The Consulting Team

The Insidious Threat

—Vassago and Lydia departed on a trip around the world with a stocked bag of holding, rings of warmth and a flying carpet. Some of those who know Lydia well observed slightly odd behavior from her. She seemed to stare off into the distance a lot and had little of her normal vibrancy. Perhaps it is because Vassago wouldn’t agree to marry her before the trip?

With the Crow destroyed heavily damaged, the Consultants were temporarily based in the Pediment Building, where the Mayor’s offices are located. This allowed them to have access to information about what was happening around the city.

Once plans to rebuild the Crow became widely known, a fierce opposition has risen up against it. Led by a paladin and priest of Iomedae named Tira Ronnova, a mob of people have appeared each day outside the Pediment building, chanting scornfully. The gist of their message is:

  • If the gods cleansed it and punished the city for our pride, then rebuilding the Crow will certainly incur their wrath.
  • There is a known infernal in the Consultants’ employment (Baz)
  • Among the slogans chanted by the crowd, were "rebuilt with rot” and “take heed, take heed!”

Streetside soothsayers and priests gathered nearby also seem to believe that the world was going to come to an end at the next eclipse. References to “when the sun rises at midnight” were frequently heard. Several members of the Consultants recognized these lines from a prophecy so old that its author is long forgotten. However, enough events from the lengthy work have come true to give it credence.

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The Sihedron and King Xin

The following are the events which took place during the marathon gaming session in Reno, NV from 3/17 – 3/20.

Sardis and the Devil

Recruiting the Skylarks

A Dark Summoning

The Herald of Alaznist

The Source of the Summoning

The Runelord’s Army

Van der Meer and the Hombres del Toro

Into the Boneyard

The Fortress of Ceraphalomedes

The Horreum and the Tapestry

Van der Meer Returns

Assembling the Sihedron

The Rise of King Xin

The Battle of the Menagerie

At the end of the Battle, the Sihedron fell from Marlin’s crown, once again broken into seven shards. However, their magic was different now. As Xin’s twisted undead form finally found peace in the afterlife, the Shards of Sin once again became the Shards of Virtuous Rule.

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Days Six Through Eight: The Heist at Heidmarch Manor

Planning
At the dawn of day six, the Skylarks considered their next steps. The golden chest, stolen on the previous night from the Chimney Sweeps, proved to be impossible to open without the key, and based on the note recovered with the chest, the key was located at Heidmarch Manor. The party decided to use their Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments to bury the chest under the floor of the small warehouse in their offices, as well as to conceal the body of Barbas, their recently deceased guild leader.

The Contract
Because Heidmarch Manor was on the list of list of sites and monuments whose cleaning contracts are managed at the Ordellia Embassy, Fraud and Kiara paid a visit to Augusto Zanca, the embassy clerk who handles those contracts. As it turned out, Heidmarch Manor was on the list to be cleaned and painted, but the contract was not due for another month. A bribe convinced Augusto to pull some strings and escalate the timeline of the contract, and he awarded it to the Skylarks. The Skylarks departed that day for Heidmarch Manor in the far northern section of the city.

Heidmarch Manor
At Heidmarch Manor, the party met with the Major Domo who informed them that all of the windows and doors to the manor were protected by powerful glyphs. He would disable the glyphs room-by-room as the Skylarks were ready. Also, a guard would follow the Skylarks around the manor and be present in the rooms being cleaned “to answer any questions you might have.”

The next morning, the party arrived to begin work. Most of this day was used to scout out the location and to learn the schedules of the inhabitants of the manor, particularly Sheila Heidmarch and Van der Meer, the wizard. Later in the day, a safe was discovered in Van der Meer’s room, and the Skylarks focused more on his activities after that. Also, during the course of the first day, Odie Phrexen of the Washside Ringers and Jaster Frallino, the guild leader of the Gallowed, separately arrived and met with Sheila and Van der Meer.

Fraud used his Earring of Eavesdropping to listen in on the conversation between Sheila, Van der Meer and Odie Phrexen. During this discussion, Odie was questioned extensively regarding the theft of the golden chest and his role in it. He admitted to stalling the Esmeralda in customs but no further involvement. Van der Meer threatened Odie with a fate worse than death if he failed to recover the chest quickly. Odie then left the manor, stopping to vomit on the sidewalk, before going on his way.

