Mahaziya stole her way to the fissure in the middle of Obsidian Bay. Lostivius had told her that there was access to the underdark beneath the lake that appeared in the middle of town. This oddly shaped pool of water always has a guard present, and is clearly marked “no swimming”. Using her innate ability to detect magic, Mahaziya scanned the water feature, searching for a clue to the underdark that was rumored to be nearby.
As she was busy trying to unwrap the riddle, a city guard approached her, offering aid to a pregnant elf.
“It’s a beautiful night, isn’t it? – Is there anything I can help you with?”
“I’m just taking in some fresh air, thank you.”
“You can’t be too careful nowadays, We have two reports of goblins in town. 500 Gold Pieces each!”
“You don’t say.”
Mahazia paused and considered the opportunity that had presented itself. She desperately needed to get rid of this helpful guard.
“Do you mean the goblin they found just around the corner?”
“Of course, three blocks over, I heard some people talking about seeing a goblin, and they were trying to trap it.”
“Ma’am, I didn’t know about that, but I should head over and investigate right now!”
And with that, Mahaziya was free to continue her search for the rumored access to the underdark.
In a dark corner of the water feature, she could see how the fissure had opened up and had extended beyond the limits of the illusion of the pool of water. When she was close enough, she could detect magic emanating from a crack just large enough for a pregnant elf to pass back through to the underdark. As casually as she could, she lowered her fully stretched out form behind a bush and started to climb down a cliff wall that passed beyond the illusion of a lake.
The darkness reminded her of home. This terrifying place could have danger at any moment. She centered herself on her will and found the strength to take the risk that she had to take. As dangerous as this was, it was safer than revealing her truth to anyone else. She was not a moon elf, she was Drow; her child was the product of her union with the devil Mammon. Either of these truths could mean death to her and her child.
After an hour, she found her way to a cave that seemed to offer safety. She explored the space and decided that she could go on no further. Her water had already broken, the child was ready to be released.
At this moment, two figures appeared from the shadows. Terror would have overcome her if she were not already given to the process that was happening within her.
“Who are you?” The first shadowy figure asked.
“I am Mahaziya, I am giving birth right now.”
“Who are you?”
“We are Shadar Kai.”
The Shadar Kai stepped out of her sight, on either sides of the cave that she was in.
Mahaziya laid down on a rock, wrapped the chain around her legs; the chains restrained her, which gave her comfort. She placed the book inside her mouth, which stifled her moans and allowed her to breathe. She took the blade and cut her skin, dropping blood into her mouth.
Whatever it was inside her started moving, working its way through her, erupting her body in pain. Instead of screaming, she chanted the name “Mammon, Mammon, Mammon”. The pain became a sacrifice and a gift that gave her strength to endure more and more pain. The pain gave way to a euphoria when the child was revealed. Stretching out its wings, it launched itself at the mother and she instinctively offered a piece of her body, a nipple that had appeared beneath her armpit. The imp drew directly from her life essence and she gave herself to it willingly.
“Your name is Uttu; you are my revenge.”
Somewhere between the meta of the real and the unreal, a vision appeared of a purple stone. The Obsidian Bay gang have been hanging out in the VR laboratory of the Wizard’s guild lately. Ian is researching ways to restore Mordenkainen’s mind and has organized adventures based on items that hold memories of his amazing life. An old pair of socks have been used as objects for legend lore to work its deductive magic on. From this spell, Ian has organized a fantastic adventure for the gang to play out as if they were the legendary team of wizards, cleric and fighter. There are secrets to be found in this mystery. As the OC crew lift their heads out of the Helms of Virtual Reality and prepare to eat, they all see Ian joyful and triumphant.
“I’ve got it.”
He raises his fist triumphantly.
“You’ve happened upon the first warlock.”
He takes the helm from Cain and sets it down on the arm that holds it, allowing him to raise up from his resting position.
“That’s why this is important, this is much more than wizard training. You are all discovering something precious about the world that Mordenkainen created by his discoveries.”
