our heroes overcome this, the greatest battle they have ever faced? Will Corvus find what he needs to be whole, and will it cost him his friendship with Pekeporo? Will our heroes ever stop ruining perfectly pleasant nights of sleep for their foes? Tune in next time to find out!


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