Jaster Frallino visited later in the day. The Skylarks were unable to eavesdrop on the conversation, but as Jaster was seen leaving in an obvious fury, Malachi used Detect Thoughts on him. What Malachi gathered went something like this: “I’m going to find them, and then I’m going to kill them. No, wait. First I’ll find them, then I’ll feed their feet to my barracuda, then I’ll kill them. No, wait. I’ll feed their families to the barracuda first. Yeah. Kill their pets, too. Oh, and burn down their houses…” His thoughts continued in this vein until he walked out of range of the spell.

During this time, the Skylarks kept a constant eye on Van der Meer. In the early afternoon, they saw him attempt a scrying spell. The scrying was viewed from outside his window by the Skylarks, and in it they saw an image of Sheila Heidmarch in another part of the manor walking down a hallway with a woman who appeared to be a servant. They approached a tapestry, at which point Van der Meer leaned forward intently. However, the vision suddenly went dark, and Van der Meer dismissed the spell with an angry gesture.

The Skylarks left the manor at the end of the first day and returned the next morning. They had discovered that Van der Meere was in the habit of taking long walks around the manor grounds in the late morning, and the Skylarks saw this as their opportunity to break into his room and attempt to open the safe.

As some of the group cleaned the windows in a separate area, and Kiara distracted a guard outside, Varo Pavan used the Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments to paint a hole in Van der Meer’s wall, allowing Dol’oren to enter. Dol’oren detected and removed a glyph from the safe and managed to pick the very complex lock with some difficulty. Inside the safe, Dol’oren found a small box and a bag. Finding the key in the box, Dol’oren took it, but he returned the box and left the bag in the safe. Varo Pavan painted over the hole in the wall, and Dol’oren left the room without detection. With their tracks reasonably covered, the Skylarks remained onsite to finish the job before departing for Ordellia late in the afternoon.

Opening the Chest
Arriving at their headquarters, the Skylarks immediately recovered the chest and used the key to open it. Inside they discovered that the chest was larger on the inside than the outside, wherein they found a shard that appeared to be a part of a larger whole. It clearly had magic properties. In addition, there was a large bundle of items with another note attached. It implied that these items were to be used as a payment (supposedly by Van der Meer) for some unknown service performed by an unknown party. It also implied that the items would help this third party in their next endeavor. What that might be was unclear.

Among the items found were:
10,000 gp in gems
Staff of Thunder and Lightning
Staff of Healing
Luck Blade
Wand of Wonder
Adamantine Armor +1 of Fire Resistance
Vicious Shortbow, +2
Sunblade
Bracers of Defense
Cloak of Protection
Helm of Comprehending Languages
6 Honing Stones

Potions and Oils:
Superior healing x5
Greater healing x10
Vitality x5
Invulnerability x5
Heroism x5
1 jar of Keoghtem’s Ointment (2 doses)

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Day Five - The Shipment Heist

Planning and Interruptions
The Skylarks awoke one the morning of the fifth day, and began preparing for the upcoming heist. The plan, once hashed out and agreed upon, was to intercept the crate at the rendezvous point on Pier 4, kill Orsino and Nestore, and frame Saffo Bria for the theft.

The planning was interrupted by the bell ringing in the hideout to inform the party that there was trouble at the front office. Kavi Jas was minding the store front when a guardsman came by asking after Malachi. Kiara went to determine what the problem was, and discovered that the guard was Priam Calcaro, Malachi’s city watch contact. He informed Kiara that the watch was coming by to question Malachi and Dol’oren regarding the robbery at the Rose and Rake the previous night. “You tell that infernal bastard he owes me one,” was Priam’s parting shot to Kiara before leaving.

The watch did arrive about half an hour later, but they were turned away claiming that Malachi and Dol’oren were not there. They returned several times throughout the day.

Knowing that the watch was looking for them, Malachi and Dol’oren adopted disguises with the help of Kiara. Dol’oren was disguised as an old beggar and made his way to Pier 4 to scout out the location. Once there, he discovered that some makeshift repairs had been made to the docks, apparently by someone hired by the Chimney Sweeps or the Washside Ringers in preparation for the rendezvous. Kiara spent a considerably longer time that morning working on an intricate disguise that would allow Malachi to move about the city freely, while covering his sawed-off horns. The result was an elven lady with an elaborate headdress.

