Just the Tip

Episode 16
Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Thorn has just been named the winner of Fallcrest’s Annual Cross City Race by Lord Faren Markelhay. However, as soon as the grand celebration is about to begin, guards flood the chamber and circle around the members of Just the Tip present in Moonstone Keep’s grand hall, Thorn, Ky, and Beltumal. Grok, once he threw the knife to trip up Gareth Cooper, has disappeared from sight and no one seems to know where he is.

The guards are led by the Fallcrest Guard Sergeant Murgeddin. He informs the present members of the Tip that they have been accused by Grifnar for the unlawful theft of his merchandise, and for failing to complete their contracted task of transporting goods to Hammerfast. The heroes are rightly incensed by this accusation, especially considering their past encounter with Grifnar, but Murgeddin grants the group the evening to enjoy the celebration, and deal with the issue in the morning with the Magistrate. Thus, they must remain in the keep under guard until morning.

Beltumal steps aside and speaks to Dorian Light-Step at the party. Beltumal offers congratulations on Dorian’s good show in the race, and, due to his shame at deceiving the poor young elf earlier, apologizes for his earlier transgression. He then stumbles clumsily into asking Dorian for a few favors. Unfortunately due to the increased security, Dorian can only offer his help and sources for one task, and Bel requests that Aldanian be told that Just the Tip wishes to speak with him to discuss their current predicament. Dorian, while still flirting with the awkward Dragonborn, leaves to carry out Beltumal’s request.

Meanwhile, Quinn finds himself heading towards the Temple district, and is in search of some herbal compounds to sooth his anxiety and stress after the day’s events. Quinn’s search for a purveyor of such herbal substances resulted in a red-headed Halfling beckoning for Quinn to come forward. The Halfling was offering mushrooms of a similar quality to what Quinn was searching for, and after some negotiation, the Halfling agreed to offer him a fair price for the mystical mushrooms. He turned and went down an alleyway, saying he needed to count them out, and that Quinn should come to verify the quality of the product. Quinn pursued the Halfling down the alleyway, and as soon as he entered the darkened passageway, two burly Orcs stepped from the shadows and blocked the entrance to the alley, and 2 large humans came up to flank the Halfling, all staring menacingly at Quinn.

Quinn takes a moment to assess the situation, and then calmly asks how much the mushrooms will cost. The Halfling smirks wickedly and pulls a knife out of his pocket “how about 100 gold pieces for your life instead?” Quinn nods and quickly blesses his sword as the would-be thieves move forward to flank Quinn. No time is wasted as Quinn focuses his fury upon the Halfling. No matter how hard the brigands try, none can land a blow against Quinn, and he quickly incapacitates the Halfling first, and then moves to one of the human bodyguards. The Orcs see where the situation is heading, and quickly retreat, attempting to escape the mighty Paladin’s blows. The human guard unengaged with Quinn begins to turn and run, and as Quinn takes down the guard, the fleeing man yells “The River Rats will never forget this!”

Quinn allows the remaining brigand to flee, collects the 50gp from the unconscious Halfling’s body, and picks up a vial of white powder, and a container of liquid which smells reminiscent of the fabled weed he sought out. He then heads to the House of the Sun to find Paul praying.

Back at the Keep, Beltumal speaks with Murgeddin to request that they leave the keep, under guard if they must, to seek the rest of their companions and inform them of what has transpired. Murgeddin initially denies the request, but Beltumal makes a rather convincing case at the possibility for the situation to get out of hand if armed city guards approach any of the remaining adventurers. Bel argues that it may serve to smooth things over if they see a familiar face, and thus prove less harmful to the City Guards. Murgeddin concedes to this logic, not wishing to risk his men if he can avoid it, but for only 1 member of the group. Beltumal agrees to the Sergeant’s terms and leaves with an armed escort to search for his companions.

Thorn, in all the hedonistic fervor he could muster, spent the entire evening and night with a wench in a spare room performing unmentionable acts, with screams and growls emanating from the room, in tones of both pleasure and pain. Ky stands guard outside the door, barely holding in the bile rising to her throat when Aldanian arrives to speak with the Tip. Ky explains the situation, and Aldanian promises to seek out others who might be able to help, and they will present themselves at the tribunal in the morning to make their case for the adventurers.

Beltumal and his escort of guards, led by Sgt. Murgeddin arrive at the House of the Sun to find Quinn and Paul in prayer. After explaining the situation, Grundelmar comes and speaks on their behalf to Murgeddin, who responds by cursing Grifnar’s name. The City Guard Sergeant turns to the adventurer’s and confides in them that Grifnar is not well liked around town, and if they can find a way to convince the Magistrate of their just intentions, it may be Grifnar who finds himself in trouble in the morning.

Quinn, Paul, and Beltumal stay the night in the temple, and upon leaving Quinn requests that Grundelmar hold onto his shielding blade for safe keeping, and Beltumal asks to have a message sent to Marla, wishing to speak with her at a more convenient time.

The entire group, with the notable absence of Daemon and Grok, arrive at the foot of Moonstone Keep to begin the tribunal. They notice, with no small amount of shock, that the crowd gathered this morning for the Tribunal is as big, if not larger, than the crowd for the Cross City race. Just the Tip see familiar faces throughout the crowd, all the racers from the day before, many, if not all of the shop keepers, and members of every temple in town. Quinn also notices 2 very familiar orcs who are glaring straight at Quinn. Quinn glares back with equal intensity.

A large platform has been built overnight it seems, with chairs and dividers set up on both sides, and a larger chair with high backing and cushions placed in the center. Grifnar and 3 of his nephews (who look as though they wish to be elsewhere) have already taken one side of the stage, and Just the Tip move to take their seats to begin the Tribunal.

Lord Markelhay comes forward to begin, and appoints Sir Oakley as the Magistrate for this particular dispute. Quinn recognizes Sir Oakley from portraits in the Radiant Order of the Silver Dragon strongholds he’s visited, and Beltumal recognizes the name as a hero of the order, a man of great honor and renown who is high ranking within the Order of Bahamut. Sir Oakley takes his place upon the center seat and begins the proceedings. Grifnar’s accusations are presented before all assembled, and Sir Oakley asks Grifnar to make his case. The crowd generally seems to be on Just the Tip’s side.