He stands up and looks around the room.
“Don’t let what I am telling you interfere with your reactions in a meta way. Just try to survive the encounter. Mordenkainen already did. Your persistence has allowed me to arrive at an amazing revelation. You are witnessing the first of the Warlocks in the Faerun. In the time that this was created, there were no Warlocks. I can tell you that where you are going is leading you toward an amazing discovery of how the Warlock operates.”
“This might not mean anything to you, but when I was watching over your training, I realized that what is happening here is significant in more ways than you might care to understand. If you do, pay close attention to what you are seeing play out in front of you. The enemy that you are engaging does not know what it is that they are doing, but what they are doing has incredible implications for how we relate to the fiends that operate just outside our plane of existence.”
Ian motions to leave.
“I just wanted to see your faces when you stepped out. Live your experience as if it were the very first time. Someday, we might restore the mind of the mad mage. Thank you for your excellent work. I know how real it feels in there.”
Mordenkainen led his team into a beautiful dungeon. With one arcane move, doors opened that would not open for anyone else.
Somehow the friends all survived a few rooms in this adventure that was specifically meant for Mordenkainen.
Hopefully they remain as lucky.
Madame Eva was very mysterious. We heard about a wizard, who was charismatic, raised an army, but fell 1000 feet in battle with the devil Strahd. Every story that the gypsies told seemed to speak directly to our party. In the end, we found that we could not decide between friend and fiend. The lands of Barovia have been under the control of Strahd for too long.
The goblin hole training paid off. The heroes used every dirty trick that they learned fighting goblins in the goblin hole at the top level of Firefinger. In the end, they won. But it wasn’t easy.
We have been fighting Goblins and Hobgoblins for five months in Obsidian Bay. We tracked some bandits down who were raiding Poorman’s Guild shipments. We discovered that the goblins and hobgoblins were refugees from a powerful necromancer. They realized that the necromancer had been transforming dead goblin and hobgoblins into some new construct army. Cain and Qhulesss made a pact with the leader of this revolutionary unit, and promised to bring them to a place where Lazarus the Necromancer could not find them.
When we returned to check on our companions, we discovered that the Orc Hunter’s Guild was blocking the road. Just like the military contractors they were, they gave in to our request to pass when we appealed to their sense of pride and love of cold hard gold pieces.
When we got to the stronghold, there were terrifying monsters from another dimension attacking the goblinoid army. They were easily killing the Goblins, Hobgoblins and Wargs. We found ways to overcome the defenses of the newly minted constructs, but they were not easy to destroy.
In the end, the OC crew were victorious, but it took all of our spell slots and healing to keep the small unit alive.
Sarmenti couldn’t stand it. He knew that the half orc goliath barbarian gourmand chef was messing with his food. Ever since the mystery mysteries adventure, Sarmenti was waiting for the gang to get him back for his amazing practical joke, but it hadn’t happened yet. Every day, he opened his door slowly and peeked outside.
Every person who threw their pot to piss in out their window seemed to be pointing it at him.
He couldn’t stop worrying about where the next ironic attack might come from. He was crumbling under the pressure to be more ironic.
Thorgath brought him his new steak meal, again. The Grande Steak Extravaganza With Meatballs and Mystery Meat Sauce showed up on the menu the day after Sarmenti brought the boys over to the House of the Red Sash and tricked them into cleaning the sheets. Somehow this mystery meat sauce was a grand joke meant to fool him into eating what must be something absolutely terrible. He knew how practical jokes worked, since he was so good at them. He was convinced that the mystery was something to be feared.
Sarmenti took his fears to Cain, looking for a confidant. As soon as Cain heard what he said, he jumped up and dashed to the kitchen, demanding that Thorgath tell him what was in this “mystery meat sauce”. Thorgath had no idea what Cain was going on about, he was completely innocent of any of Sarmenti’s advanced, diabolical thinking. As Cain turned around, he murmured under his breath “Sarmenti”. Hearing this name, Thorgath realized that Sarmenti was complaining about his food, he popped rage, searched for Sarmenti and ended up in the basement, attacking the tree trunks that supported the structure, causing the entire building to shake violently.