Skorpa went to the magic shop to purchase supplies while Kiara remained in the hideout. Fraud, also remaining behind, spent the morning preparing a forged document – seemingly instructions from Saffo Bria to Orsino – to double cross the Washside Ringers, and showing his knowledge of the plan to steal the crate from the Gallowed in the first place.

The Heist
The Skylarks moved into the alleys near Pier 4 and set up a watch from a hidden position. As the party predicted, the wagon – occupied by Nestore and several of his men – arrived at the pier first. Once the wagon was on the pier, the Skylarks moved into position to attack.

Using silence and sleep spells, the party evened the odds and helped to ensure that the encounter would not be overheard at the other distant piers where the flotilla was unloading their cargo. The following attack was swift and brutal, and the end saw all of the Skylarks’ enemies dead, including Nestore.

Soon, however, the distant splash of an oar warned the party that the Orsino’s dinghy was nearby. The Skylarks quickly cleaned up the area as best they could, and attempted to deceive the men aboard the approaching vessel. The ruse was partially successful in the fog, and the small boat tied off at the pier before realizing that all was not as it seemed. Another brief fight followed as Orsino and his men were killed.

An extremely heavy crate was aboard the vessel and had to be offloaded to the wagon. The party also found a number of enchanted items on the bodies of Nestore and Orsino, as well as the remaining missing items from the robbery at the Skylarks’ office.

After planting the forged letter on Orsino, the party quickly quickly made their way back to the Skylarks’ office nearby, driving the wagon into the storage area of the building. Once there, the crate was opened to reveal a chest inside, which appeared to be made of solid gold, seemingly all of a piece except for the very finest hint of hinges and lid. The craftsmanship was superb. It wasn’t made of a shiny, brassy gold, but rather it had a yellow, buttery gleam, almost as if it is emanating its own light. Upon its surface was etched many panels, and within each was an exquisitely carved sigil in the language of magic. At the border of each panel were many additional tiny runes, thousands in all. The chest weighed approximately 500 lbs and was estimated to be of incalculable value.

Also inside the crate was a short letter, which read:

V,

Enclosed is the object you have commissioned me to acquire. The task came with great difficulty and loss of life, so believe me when I say that you did not overpay for my services. I trust the key was safely delivered to Heidmarch Manor on schedule, and that you will have no difficulty retrieving the contents of the chest.

Sincerely,
X

Day 4

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Battle with Ardanthus
and facing the Jesus

Vassago, Shimra, Marlin, Sardis, and Hadrith all crammed into the small chamber behind the hidden door. Taking turns at the arrow slit sized spy hole, the looked down onto an ominous scene: the elven priest of Yarmouth appeared to be conducting a ritual to open the last of Groteus’ so-called dooms day doors. This one was different than the others however. Large, stone double doors with Thessalonian Runes depicting the end days glowed in ghoulish cold blue hues.

The elf was guarded by 4 sinspawn and two glabrezou.
Shimra had been thumbing through the manuscript found back in the secret chamber of the library. The book, written in Abyssal, was a scholarly work describing magical theories for redirecting teleportation and planer transport devices. The manuscript, along with the scribbled notes in the margins, led Shimra to conclude that Ardanthus was not intent on channeling in Groteus, but somehow redirecting the portal to channel in his abyssal demonic deity – Yarmoth!

Thinking fast on his feet, Marlin stone shaped the portal to be large enough for the rest of the party to leap into the room. Landing soft on their feet thanks to a feather fall spell, the party moved to attack. Just as they did, Ardanthus placed a peculiar candle before the door which fizzled and sparkled, burning down quickly.

Hardrith was able to reach the candle, grab it, and dimension door across the large room where he crushed out the flame. Ardanthus was enraged. The ensuing battle left Hadrith very close to death as Ardanthus exacted his vengeance with a Fire Storm spell. Others were grievously wounded.

Marlin finally lept from his vantage point above the party (after suffering the effects of a cloud kill spell), and used a wish spell to restore the party’s health. Ardanthus fell to Vassago’s sword. The bloody battle continued as two more sinspawn reinforced the monsters but in the end, the room fell silent with the Consultants victorious yet again!
The party found many incredible items including 4 suits +1 chain, 2 +1 longbows, flail of warning, ring of pro +1, the Shard of Envy and …(other stuff Mike wrote down).