Grifnar describes the deal he struck with the adventurers, how he requested they take his goods to Hammerfast, and escort his nephew on the way. However, Just the Tip stopped in Silvergrail and left it there. His nephew was then attacked by bandits on his way back from Silvergrail. To add to this outrage, on their return to Fallcrest, they demanded a reward, even though they did not finish their task, and stole ten thousand gold pieces worth of masterwork weapons and supplies, most of which he was planning on donating to the City Guard. Sir Oakley then turned to Just The Tip for their rebuttal.

The Tip began by stating their agreement with Grifnar was to take the shipment to Silvergrail, which they accomplished, and that the nephew who appeared injured was not the nephew they escorted, and Ky noticed that this nephew’s injury did not seem as bad as Grifnar was saying. Once this was called into dispute, Grifnar agreed to having his nephew’s arm looked at, and asked Nimozaran the Green to inspect the injury. Just The Tip, while trusting that Nimozaran was an honest man, wanted to choose someone as a second opinion on the matter. They requested the Dwarven Cleric from Tam’s Talons to inspect the arm. While Just The Tip was certain of Ky’s vision and ability to detect that Grifnar’s nephew’s arm was not broken, they needed the crowd to doubt it from an unrelated source. The adventuring Cleric looked over the young dwarf’s arm, and proclaimed that it appeared broken to him. This shocked Just The Tip, and immediately they became suspicious of Tam’s Talons of intentionally trying to sabotage them. Beltumal even went so far as to try and detect if any arcane tampering was placed on the cast, but could sense no magical interference. Thankfully, Nimozaran’s assessment was more in their favor, where he believed the arm to only be bruised, and hardly broken.

Sir Oakley decided to continue with the tribunal, and bring the topic back to the issue at hand; the incomplete quest and theft of property. Beltumal tried to be as diplomatic as possible in detailing how the events unfolded, with Ky providing details as far as intention and her excellent marksmanship. They disputed the claim that the weapons were as high of quality as Grifnar claimed, and while they could not confirm his intentions, they certainly made their case in regards to what the agreed compensation was.

It was at this point that Sir Oakley asked if anyone from the crowd had anything to say about the adventuring group in either their defense or as accusation. From the crowd, Lannar Thistleton yelled out how those on the stage were of a good sort, but, “where’s that mother-fucker who stole my horse! He should be locked in chaaaaaains!” It was at this point that Just The Tip looked at one another, realized they never returned the horse, that they in fact lost the horse, and that Grok was still nowhere in sight to account for his actions. Ky deftly handled the situation by assuring that they would search for the horse at the earliest possible convenience, and if anyone would be able to track it down, it was our adventuring group.

From the crowd came another call, as Aldanian, Grundelmar, and Marla approached the stand to recount how the adventurers are known across the Nentir Vale as heroes, and have helped countless people in their travels. They stressed how this particular act was completely out of character for the group, and that it was much more likely that Grifnar was looking to cover a failing of his own. To which many more citizens spoke up about Grifnar’s lack of consideration, and active hostility towards his neighbors. Aldanian and company vouched for Just The Tip, and assured the Magistrate there was no way they would actively pursue such actions without just cause.

At the end of this exchange, with Grifnar looking positively furious as he is now backed into a corner, a huge plume of smoke appeared close to the platform, with sparks and flames sputtering forth from the center, and once the smoke settled and cleared, Daemon and Grok stand before everyone, with weapons drawn and ready for a fight, yelling out “Stop at once! We’ve come for our comrades and we won’t let you take them!”

As soon as the Tip see Daemon and Grok through the smoke, ready for battle, they jumped into action. Beltumal dived from the platform straight at Daemon, and tackled him to the ground, Paul followed suit to add his weight and hold Daemon down as well. Quinn meanwhile quickly moved to bring Grok down, but the half-orc deftly side-stepped the Paladin, letting Quinn fall to the floor. It was at this point that Grosh, the half-orc from the previous day and a member of Tam’s Talons, confronted Grok to calm him, exclaiming “Look! Your friends were doing fine without you, just like they usually do!” It was at this point that Grok looks around at the situation, and slowly sheaths his daggers.

Sir Oakley calls for order, and gets all the members of Just The Tip to come back to the platform to allow the Tribunal to continue, while Ky tries to use the interruption to their advantage, as an example of how we keep one another in check. “While we may be quite the band of characters, some more than others, we generally mean well and hold to our agreements.”

Sir Oakley turns to Grifnar, asking if the Dwarf has anything to say to these accusations. The grouch snarls out half-hearted proclamations about being an upstanding member of society, and other jibberish before he finally gives up and rests his case.

Sir Oakley nods and reveals his ruling. He judges in Just the Tip’s favor, agreeing that they completed the task that was mutually agreed upon between Grifnar and the group, and that they should be paid the amount that is due to them, the 5,000 gp, but the remaining goods in the wagon should be returned to Grifnar, as it is rightfully his property. Grifnar begins to smile, knowing he has at least gotten something out of this humiliating ordeal.

However, before the dwarf can say anything about this arrangement, Beltumal speaks up from Just the Tip’s corner. He agrees that Sir Oakley has ruled fair, and that there are no hard feelings between Just The Tip and Grifnar, who was clearly concerned about the merchandise, which he swore during the Tribunal in front of nearly the entire city, was to be donated to the City Guard. “While much of what Grifnar has said during these proceedings is likely false,” Beltumal begins, “we feel he was genuine with his gracious and generous donation to the City Guards. And so, of course the remaining items in our possession from Grifnar’s cart should be given to the City Guard.”

Sir Oakley nods, the barest of smiles appearing, and turns to Grifnar. “Is this acceptable to you?”

The clenching of Grifnar’s teeth could almost be heard across the square, but he begrudgingly agrees to the terms, although there was little he could do to refuse it.

Just The Tip offers their thanks to Grifnar, Ky even so much as offering her hand to the Dwarf, to which he spits out a racial-slur towards Ky, and promises that the Tip will regret crossing him one day. He walks off the platform with his nephews in tow.

Just the Tip speaks with Sir Oakley and Nathan Faringray, who congratulates and also thanks the adventurer’s for the ruling in the tribunal and the equipment his new recruits will now receive. He also brings forward an issue he hopes Just the Tip can assist him with; Winterhaven has sent a request for troops to help guard against Orcish raids occurring near the city’s border. Captain Faringray’s City Guards are already spread too thin, and asks if Just the Tip would be willing to represent Fallcrest in this endeavor. The group readily agrees and bids Nathan farewell as they bring their attention to Sir Oakley.