Sarmenti was already outside by the time Thorgath was looking for him.
Gundigoot was lighting his spliff when he saw Sarmenti lurking outside.
“What’s going on, Sarmenti?”
“I think I complained about Thorgath’s cooking because I got caught up in my own practical joke.”
“I saw what you did, and I’ve been waiting for this to come to a head.”
“Help me, Gundigoot, I can’t go back in there like this… I could use minor illusion and”
“Magic is never going to work on someone as simple as Thorgath. He is going to have to see whatever it is that we do for himself. I have an idea. How’s your spittake?”
Gundigoot motioned for a fey creature to appear and it did. He asked it to go get a giant slug from the Druid’s Grove and have its soul moved on so they could use its body for a ritual. The sprite flew off and returned within an instant with a dead giant slug.
“How’s your gag reflex?”
“ok, I guess?”
“Just put this in your mouth and get ready to spit it up when I tell you to.”
“But I don’t…”
“You don’t have to understand, just follow my lead.”
Gundigoot peeked in the door, motioned to Cain and then looked back at Sarmenti.
“Put it in”
Once he inserted the dead giant slug in his mouth, Gundigoot grabbed Sarmenti and shoved the door open.
“I got him! Help me Cain! Get Thorgath, we need his rage!”
Gundigoot threw Sarmenti on a table and started beating on his chest, while looking him in the eyes and shouting “I’m going to beat the devil out of him! It’s almost out! Just one minute more!”
Thorgath was running around the counter when Gundigoot warned “Sarmenti was infected by a Slaad Tadpole! He has been out of his mind for a week!”
With one more dramatic punch to his chest, Gundigoot declared, “Here it comes!”
Sarmenti spit up the slug, Gundigoot alley ooped it to Cain, who then attacked it, knocking it to the ground at Thorgath’s feet.
Gundigoot instructed “Kill it, Thorgath – but don’t cook it! I’m going to have this thing destroyed immediately.”
And with that, Thorgath accepted Sarmenti again.
Obsidian Bay looked like an easy place to earn some experience. No wonder Baggi sent me here, Rhokin thought.
He found his way easy inside Obsidian Bay. A guard offered his hand as an offering plate for donations, and Rhokin quickly responded with a warm handshake. As a merchant with goods to sell, the City Guard didn’t want to hassle this capitalist any more than they were required to according to the actual rules.
Once inside the OC, he headed straight toward the Amble Theatre. Before he could get inside, there was a gnome doing a puppet show. This was no normal puppet show. Most people would miss out on the intertextuality of gnome lore and the subtleties present in this play, produced freely for the citizens of Obsidian Bay. Rhokin’s heart broke that more people didn’t notice the classic symbolism present in this random performance of street art.
The performer held a hat out for coin and the people who had found so much meaning in his performance were quick to move on.
Rhokin asked for information about this town from this trustworthy puppet. Being able to see someone eye to eye was a rare privilege for anyone trapped in a world dominated by a much larger race. He was speaking to Moppo, a character from a story his mother had told him growing up. Moppo explained that he didn’t have any need but to entertain, but Kendrick – the gnome hiding behind a scarf an arms length away had lots of mortal needs. Moppo would be glad to help, but what could he get in exchange for his services?
Rhokin had spells trapped in bottles. He offered a hold person potion, guaranteed to lock someone in place long enough to defuse any dangerous situation.
“You should seek out the gobin in this wanted poster, I can tell you where he is. There are two sets of wanted posters all around town. Do not bother with the goblin girl, she is also worth 500GP, but you won’t be able to find her. The goblin firestarter is trouble. He can burn himself at will. Incapacitate him quickly! He is in the ruins near the docks area. Everyone avoids it for fear of awakening undead there. The wizards have not been able to find a solution. Best to get in and get out as quickly as possible. If he gives you trouble, come find us. Moppo can help you. Kendrick here has a play to perform. Don’t bother about the goblin girl, that burnie goblin is worth 500GP!”