Leaving this chamber the party passed out through another double doomsday door and entered a burial chamber. An ancient cleric of Groteus named Kandamerous rose and spoke the party. As the party convinced Kandamerous that they had no intent of opening the Groteus Doomsday door he cast a divination to his God of doom. He said, “now is not the time for the end of this world. I will resume my guardianship of Groteus’ door but the doors leading to this chamber should be locked and the keys destroyed! You will need this to ensure that this world will not end before its time!” He handed the party a scepter marked with Groteus symbols.

The party noticed that as Kandemarous spoke they were surrounded by about 2 dozen mummies. As Kandemerous returned to his sarcophagus, they returned to theirs.
The party took a short rest. When they re-emerged in early light of dawn, they noticed a man resting against the tower making coffee by a campfire.

“Buenas dias amigos! (he spoke in Andoran) I am Jesus Estaban Juarez Villatoro, leader of Los Hombres del Toro. Perhaps you heard of me, no?”

He went on to explain that he had be asked by the lovely Mrs. Heidmarch to offer just compensation for the relic they just acquired, the Shard of Envy.

As one may imagine, his offer was not well received. Hadrith fired arrows as he and Vassago charged. Faster than Admiral Akbar can say “It’s a trap!” The other members of Los Hombres del Toro ambushed the Consultants.

Hadrith was quick with his wits – he polymorphed Jesus into a bunny. However; an assassin with deadly aim with long bow attacked from an upper story window as a huge Barbarian with a halberd met Hadrith at the corner of the building. As Hadrith retreated back in the Abby, a sorcerer cast insect plague in the room.

After a couple rounds, Hadrith lay dead (again) covered in bugs at Marlin’s feet. Marlin hauled him downstairs and healed him as the rest of the party retreated as well.
Next session starts with the consultants at bottom of stairs with Los Hombres del Toro hot on their heels. Will the consultants fight or flee?

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The Bowels of Windsong Abby
Close to the Prize

The Consultants delved deeper into the dungeons below the Abby and beyond the first doomsday door.

Upon interacting with the first door (without using the key recovered from the Medusa or the Medusa’s poem) a devious trap was triggered. The party was transported to some sort of mini plane, In the center was a crumbling temple of Pharasma and overhead was a moon with a horrid grinning skull upon its icy blue surface.

Luckily, Hadrith quickly deduced how to use a magical rock maze to teleport back to the prime material. The group used a stone shape spell to pass into the dungeons without dealing with the door.

Below the party quickly encountered a group of tougher than average orcs, their pack of wargs, and a Ogre champion. After a bloody battle, the party explored the level.

AS the party moved through the dungeon complex and passed additional doomsday doors, they encounter power qlippoths from the edges of the abyss. The beasts conjured acidic fog clouds and other spells but eventually, Shimra and Marlin were able to banish them back to the backdoor of hell from whence they came.

Eventually the party found a library occupied by some sort of undead spirit. Although the being passed itself off as a helpful librarian concerned with the fate of the Abby’s clerics, the bogeyman soon tried to trick the party into opening a trapped door. He was summarily dispatched.

The Library contained some valuable books and material: Scrolls of Commune, planer alley, and greater restoration. Scroll written in Abyssal by Ardanthus relating his perverse views of undeath being natural part of a souls progression to Great Beyond. Another book in abyssal, Secrets of the Blackfire.

250 ilbs of books in ancient thessalonian about Groteus – worth 2500 gp to a scholar.

Soon they happened upon a macabre scene – a hump-backed wizard/cleric was performing a lobotomy on a frail old cleric with the help of a hag. It looked like he was creating some sort of alchemical golem.

Another battle and the party once again proved victorious.

Finally party found a small window that spied down into a large chamber where Ardanthus, two qlippoth and several sinspawn, appear engageed in some sort of ritual before a door…

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Day Four - Completing the Investigation

Robbery at The Rose and Rake
The adventure began with the Skylarks’ robbery in progress at the Rose and Rake. Having entered through the back door, the party surprised and subdued two guards and a theater manager without giving away your identities. However, the party made a lot of noise at the base of the stairs leading up to the VIP rooms, and two bodyguards (later surmised to have been hired by Hans Rudell, the bard) charged down the stairs and attacked.