As it turns out, Sir Oakley is seeking a group of adventurers to escort him to Gardmore Abbey, his ancestral home, to clear out the evil they may find there, and help restore it to its rightful prominence. The adventurers agree to escort the aging Knight, but request they finish some business within Fallcrest and investigate the issue with Winterhaven before moving onto the Abbey, as they are concerned regarding the well-being of Winterhaven’s citizens. Sir Oakley has no issue with this delay, and is happy to accompany them wherever they travel.

Thorn and Ky begin their search for Lannar Thistleton’s missing horse while the rest of the group go about their preparations to leave the city. Thorn is able to track the charger to a warehouse. It certainly doesn’t look like the place where a horse would wander on its own, and suspecting foul-play, Ky looks through a window above the front door to peer inside, and spots the horse, along with Barstromun Strongbeard and other men, presumable members of the porter’s guild.

Fearing this situation could take a turn for the worst, Thorn calls for some birds to send a message to the rest of the group to arrive at the warehouse. Once the entire group arrives, Grok attempts to sway the guard at the entrance, saying he knows Barstromun and to let the group in so we can speak with the man. This fails. Beltumal then steps up, and mildly threatens the guard about something relating to fire and burning the warehouse down. The guard laughs this time and shuts the small eye-grate. Finally, Daemon walks towards the door, summons a fireball in his hand, lifting it up to the eye grate and knocking on the door again. The guard, this time seeing the fearsome, devilish light in the Tiefling’s eyes finally opens the door, directing them to Barstromun.

The group enters, asking Barstromun if they could reclaim the stolen horse which Grok lost, so they may return it to its rightful owner. Barstromun pretty much says no. Ky is able to spot a brand on the horse, an “FS” for Fallcrest Stables, but Barstromun doesn’t back down for a second, and twists a fancy yarn about how the brand actually stands for “Farstromun Strongbeard”, an alias of his. Beltumal must finally ask what it would take to get the horse back, which Strongbeard unabashedly says 125 gold pieces. Beltumal has never met Barstromun before, but he’s encountered enough people like him in Diyun to know how his kind operates. He begins to broker a deal with Strongbeard regarding trade routes to Sarthel, and possibly even Diyun to the far South. This piques Barstromun’s mercantile interest, and agrees to let the horse go for 125 gp, but offers a 1% commission on every wagon-load which travels to Sarthel after a month of expenses. The group haggles the rate up to 5%, and a deal is struck, written and signed by Barstromun himself right there in the warehouse. All that’s left is for Just The Tip to establish the trade route.

After returning the charger to the Fallcrest Stables, Lannar was so grateful he was willing to give the group a deal on horses, and thus the adventurers purchased 5 horses at a discounted price. Quinn and Thorn devised a plan to save some money, and Thorn had himself injured by the returned charger. Lannar was frightened by the wolfish visage of Thorn’s face after being hit by the charger, and requested the group leave. Beltumal and Ky tried to smooth things over, particularly for Thorn’s actions, and the group left on good, if uneasy, terms.

It was time the group offloaded much of their treasure for gold. They first traveled to All that Glitters and spoke once again with Dorian Light-Step about selling some gems. Beltumal had to, again, deal awkwardly with the flirty Dorian, and eventually was directed to Catseye. After viewing the gems, her and the group began to speak of adventures they’ve been on, and what they had seen. She inquired to see if they ever met a man who goes by the name Karl, who has a scar across one of his eyes. When the group doesn’t recall anyone by that name, she asks if they could keep an eye out for him. The group tries to press her for further information, but all she’ll say in a rather forlorn tone, is that he is just someone who took something from her and she wishes it to be returned.

Once the heroes agree to her quest, Catseye is willing to purchase all their gems at market value. As they leave, Beltumal tries to see if Dorian is able to take their jewelry in the store, unfortunately Dorian took this to mean it was being offered to him as a gift from Beltumal, for which the Dragonborn tried to clarify his actual intention was to sell Dorian the item. Suffice to say, Dorian was not pleased, and the group left with Beltumal sputtering for some form of response to make things better, and failing miserably.

They continued on to Naerumar’s Imports where they show Orest Naerumar, the proprietor, the jewelry they possess and Paul’s mirror. At first, Orest is unsure of the worth of such items, but recognizes that they are old, even ancient. Beltumal inspects the items and recognizes the designs and symbols of the Nerathi Empire along all of the items. The mirror especially holds some arcane significance, perhaps as a scrying tool for a Wizard of the former empire. Orest becomes very interested in the mirror, and purchases both it and the silver necklace. Orest requests that the adventurers come back to him if they find anymore items with historical value.

Before leaving on their journey, Beltumal visits with Marla at the temple dedicated to Erathis to discuss any knowledge she may have of the Silverclaw clan and its history. Unfortunately she knows nothing at this point, but promises to look into the matter through her contacts, and requests that Beltumal come back to speak with her regarding what Just The Tip finds at Gardmore Abbey, as it was an important site to the Order of Bahamut, and she would like to know more about its fall. She also informs him that the Eladrin were allies of the Order during the Abbey’s prime, and that a garden may have interesting artifacts or clues as to their relationship.

The Tip finally moves on to Winterhaven with Sir Oakley, their new steeds cutting their travel time in half. Thorn transforms into a Charger horse, and Quinn hops on top of him to ride with the rest of the group. During their travels and in the middle of the night, they see from a distance Gardmore Abbey, and find dozens of campfires lit within and close to the Abbey’s walls. This sets the adventurer’s on edge, knowing they must return here at some point to clear the site of evil, yet there appears to be quite a bit of activity happening within the abbey’s walls.

Once the group arrives in Winterhaven, much to the excitement of the locals, they learn that the Orcish troubles the town is facing originates coincidentally from Gardmore Abbey. A band of Orcs seem to be harassing travelers on the King’s road.

The group advises Lord Padraig to send word back to Fallcrest that the situation may require more man-power after all, considering the number of campfires they saw on their way to Winterhaven. Lord Padraig also requested that they scout the Abbey to provide vital information, in case an attack is necessary or they must protect the town against a horde of Orcs. The adventurers decide that they will infiltrate the Abbey from the secret passage Sir Oakley knows of, and attempt to clear Gardmore Abbey of evil once and for all.

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Episode 15
Cross City Race (FINALLY?!)

The day before the race begins with the team squabbling over what to do with the treasure they have just ‘acquired’ from Grifnar. Carting it away in a hand wagon, they decide selling it through official channels may get them caught. Grok suggests fencing it, but then the group determines it might be more valuable to hold on to.