With that exchange, Rhokin was off to find some food. The Welcome Wench in the adventurer’s quarter seemed to be the right place to find food and possibly a friend who might be interested in helping him track down this dangerous goblin. He would have to give up some of the bounty, but some bounty is better than no bounty.
He narrowly avoided a man chucking a pot of piss out his window, met the owner of the Welcome Wench outside smoking some elven herbs and was introduced to Forte. Forte was easy to make friends with and was super interested in going on an adventure. A bard could offer him a good mix of support. Off they went to the ruins.
Stealthily searching the ruins, Rhokin found a hole that was perfect for goblins to hide in. He tried to intimidate Forte into taking the lead. Forte noped out and hid around a corner. He was inspired to write a poem. So he did.
Rhokin looked around using his darkvision. He saw an ancient passageway, littered with fresh kindling, ready to burn. He chucked in a bomb. The explosion went off, and fire spread around a corner and down the hall. The fire burned and grew in size. Wind erupted from the portal that he stood in, and some new fire fiercely raged toward him. This was the place. He waited until the fire went down. Undeterred, he stepped into the smoldering ruins. As he turned the corner, a magical bonfire erupted behind him, blocking his exit. In the distance he could see a makeshift throne, and behind it, something was burning bright. This was his flaming goblin prey! He walked toward him, promising that he could help him. Once he entered the throne room, he heard “Attack!”. From the shadows, another goblin attacked with a scimitar and nimbly escaped. He missed. Rhokin took a potion that made him grow larger, and he approached the immolated Goblin who was worth 500GP. His attack missed, the Goblin behind him didn’t. The firey goblin fired a firebolt, missing.
In the end, there was a lot of missing. But the gnome lay dead on the ground. He found out the hard way how dangerous a goblin hole can be.
Smoke rose from the hidden entrance of Plirt’s kingdom. He had to find another place to hide, since this was sure to attract the wrong kind of attention.
Ari was amazed at this thing they called a comic book. He couldn’t believe the title when he read it. “How to level up your werewolf form in a super-meta way”. This comic book thing perfectly captured something he was totally worried about at the present moment. The leveling up stuff made no sense. It talked about hit points and things in a way that didn’t seem necessary at all. What he understood is that he had to fight. He had to fight with another werewolf. He had recently found out that he was sleeping in the same cell as a werewolf. Somehow this excited him because he realized that he didn’t have to feel shame about what he knew he was around this person.
He knew he knew more than he was admitting to himself for at least one murder more than he was letting on… to himself. At least in the backstory that he could remember. It is all easier to remember when he simplifies it.
All of a sudden, things became too meta and he found himself waking up into his cell, looking at Everard sleeping across the room. For as long as Ari was willing to remember, he feared the thought of leaving himself alone with another human being.
He knows his innocence is a lie woven in fey magic to protect him from the truth. He can fiercely fight as a creature from another part of reality as if it were an extension of him.
And he likes it.
He likes to know that he is alpha. Everything needs to know what alpha is, and He is it.
“Yes you are, Ari.” The Inquisitor says.
Ari looks up at the Inquisitor, and asks
“This is the part where I go to sleep, right?”
Mahaziya and Lostivius walked around the city. Mahaziya was looking for an interesting cult. Lostivius knew of a few cults and some rumors. The Cult of People who Give People Dirty Looks has terrible leadership and is especially vulnerable. It’s members are cult cultists, they hang out with cults that are new and jump from cult to cult with regularity.
The Cult of the Eternal Flame seemed interesting. They made their way there and met Murnau. He was interested in knowing more about Horus. He invited them to his next bonfire.
He also mentioned something about a wounded red dragon that they were interested in. She had recently laid eggs, and the cult was offering a reputation contract for anyone who could secure the eggs. Making new Dragon Knight hatchlings available for the cult would buy a lot of power.