A sharp engagement followed, during which Kiara and Dol’oren were forced to consume powerful potions of healing to continue. Once these threats were eliminated, the party climbed the stairs to discover that the Amazing Leopold’s personal guards, who were considerably more experienced and better equipped than the others, had erected a barricade on the landing, above. The Skylarks attacked, fighting over the barricade and finally clearing it.

Malachi magically transported himself ahead to search for the bard, who had disappeared and was presumably fleeing. Upon entering one of the bedchambers, Hans Rudell appeared and cast an enchantment spell upon Malachi. Malachi, now under the bard’s control, charged out of the room and stabbed Dol’oren in the back, injuring him. Fortunately, Malachi resisted the spell’s effects at that point and regained his senses.

The two elite bodyguards were dispatched with some difficulty, one of them being roasted alive in his own armor by Kiara’s magic before she delivered a merciful killing blow. Hans Rudell, however, blinded Skorpa and attempted to flee by leaping out of a window. Kiara also leaped out of the window in pursuit and killed him in the alley behind the theater.

The party searched the rooms, and after removing several traps, were able to recover the pigments, as well as a considerable amount of coin from the Amazing Leopold’s chambers. The Canaith Mandolin was recovered by Kiara from Hans Rudell, and several magic weapons and suits of armor were recovered from the bodyguards. Once Skorpa’s blindness ended, the Skylarks returned to their guild house.

Return to Dead Man’s Keep
There was only time enough for a short rest before the party left for the meeting at Dead Man’s Keep. Kiara disguised herself, Dol’oren and Skorpa as Shoanti thugs and approached the gathering in the graveyard. With some fast talking, Kiara explained their presence, and they were accepted into the clandestine meeting. In this meeting, the party learned the following:

  • No one in the Chimney Sweeps or the Washside Ringers knows the contents of the crate. They have just been told that it is of immense value. A low-level Gallowed who was privy to the plan to escort the crate through the city was captured and interrogated by Saffo Bria. That is how the plan for the heist began.
  • The Gallowed were hired by someone from Heidmarch Manor to ensure that the crate was safely transported across the city.
  • There will be a rendezvous onshore between the dinghy and the wagon at a place referred to as “Pier Four.” The party knows its location.
  • Nestore will drive the wagon
  • Orsino will be aboard the skiff
  • The remaining stolen items in Nestore’s possession will be placed somewhere near the docks to implicate the Skylarks in the theft of the crate.
  • The Washside Ringers have a man inside Red Kestrel Imports. He will take the crate from Nestore and ensure that it is well-hidden among the hundreds of other crates in the warehouse.
  • Before departing, the leader says that this is the one and only shot to recover the chest. The Gallowed will be waiting at the docks, and if they get their hands on the crate, they will take it to Heidmarch Manor straight away. The crate is considered unrecoverable once it is there.

Tessik’s
The party returned safely to their headquarters. That evening, Malachi and Dol’oren went to Tessik’s to place bets on the rigged fight. There, they encountered Benito Bianchini, the eye witness to the aftermath of the robbery at the Skylarks office. The description he provided of the person he saw leaving the premises at that time clearly fit Orsino.

In the gambling den at Tessik’s, Dol’oren and Malachi observed a member of the Chimney Sweeps place a bet on Tazio, and he clearly was trying to do this without being noticed. They decided to interrogate the Chimney Sweep, and he dropped a hint that all was not as it appeared with the upcoming fight. In response to this, Dol’oren placed a very large bet on Tazio. Malachi, however, placed a remarkably large bet on Tazio and paid in platinum. This did not go unnoticed.

The fight between Patrizio Veltre and Tazio Zingaro ended very differently than originally advertized. Patrizio clearly had the advantage throughout the entire fight, and had beaten Tazio into near-unconsciousness. But as Patrizio turned his back to his enemy to engage with the crowd, Tazio leaped up, pulling a hidden weapon, a Herald’s Blade, from his boot. The type of weapon is called a Herald’s Blade because it is used for a very specific purpose: to deliver message jobs. The blade folds into the hilt, making it easy to conceal. However, when unfolded, the blade is a full 10-12” long, making it a deadly weapon. Grabbing Patrizio by the hair, Tazio drove this weapon brutally through the base of his skull and out of his mouth.