Discussions are had about the race. Who are the racers and what does the group know about them? Beltumal having kept logs and records of the Tip’s previous findings has many suggestions about where to probe. He recommends speaking to Aldanian who won the race previously. From him the group learns of his route through the Market Green as well as some information about the racer Dorian Light-Step.

The group hatches a plan to engage the racers, as well as the adventuring group ]], who won previous races and has returned to town. Bel and Thron both turn to Grok, and propose a plan to viciously outdrink the other racers in a Tavern the evening before the race, more specifically Tom Burgher, Two-Teeth and the halfling Gazunda. They then discuss potentially sabotaging the racers by luring them all to the same place before the race, in order to either poison or otherwise incapacitate them, or even ally with the various racers. Grok suggests putting some of the new equipment up for a prize in a drinking contest at a local tavern to draw competitors and spectators alike, although the group does not commit to promoting a pre-race party just yet. Beltumal also shares his interest in befriending Dorian Light-Step, as Bel believes both his background and fluency in Elven will liken them to one another. Ky is then also solicited by the group the work a feminine angle against Dorian, and an effort to lure him to a Tavern. Reluctantly she agrees, insulted by the role befalling her as the only female Tip member, and makes her anger known.

Bel and Ky both become interested in the possibility of sewer systems providing an advantage in the race, a point which goes relatively unnoticed by the rest of the Tip. Bel also suggests other potential strategies to find advantages in the race, such as the falls and the stables.

Grok and Daemon, being most familiar with the workings of a large city, set out to investigate. Grok investigates any pre-race celebrations taking place that evening as well as the location of the most popular taverns in Fallcrest, while Daemon sets out to determine the location of the other adventuring group. Paul, seemingly uninterested in the nefarious schemes of the Tip, takes to praying in a shrine for most of the day, for the success of the Tip as well as for the sanctity of their souls. Thorn goes hunting in the woods at the base of Moonstone Keep, seeking alchemical products which could be used as poison or narcotics in order to sabotage other racers. Ky, Bel and Quinn stand vigil with the Tip’s questionable payload.

Grok returns with information that both Two Teeth and Gazunda will be celebrated by patrons at the Lucky Gnome Taphouse by the docks. He learns the location of all three Taverns, and finds out that one of the Taverns is not hosting any pre-race festivities and may serve as an opportunity for the Tip’s own party.

Daemon, having located the other adventuring group Tam’s Talons, immediately interrupts their festivities in the Tavern with furious prodding. The adventuring group isn’t moved by his forceful interrogation, nor his foreboding visage, and he exits the Tavern in a manical rage.

Thorn has located some mushrooms while in “woof” form, however is not able to discern their properties. He decides, as any sensible k-9 would, to ingest a mushroom, thus learning its properties. Knowledge of its properties explode out of both ends of Thorn, and in a painful, sulking pile, he drags himself to the temple where Paul is praying, frightening and confusing onlookers. Paul spends his afternoon tending to Thorn, holding his ears back, as appropriate.

Quinn, Bel and Ky are met by Grok and a muttering Daemon. Learning of Daemon’s attempt to question Tam’s Talons, Quinn ventures off with Daemon to attempt a “good cop” routine with the adventuring party, taking the hand wagon with them. Ky and (moreso) Beltumal, being interested in Dorian Light-Step, solicit Grok to track him down. Information on Dorian’s whereabouts are scarce, but Grok is able to pinpoint two possible locations, which are later confirmed by other inquiries.

Quinn takes a much more diplomatic approach with the adventuring group, attempting to discern their true intentions in town as well as why they have not signed up for the race this year, while Daemon peers into the Tavern through a window, relentless in his maddened gaze. Learning that Quinn is associated with the Tiefling from earlier, the adventuring group is both amused and understanding. It is the female wizard that speaks up, seemingly much more relaxed than her image would indicate. She informs Quinn that it is truely not the race that has the group’s interest, and that if he is interested in a small piece of the action, to speak to Sir Oakley about some tasks. He also learns that they have lost interest in the prize for the race, as the jobs granted by the Lord Warden are much more tedious than an adventuring group of their stature would tolerate. Finally, Quinn offers magical weaponry from the Tip’s recent venture in exchange for any help the adventuring group might provide the Tip during the race. Seemingly both tired of the solicitation as well as understanding of the Tip’s predicament, the adventuring group shares with Quinn that the route they took in previous years was through the Tombwood in front of Moonstone keep, which leads to an old set of tombs that connect into to the castle. They also inform Quinn that the forest must be cleared prior to entering, as the monsters lurking inside are dangerous and threaten success in the race, but to do so takes weeks. Again Quinn solicits them for aid in clearing out the forest over night, but the price proves to be too high. Quinn thanks the group, and cannot shake the feeling that this group is slightly more awesome than the Tip.

Meanwhile, Grok, Ky and Bel have made their way to the first, then second location indicated by Grok’s research. The second location happens to be a shop of unconventional and rare goods, All That Glitters. Grok waits out front with Bel, while Ky ventures in. She feins interest in the lavishly displayed and unrecognizable wares. The shopkeep is a woman, and wears nothing but tight black leathers and a bleak expression. Ky prods around the store, hoping to alert the shopkeep. She is successful as the shopkeep’s nerves about the strange customer bring her to within a whisper of Ky’s pointy ears. She introduces herself as Catseye and Ky proceeds to inquire about the goods, to be met only with reservations and objections from the shopkeep, who is not convinced that Ky is of their regular clientele. Ky persists, stating that her boyfriend is interested in such rare and questionable antiquities, and inquires about a particular item, forged before ages containing the black essence of the void itself. Ky insists that it is not of her boyfriend’s taste, and promptly asks if there are any men in the store able to assist her with her inquiries. It is then that the shopkeep roars to the back of the store, beckoning to Dorian. A very well groomed assured figure emerges from the back, and Ky immediately beings to prod. It is all too soon that she determines that no woman will have success with Dorian, and it is then that Beltumal comes swiftly to her aide. Dorian is immediately impressed by the brooding and stoic dragonborn. Stuttering, Dorian inquires if it is Bel that is the boyfriend in question, to which he learns that Bel is strictly a friend, ejecting Ky from the conversation altogether. The Dragonborn and Elf exchange a volley of restrained advances, and Beltumal is able to get Dorian to discuss the race. Dorian indicates to Bel that he is racing merely to represent his people, an unappreciated minority in Fallcrest. The Elves in the city will be assisting him the race, causing disruptions and clearing paths. Bel suggests an alliance with Dorian, but it is settled only that he will not interfere with the Tip’s efforts, and that perhaps his Elven friends would be able to assist. After a longing stare shared between Beltumal and Dorian, Bel and Ky exit.