There are two types of message job. The message through the eye is usually done on a subordinate or someone close to you to say “we’re watching you.” The second type is the message through the mouth. The intent of this message is to say “someone has been talking.”

The dead man was a Washside Wringer. He had recently been talking to people about the shipment and a certain agreement between his guild and the Chimney Sweeps. In fact, he had spoken to Fraud about it a couple of days ago (See Day 2).

Dol’oren and Malachi followed the Chimney Sweep out of Tessik’s and killed him in an alleyway.

Next Time
Violence is escalating between the Skylarks and the Chimney Sweeps. The shipment arrives tomorrow at dusk, and aboard the Esmeralda is an item of incalculable value. You possess detailed knowledge of the Chimney Sweeps’ plan to steal it, and you are aware of their intent to frame you for the theft. The initiative is yours.

Day 3 (Part 2)
Day 5

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Day Three (Part Two) - The Amazing Leopold Krauss

Upcoming Events
This evening: The Amazing Leopold’s first performance
Night 2: Fight at Tessik’s
Day 3: The shipment arrives

Planning
The party began the session in the secret guild house beneath the Skylarks’ office, sorting through the items found in the abandoned warehouse and discussing their next steps. Of particular interest was the syringe and the 4 vials of clear liquid. Malachi tasted a small amount of it, but it proved to be tasteless and had no immediate effect. The party, after consulting with their guild leader, Barbas, was able to determine that the liquid was a powerful ingested poison. However, the specific type remained unknown.

Barbas remained behind with the new recruits, Kavi Jas and Varo Pavan, while everyone else went to the first performance of the Amazing Leopold Krauss. Barbas seemed intent on drowning his sorrows in brandy from his private strong room due to the loss of his best friend, Terzo, during the robbery.

The Chimney Sweeps
At the entrance to the Rose and Rake, the party encountered Saffo Bria, the leader of the Chimney Sweeps. Saffo was accompanied by his lieutenant, Emilio, as well as two tough-looking Shoanti thugs, one of whom had an eye patch, and the other carried a bandolier of daggers. Saffo expressed concern over the recent robbery to the party and asked after the health of Barbas. Some of the party had doubts as to his sincerity, and considered his words to be a veiled threat.

The Amazing Leopold Krauss
Inside the theater, dramatic lighting and eerie music preceded the entrance of the Amazing Leopold. The music filled the entire chamber, even though it is seems to only be coming from one instrument – a mandolin. This was the bard, Hans Rudell, who often travels with Leopold and is known to play a Canaith Mandolin – a famous bardic instrument.

The Amazing Leopold entered the stage, saying: “Matter can neither be created nor destroyed. That is what our sages would have us believe. Even the forces and entities conjured up by the magical arts must still come from somewhere, be it the realm of the fae or the elemental planes. I, however, will show you tonight, just how wrong they are.”

Using paints from an antique wooden box, he moved to an easel where he painted a rose. He then reached out and removed the rose from the drawing, and it became a three dimensional object in his hand. He laid the rose on a table, then painted a box on the easel. He removed the box from the painting, opened the lid, and deposited the rose inside. Using mirrors to show the audience, Leopold then painted a five foot square hole in the floor, inside which he placed the box. Then, using a large sheet of parchment to cover the hole, he painted a wooden floor to match the original. Tearing away the excess parchment at the edges, he revealed that the floor was now intact and indistinguishable from the original.

Leopold returned to the easel, painted a second rose, then painted a second box over it. He removed the box from the easel, removed the rose from the box, then gave it to a young girl in the front of the audience. He then proceeded to the back of the stage where he painted a door in the stone wall, opened it and departed.

After the performance, Kiera talked to Cirano de Cesare, a regular actor at the Rose and Rake. From him she learned that Leopold liked to go out in the mornings and at noon, usually accompanied by local hired guards. It was his habit to carry a small box of paints with him when he went out. His two personal guards usually remained behind in his rooms to guard the second, larger, box of paints.

Murder Most Foul
The party returned to their guild house after the performance and made plans for the following day. There was a great deal of interest in stealing the Amazing Leopold’s paints, and they had determined that he was staying in one of the VIP rooms upstairs at the Rose and Rake. Also, plans were made to return to Dead Man’s Keep for the meeting the next day between the Chimney Sweeps and Washside Ringers. The party would disguise themselves as the Shoanti thugs who had attended the meeting on the previous day, who they had subsequently killed.

However, when midnight stuck, Malachi became violently ill from the small amount of poison he had ingested earlier in the day. It quickly became clear that the poison was of a type called Midnight Tears, one of the most powerful ingested poisons known. Malachi survived due to the fact that he only consumed a tiny dosage, but when the party entered the common area of the guild house, Barbas was found slumped over a table with a bottle of brandy nearby. He was dead, clearly from the same type of poison which had sickened Malachi.

Note the irony that earlier that day, the PCs had Barbas help identify the poison that he had already unknowingly consumed in the brandy, which would subsequently kill him that evening.

Around Barbas’ neck was a key, and the party had previous instructions that if something were to happen to him, they were to use the key to enter the strong room and find his last will and testament.

The party investigated the area and discovered that the bottle of brandy Barbas was drinking had a small hole in the cork, as if it had been pierced by a long, thin object. All of the remaining bottles in the strong room were similarly marked, apparently by the same syringe found in the possession of the Shoanti thugs at the abandoned warehouse. Also, upon re-examination of the lock to the strong room, very faint evidence of the use of lock picks was visible. The party then theorized that this was done during the robbery on the first day, and that the apparent incompetence of the thief really covered up what was done here in the strong room.

The party found and read Barbas’ will, which passed ownership of the Skylarks business to all five of the party members equally. Also, a small booklet with the codes and pass phrases for the next Thieves’ Moot was found there. In addition, Barbas left his most precious magic items to the party to be divided among themselves. These items consisted of a mask, an earring, a set of thieves’ tools, a ring and a rope.

Return to the Rose and Rake
The next morning, the Skylarks returned to the Rose and Rake, timing their arrival to coincide with the Amazing Leopold’s morning walk. Dol’oren picked the lock of the back door to the building, and the party entered in stealth.

The session ended here due to a server issue with Roll20.

Day 3 (Part 1)
Day 4

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Windsong Abbey
quest for Shard of Envy

Between Sardis’ visions of ruins and the desperate pleas of the high priest Desna, and the opportunity to get one over on Sheila Heidmarch, the Consultants teleport to the off shore of Windsong Abby.

The party invade from the rear and confront a vicious group of fey Redcaps and their allies, ettins and a hill giant. They met trapped priest of Desna, Cassamir, who warned of a doomsday door which could be opened with a key kept by a medusa.

From Cassamir and from Bevaluu, the Priest of Desna back in Magnimar, you figure out that the Abby was sacked by Aradanthus, an elf that once was a follower of Pharasma, until the fall of Aroden, the prophesied one, about 100 years ago. When Aroden fell, the age of Lost Omens began. Like many priests of Pharasma, Aradanthus looked forward to the return of Aroden which was supposed to bring about a new age of hope and reason. Aroden’s death drove Aradanthus mad – he blamed Iomedae and her followers. He lashed out murdering the high priestess of Iomedae at the Abbey, then in a fit of paranoid rage, killed 6 others. He fled to the hills and was never seen again..until now.

Cassamir tells you he was swearing oaths to the mighty Qlippoth, Yamasoth. “he plans to open the Doomsday Doors – who knows what madness and evil could result?! Groetus may start the end of this world with Yamasoth as his herald!!”

After questioning, Cassamir explains that the Abbey sits on the site of a very ancient Temple of Groetus. The doomsday doors had been sealed for millenia until Aradanthus arrived. “one reason the Abbey was built here was so we could guard the doors. Now we have failed and all is lost…unless you can stop him!”

The party proceeded to kill the medusa and her minions, finding the following loot:

50 screaming crossbow bolts (+2, creatures within 10 ft of their trajectory make DC 14 Wis save or fear til next round)

(5) 100 gp gems

2 uses of stone salve

a mysterious key

book of poetry authored by the medusa. Last poem reads as follows:

Two to left for annis hag.
Three to right for banshee nag.
One to west for greenie crone.
Two to east for spinster lone.
Two to dusk for wife in tears.
Three to dawn for witch’s leers.