Beltumal, Ky, Grok, Quinn and Daemon are again united, this time by Thorn and Paul as well. Daemon is asked to investigate Tom Burgher the Bard, and sets out. Thorn relinquishes his “magic” mushrooms to Grok, as they discuss plans to disrupt the celebration at the Lucky Gnome Taphouse. Grok, knowing of the rift between The Porters and the River Rats from his past associations, suggests framing the Porters with theft, as the River Rats will be present at the Celebration in support of their Halfling runner, Gazunda. The group decides it would be too tedious to infiltrate the River Rats, and that the best course of action would be to simply disable the two runners with the poisonous mushrooms. Grok then makes his way to Lucky Gnome Taphouse, agreeing to meet at the Tip’s party location later.

Daemon shadows Tom Burgher, and learns that he will be performing at the Nentir Inn, which is where the the Tip means to celebrate at that evening. The group then decides to head to the Inn and set up, forgetting entirely to promote the event at all, with little hope that any of the racers would partake in any case.

Grok enters the Lucky Gnome, and takes his seat at the bar. He is neither conspicuous or otherwise, attempting to blend in and make merry with the tavern patrons. He surveys the room in attempt to detect anyone who may be conducting their own investigations, but other than the usual riff raff, and a very large Orc (from Tam’s Talons, although Grok does not know this) he appears to be in the clear. With the appropriate fanfare, he approaches each racer with a drink, wishing them luck and talks trash about the coming race. He also approaches the giant half Orc with a drink, inquiring about his presence. After several hours of drinking, and waiting for the room to reach a comfortable level of merrymaking, Grok surveys the drink supply, and notices that the Porters are drinking a private reserve that is not being shared with the rest of the patrons. He then alters his plan, to target srictly the Porters, in an attempt to frame the River Rats and disrupt everyone in the Tavern. He begins his scheme by exiting the Tavern auspiciously, and carefully making his way around back to where the private reserve is being held. He attempts to sneak in through the door, but having given sway to the powers of the Tavern’s strongest Ales, comes crashing through the door, directly in front of the barkeep. Startled, the halfling barkeep interrogates Grok immediately, to which Grok replies drunkenly that he was simply seeking a drink, and handing the barkeep 3 gold coins demands a tankard of the Porters’ reserve, indicating his feelings of exclusion from such a finely crafted brew. The Barkeep is sympathetic to Grok, having his own personal misgivings about the Porters and the way that they treat him. Grok rises to the opportunity to sway the barkeep into participating in his plan, and pulling out an additional 2 gold coins, he puffs his chest, reaches for his blade and snarls at the halfling, pressing him further about his problem with the Porters. The halfling is unconvinced, with a patronizing expression, and Grok quickly feints as to appear drunk beyond rational thought, falling to the floor in an embarassing mess. The Tavern goes quiet for a brief moment, and then erupts into laughter. The Barkeep is finally satisfied that Grok is simply well beyond his means of tolerance, and watches as Grok crawls from behind the bar back into the tavern. The large half orc sitting by the door moves to Grok’s aid, pulling him to his feet, and walking him out of the Tavern. The Giant Orc confides in Grok that he was simply looking for a quiet place to relax, but that the bar has become anything but that, letting out a sigh. Grok inquires what business one of his people has with “peace and quiet”, to be met with a swift and solomn answer from the experienced adventurer. Sulking Grok paces to the other Tavern to meet the rest of the Tip.

Grok arrives, and Quinn and Daemon are exchanging volleys with Tom Burgher. Daemon, now interrogating Tom, has terrified him into submitting information about the group that Tom is racing for, apparently a group of Tieflings called the Fell Court, who are operating behind the scenes in the city, trying to consolidate power. Tom isn’t able to share much more than this, and the route that he plans to take. He indicates that this shadow group will be assisting him in the race somehow. Grok, brooding over his lack of success, buys Tom Burgher a drink and exists the Tavern, this time lagitimately drunk. The interrogation persists with Tom Burgher, but all information has been sapped from the timid bard. Grok is unsuccessful in any attempt to locate good belongings to either the River Rats or the Porters at the Quays, forgetting entirely the unlikeliness of any such cargo.

The Group then submits to resting in the Tavern. Paul tends to Daemon that evening, insuring that Daemon will neither rest, nor become infected with the lycanthropy he has contracted. Grok recovers naturally from his moon frenzy, and from the abundance of alchohol he has consumed.

Race Day:

The group wakes up before the crack of dawn and makes their way to the King’s Gate for the beginning of the race. It has been decided that Paul, Quinn, and Daemon will not race, instead positioning themselves around the city to help those racing in any way they can. A large crowd has gathered at the gate and Fallcrest Guard Captain Nathan Faringray is on had to start the race. With a shuddering crash, the gate drops and the race is off!

Grok and Beltumal decide to follow Gareth Cooper, who makes a run for the base of Septarch’s Tower. Quinn has positioned himself at the top of the cliff face ready to throw down a rope to them and help haul them up. Grok scrambles up the first 40ft of the cliff without issues, only to get a wave of nausea from his night of drinking. With his head spinning, Grok loses his handholds and falls. Seeing Grok fall past him, Beltumal attempts to switch from the rockface to the rope lowered by Quinn, but he too loses his grip and plummets to the ground. Both Grok and Beltumal are battered and bruised, but they both return to their climb.

Meanwhile, Ky and Thorn follow the pack of racers who chose the main road through town. The group hits an obstacle when they come across a cart stuck on the narrow bridge crossing Moonwash Stream. Ky acrobatically jumps up on the thin bridge railing and uses her balance to get around the cart, while Thorn attempts to scramble up over the boxes in the back of the cart, only to find them give way beneath his feet, and he comes tumbling to the ground. The racer Gazunda attempts to follow Ky’s lead and walk the rail, but he loses his footing and plunges into the stream below.

Ky is neck and neck with Tom Burgher and Dorian Light-Step, and all three attempt to cut through The Market Green. As they pass an Alchemist’s shop, there’s an explosion and billowing purple smoke covers the area. Each racer is hurt from breathing in the smoke, and scramble up onto tents or shacks to avoid the hazard. Ky finds herself ontop of a tent that collapses, but is able to navigate the smoke and get through it. Thorn, arriving a few seconds later decides to hold his breath and attempt to run through the smoke, only to be come disoriented. He, along with Tom Burgher and Dorian Lightstep, eventually make it to the other side, but Ky has gained a little time on all of them.

Back at the cliff, Gareth Cooper has reached the top and Quinn attempts to impede his progress, but as Gareth gets away he drops a bag full of marbles across the narrow bridge leading to Septarch’s Tower, and Quinn thinks better of pursuing him. Instead he turns his attention to Grok and Beltumal who are still climbing up the cliff. Grok is soon pulled to the top, but Beltumal is unable to hang on and again falls a considerable distance to the ground below. Bloodied and somewhat dazed, Beltumal decides that his best bet is to just take a leisurely walk to recover from the fall. Quinn and Grok leave their comrade to it and rush off in pursuit of Gareth Cooper.

Back with the other racers, Ky makes it to the Winch-Lift and attempts to talk the operator into leaving before the other racers arrive. Whatever she says works and the lift begins its ascent to the top of the cliff. Dorian Light-Step is able to catch up and with a flying leap grab on and pull himself into the moving lift. The rest of the racers are too late and attempt the Long Stairs, which are packed with onlookers. Thorn, Gazunda, and Tom Burgher find the steps unforgiving, with the constant jostling of the crowd often knocking them off their feet or slowing them down. Two-Teeth is being hauled up the wall by a group of Porters with a rope and he arrives at the top just before Ky in the Winch-Lift. He takes a route through the Upper Quays, and Paul attempts to slow him by throwing a back of coins into the crowd. This does hamper Two-Teeth, and coincidentally a safe being moved by crane into House Azaer comes crashing down when rope breaks, scattering even more gold. Two-Teeth, seeing the striken Amara Azaer comes to her aid and scares away the crowd snatching up the gold. Amara tells Two-Teeth to return after the race, as she will reward him for his help.

Grok arrives at another bridge crossing Moonwash Stream, this one crowded with halfling children fishing. Grok charges at the group, jumps into the air and starts running along the heads and shoulders of the startled children. Just when he thinks he’s across, Grok loses his footing and plunges down amongst the now furious children. Using their fishing poles as clubs, the halflings beat on Grok, while Halfling parents come running from nearby houses. Grok is able to get to his feet and flee, but the halflings are hot on his heels.

Meanwhile, Ky has arrived at the top of the cliff and both she and Dorian Lightstep set out through the Religious district. Ky finds the district mostly deserted, making for quick going, until she turns a corner and runs right into Dirina Mornbrow, who is trying to wrangle up patrons for the Temple of Erathis. Ky, a devout follower of Sehanine attempts to excuse herself politely, but is forced to push past the Priestess when she continues her sermonizing. As Ky rushes to catch up to Two-Teeth, she hears Dirina muttering a “prayer” to Erathis under her breath.

Daemon, who has made an attempt to clear the Tombwood, only to be attacked by Bloodweb spiders, instead begins looking for firewood he can use to block Gareth Cooper‘s path along the City Wall. His attempts are initially fruitless, but as Gareth comes into view along the wall, Daemon throws a last load of twigs and brush onto the pile and lights it with is Flame Wand. The fire isn’t huge, but is deters Gareth, you seeing Daemon for the first time, lets out a bellow and looks ready to attack. Yet flames and smoke have alerted the barracks, and out storms Sergeant Murgeddin, who takes one look at the situation, and immediately blames Gareth for starting the fire. He yells at the guardsman to go get water and extinguish the fire, delaying him from the race. As Daemon scurries off into the bushes, he’s pretty sure he sees Sergeant Murgeddin smiling.

Grok, having out run the halflings, comes upong Fallcrest Stables to find Lannar Thistleton struggling with a black garbed man attempting to mount a grey war horse. The man in black punches Lannar, knocking him to the ground, and then draws a long knife. Grok, sure that the man is a thief, throws a dagger of his own at the man, surprising him and turning his focus away from Lannar. Yet Grok ignores the man, runs and jumps onto the back of the horse and rides off towards Moonstone Keep. Quinn arrives only a moment later, sees Grok riding off, the man in black bleeding from a knife wound, and Lannar on the ground. Quickly deducing the situation, Quinn hollers at the thief to drop his knife, only to have the man advance towards him. Quinn, already frustrated by Grok’s decision to take the horse (and thus be disqualified from the race) rather than help Lannar, takes out all his anger on the thief, beating him senseless before tying him up and telling Lannar that he will return with the man’s horse.

Thorn, along with Tom Burgher, finally make it to the top of the Long Stair, feeling very much out of the race, regardless, they continue on. Beltumal, having just reached the Long Stairs base, finds that most of the crowd is moving on with the other racers, and the climb itself is much easier.

Ky, just behind Two-Teeth, makes it to the Warden’s Step, the final leg of the race before Moonstone Keep and the finish line. Yet despite a prayer from Paul to help her in the coming challenge, she feels drained and almost divinely burdened. She can hardly make it through the crowd lining the steps, feeling like every movement she makes is weighted by hundreds of pounds. She falls multiple times, and Two-Teeth’s lead lengthens. Dorian Light-Step catches up and passes Ky, as does Thorn, and then Grok.

Two-Teeth is first into the Great Hall which leads to where Faren Markelhay is waiting to receive the winner, yet as he rushes forwards, Gareth Cooper appears and throws another bag of marbles across the floor. Two-Teeth slips and falls, and it looks like Gareth will win. But from the stairs emerge Thorn and Grok, and knowing he is already disqualified, Grok decides to throw a dagger to trip up Gareth. His plan works, and Thorn surges into the lead. Yet a foot race to the finish between Thorn and Two-Teeth ensues, and it is only by the narrowest of margins that Thorn is able to handover his letter first. The crowd out side cheers as he is led outside by Lord Markelhay, and the new courier for Fallcrest is named!

(This is by no means a complete account of what happened, if you notice something I screwed up or something that I forgot to add, throw a mention in the comments, or write to me and I’ll fix it)

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Episode 14
Not so Happy Endings

Having found two werewolves hiding among the rescued prisoners, Just The Tip is forced to dispatch these foes before Ulmar and his pack return from hunting. While not a difficult fight, this unexpected attack leaves the group lower on resources than they would like, and after defeating the werewolves, they set about preparing for Ulmar.