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Day Three (Part One) - Stakeout and Ambush

Upcoming Calendar of Events
This evening: The Amazing Leopold’s first performance
Night 2: Fight at Tessik’s
Day 3: The shipment arrives
Night 4: The Amazing Leopold’s last performance

The Stakeout
Around midday, the Skylarks began an investigation of the abandoned warehouse mentioned during the interrogation of Colmazio. From rumors she had heard, Kiara knew that a fire had destroyed portions of the building and its contents two years ago, and its owner had gone bankrupt. The warehouse was now believed to be occupied by a Shoanti gang, or possibly more than one. Kiara and Dol’oren staked out the warehouse while Skorpa and Fraud remained at a distance. When two Shoanti thugs emerged and headed towards the docks, the Skylarks followed.

Dead Man’s Keep
They continued south past the dockway and came to Dead Man’s Keep, the district graveyard, which is surrounded by a partially ruined, crenelated 20’ high wall. The party followed the Shoanti through a waist-high breach in the wall and discovered that the the two thugs were a part of a larger meeting. Eight people in total met in the graveyard. They were overheard to say that a single crate was going to be diverted from the incoming shipment, and that it was to be transported by wagon at some point. One member of the gathering was a confirmed member of the Washside Ringers, and another was a member of the Chimney Sweeps. You did not discover the name of the ship which carried the crate, nor did you learn the location of the rendezvous with the wagon onshore. The party slipped away as the meeting was concluded, but they heard one person say that they would meet again tomorrow in the same place.

The Ambush
The Skylarks raced back to the abandoned warehouse to set up an ambush, and they surprised the two returning Shoanti in a dark alleyway where Kiara distracted them with an alluring song and dance. The two were quietly dispatched, and their bodies were dumped in a nearby stables.

The Attack
The party then entered the abandoned warehouse through a breach in the upper wall. The building was dark inside, and you – with the intent on catching the Shoanti inside unaware – carried no light sources. A fire was observed in the far southwestern corner of the warehouse, but line of sight was blocked by stacks of crates.

The Skylarks entered through the breach onto a catwalk, roughly 10’ above the floor and were immediately challenged by a lookout. Everyone leaped into action, traveling west toward the fire, some jumping to the ground level and coursing through the narrow passage through the crates, as others maintained the high ground.

Light resistance was encountered on the upper level, while Skorpa charged into the main body of Shoanti on the ground. He was quickly surrounded by five attackers and adopted a defensive stance. Despite that, he was struck multiple times, yet he displayed an inhuman toughness when he shrugged off knife attacks that would of felled most men.

Dol’oren, after helping Fraud dispatch an enemy on the catwalk, leaped to Skorpa’s aid, quickly killing enemies with precise, deadly attacks.

Kiara advanced on the ground level and was surprised by two flanking Shoanti. Aided by a Heroism spell, she handily fought off her attackers, eventually defeating both.

Fraud, alone on the catwalk, was attacked by a Shoanti, and he struggled with his opponent for half a minute before being forced to withdraw and hide amongst the detritus.

The Interrogation
Two of the Shoanti gang members were captured and questioned separately. From them, the party learned the following:

  • The most dangerous two members of this Shoanti gang had recently been recruited into the Chimney Sweeps. Their names are Orsino and Nestore. Orsino is an expert burglar with uncanny abilities in stealth. He wears an eye patch. Nestore is an expert with the thrown dagger and is known for his abilities in Dusting. He wears a bandolier of daggers and is missing a pinky on his left hand.
  • The big shipment will be delayed by customs in the harbor until darkness falls. This is Odie Phrexen’s part of the plan.
  • A small crew will row a skiff along the back side of the ship, the Esmeralda
  • The crew of the Esmeralda will kill the Gallowed thug onboard who is overseeing the shipment, and will lower a crate into the skiff using a small, hidden boom
  • The skiff will row to a hidden place on the shore where it will be met by a wagon and more muscle. It will be transported to its final destination by land.

Items of Interest
The party discovered arms, armor and coin after the battle, but a few other items seem potentially noteworthy:

  • A Syringe and three corked glass vials of clear liquid.
  • Dozens of old crates and planks with stenciling on them, which read “Red Kestrel Imports” in white paint. Some of them are pretty crude, but a few look very authentic. You’ve all seen the sigil for Red Kestrel Imports before.
  • A few of the items stolen from Skylarks guild house, some of which are worn by the gang members

Stopping Point
The adventure ended at 5pm Magnimar time.

Day Two
Day 3 (Part 2)

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