Howls alert the group to his return, and an imitation howl by Thorn convinces the pack that all is well in the house. As they advance, Ky’Vruck looses an arrow to trigger the ambush, and despite a miss, her seeker skills allow the arrow to find a foe, surprising the werewolves. The group takes advantage of this and pours on the damage, but as the wolves recover, they see Ulmar make a dash for the cellar below the house and are unable to stop him before he disappears into the dark. Quinn Quernes, Thorn, Paul of Quar and Daemon Kaaw head downstairs to meet him, only to have the other werewolf come crashing in through a window to face them. From below Ulmar smashes the floor, sending Daemon falling into the cellar. As the battle rages, Ky and [{Zelgar]] fire at a worg carrying moon crazed peasants. Depositing the peasants on the second floor, the word then smashes through the ground floor wall to join the werewolf in its attacks. Daemon finds himself isolated from the group and Ulmar bloodies him, as well as tainting him with his werewolf frenzy. The group attempts to rescue Daemon, pouring down attacks on the werewolf, but not before Daemon falls unconscious. Zelgar rushes below to assist, but the arrival of his brother sends Ulmar into a frenzy. Despite an arrow from Ky that forces Ulmar into his human form, he is able to grab Zelgar and attempt to drag him to the exit. Quick work by the group frees Zelgar, and Ulmar is eventually knocked unconscious. Unfortunately, during the fight Zelgar was bit by Ulmar and has now also contracted the lycanthropy.

Zelgar only has the components needed to conduct one Remove Affliction ritual, and the group agrees that it should do as he wishes and attempt to cure Ulmar. Unfortunately the ritual itself does not go as all had hoped and removing the curse also kills Ulmar. Beset with grief, Zelgar feels that the gods had determined his brother was past redemption, and he himself will now be judged. Unwilling to let Zelgar fall victim to the curse that afflicted his brother, the group sends Ky’Vruck out to forage, hoping to find the components needed to perform one more ritual. She returns with just enough to complete the ritual, which led by Paul of Quar, is successful. The group rest at the farm house, where Quinn Quernes’ Moon Frenzy is also cured, though Daemon is still suffering from the curse given to him by Ulmar. The group is anxious to return to Fallcrest, but before they leave they are given an old gold coin from the boy they rescued at the farm house, as well as a set of 10 Swift Sure arrows. Zelgar allows the group to have Ulmar’s armour, which is a set of Enduring Beast Hide Armor, which goes to Thorn.

The group returns to Silvergrail with Zelgar, who goes straight to the temple to meditate and pray. Sheriff Havenstone]] thanks the heroes for their help, and while saddened by Zelgar’s loss, she is happy that Ulmar has been punished for those he has hurt and killed. She pays the group their 1000 gold piece reward and welcomes them back to Silvergrail anytime they are passing through.

Arriving back in Fallcrest the next day, they find the city in full-scale preparation for the Cross City Race. Going straight to Grifnar’s Fine Weapons, they find that Grifnar is less than thrilled to see them returned. After much coaxing, the group eventually gets him to take them below to his showroom so they might pick out their reward. Yet when they enter the room, most of the display cases are bare, especially those that held the items they desired. Grifnar says that the Cross City Race has brought many people to Fallcrest and they increased clientele has cleaned him out, but the adventurers are welcome to pick from the stock he has left. Outraged, the group begins to argue with the shopkeeper about his breaking the terms of their deal. Outside, where Ky’Vruck has been waiting, several of Grifnar’s nephews are found loading a wagon with boxes. Ky stops their progress with a well placed arrow, and the nephews scurry back to their uncle. In the wagon, Ky finds all they items the group had been eyeing, as well as some others that Grifnar was hoping to hid from them. The rest of the group accompanies Grifnar as he follows his nephew back to the wagon, and quickly learn of the deception. They attempt to negotiate a fair deal with the shopkeeper, but while they are distracted he locks himself inside his shop and sends his nephews to find they Fallcrest Guard. They group decides that if the only way they’re going to get paid is through theft, they’ll deal with the consequences later, and have gold and weapons in their pocket now. They take the cart, and split the spoils between the group, which includes an Anointed Mace for Daemon, a Shielding Blade for Quinn, and an Alfsair Spear for Thorn.

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Episode 13
A Nentirian Werewolf in Silvergrail

Having learned from the dead werewolf that Ulmar is using a farmhouse outside of town as his base, Just The Tip decides to leave immediately to arrive before dawn, when Ulmar usually returns with the pack from hunting.

At a crossroads on their way to the farmhouse, Ky’Vruck finds a family hiding from the werewolf pack. They were chased from their home and have been running all night, with the werewolves close on their heels. Howls ring from the woods nearby and soon enough three dire wolves arrive at the crossroads. Riding the dire wolves are a werewolf and two hyena headed creatures, that turn out to be Gnolls. As soon as the werewolf spies Zelgar, they forget about their quarry and charge at the priest of Pelor, intent on capturing him for their master, Ulmar. As the group attempts to avoid the lethal attacks of the dire wolves, both Daemon and Grok are bitten by the werewolf, but luckily do not contract Moon Frenzy. The battle is close, but the adventurer’s eventually prevail, killing the werewolf and his minions. The family feels safe enough now to make the short journey to Silvergrail and to thank their saviours, the father removes a family heirloom from a sack he’s carrying. It turns out to be a heavily used Armor of Dark Majesty, which Daemon quickly accepts.

Approaching the farmhouse, the group hears the screams of a child coming from the second floor. Feeling that there is little time to waste, the group surges forward. Thorn decides to head straight for the screams, bounding out of wolf form to jump and climb up the outside of the house to the second floor. While the rest of the group heads for the main floor, Quinn Quernes also climbs to the second floor, and then using his massive strength (as well as his Safewing Amulet), smashes through the ceiling to land amid several very startled Gnolls. It seems the Gnolls have been left by Ulmar to guard several human prisoners, a family as well as an older and a younger man that look to be separate from the family unit. Quinn, along with Grok, Daemon and Ky, engage the Gnolls (Ky jumping through a window and loosing arrows, while Daemon and Grok use hit and run tactics from the other doorway), while upstairs Thorn finds himself facing two large Gnolls of his own. In the ensuing battle, things go fairly well for the group downstairs, they are able to hold their own against the enemy, even dealing with the Death-Pledged Gnolls who won’t seem to stay dead. Thorn on the other hand is knocked unconscious and very close to death, stranded alone on the second floor. The Gnoll Gorgers who were upstairs decide they liked Quinn’s tactic and also smash through the floor to land amongst the combatants. With Thorn holding on by the slimmest of threads, and Paul of Quar otherwise engaged, Zelgar rushes to the second floor to heal Thorn, arriving just in time. With Thorn back in the fight, the battles tide seems to turn and the gnolls are finally dispatched.

Having already faced several werewolves posing in human form, the group is wary of these prisoners. Before releasing them, they decide to test them all to make sure they truly are human. The family all agree to touch a silver arrowhead, but the two other prisoners are wary of the group and refuse. Thorn steps forward and presses the arrowhead to the older of the two, and as he does the man morphs from his human shape into that of a wolf and attacks!

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Episode 12
Necromancers and Werewolves

Having found the secret door, Daemon Kaaw stepped forward and attempted to break the magical wards that kept it locked. He was able to break through several wards before he misspoke an incantation and the doors wards struck out at him with necrotic energy. Again he tried and again he felt the energy drink away some of his life force. Finally, on his third attempt, Daemon was able to open the doors and reveal the hidden crypt. Visible in the gloom was a large stone sarcophagus, possibly belonging to a long dead noble. Smaller coffins were located in niches along the walls, likely lesser family members of the noble. The crypt was illuminated by two torches of eerie blue flame. In the flickering light the group can just make out a hunched figure working at an altar covered in bones, bits of flesh, and unidentifiable filth. The figure wears a gore-spattered robe, his long beard is matted with blood, and he appears to be a Tiefling from his long curled horns.

The group debates in whispers how to proceed, indicating that the Tiefling does not look like someone to start a conversation with. Ky’Vruck steps forward and looses a magic arrow, only to have it miss and the figure turns towards the group. “Who…who dares disturb Melech…Melech Darksoul? Are you from the Fell Court? I’ve told you before, I have no interest in Devils, my work is Death…Death and re-animation! I shall kill you and send you back to your masters as corpses…Corpses a-risen!” With that he unleashes a chilling blast of necrotic energy, hitting the most of the group, many who have rushed forward to attack. The entire time he is muttering incantations under his breath, and it is Quinn Quernes who first feels as if someone has taken over his body and forced him to retreat away from the necromancer. As Paul of Quar finally gets close to the Tiefling, two charnel zombies burst from the coffins beside him, keeping him from getting any closer. From the altar that the necromancer was working at rises a corruption corpse, recently reanimated by the Melech Darksoul, which beings to throw its filth at the adventurers. While Thorn attempts to help Paul of Quar, Quinn Quernes again charges towards the necromancer, only to feel the strings of an infernal puppet master pull him away. Beltumal Silverclaw and Ky’Vruck are able to stay out of the range of Melech’s attacks, picking off the corruption corpse and keeping Melech somewhat at bay. Quinn is eventually able to get in close, while Thorn is able to rescue an unconscious Paul of Quar from the charnel zombies, pushing them away so that their dying grasps don’t hurt the already shaken cleric.

As his allies fall and he is surrounded by the adventurers, Melech Darksoul pleads for his life, saying he will show the group a hidden treasure if they spare him. There is a quick debate, but nothing unifies Just The Tip like the talk of treasure, and it is soon agreed to spare the necromancer. Melech removes a pair of fire-gauntlets and hands them to Daemon Kaaw, then move to where the treasure is hidden. Beneath the large stone sarcophagi, Melech unveils a significant treasure, including a casque-of-tactics, which is eagerly claimed by Grok Thornsteed. While the group is distracted by their haul, Melech Darksoul slips away, it is unclear whether this will come back to haunt Just The Tip.

A thorough search of the crypt also unveils a coffin belonging to a Paladin of Pelor, who wears a symbol-of-the-sun. Paul of Quar, already feeling somewhat tainted from taking a shield from the dead earlier, figures it can’t be any worse to take the holy symbol as well.

With their new found loot, the adventurer’s return and inform the Lord Warden they have completed the task of cleaning out the Tombwood, though they figure mentioning they let Melech go is probably not a good idea.

They proceed to do some resupplying, and after Thorn buys some claw-gloves, they proceed to Grifnar’s Arms. Hoping to negotiate a good price on equipment, they ask if he has anything he needs doing in trade for goods. Grifnar, usually a fairly tight-fisted businessman, actually jumps at the chance to give the group a quest worth 5000g. All they need to do is escort his nephew along the Trade Road as far as Silvergrail. Realizing this offer sounds too good to be true, the group pushes for more information, and eventually learns that the stretch of road between Fallcrest and Silvergrail has been severely troubled by werewolves of late, so much so that Grifnar has had to put of his regular trade runs to Hammerfast. He is running low on goods because he doesn’t have the necessary raw materials that he gets from his cousins in the Dawnforge Mountains. The group feels that the benefits of a large credit with Grifnar make the danger of the trip acceptable and agree to leave with the caravan the next morning. Paul of Quar buys a raiders-crossbow as well as silver tipped bolts in preparation for any lychanthropy they might encounter.

The journey to Silvergrail is actually surprisingly quiet, it is only once they arrive that they learn from town sheriff Zirka Havenstone of the problems besetting the town. The brother of the town’s priest has returned as a werewolf, and he has been terrorizing the countryside and killing townsfolk in an effort to force his brother to willingly join him and become a werewolf. Zelgar Lightborn is a Cleric of Pelor and Erathis who is well liked by the townspeople of Silvergrail, they have been doing what they can to assist him against his brother Ulmar Lightborn. Yet people continue to go missing and it seems that Ulmar has spies in town, making it difficult for anyone to deal with the problem. Zirka would like to put Ulmar down for good, but Zelgar has convinced her to let him try and do a Remove Affliction ritual on his brother, but to do this he will need help. Just The Tip is recruited to corner and subdue Ulmar, but first they will have to get through the night.

Deputized into the Silvergrail Guard, the group patrol the city streets to make sure none of Ulmar’s spies are at work, or worse, Ulmar himself is in the town. Yet before they can find anything Zelgar comes running with two guardsmen, he’s had a strikingly real dream of Ulmar eviscerating the adventurers and he had to make sure it wasn’t actually happening. As the group tries to convince Zelgar to return to the safety of his room, Ky’Vruck hears something moving on the rooftops and then a woman bursts from a nearby alley, claiming to have been attacked. Zelgar recognizes the woman as Clarissa Myles, whose house is nearby, Paul of Quar moves forward to investigate. As he presses a crossbow bolt head against her flesh, she writhes in pain and strikes out at him with a clawed hand. Paul of Quar is knocked back, and from several directions appear a mix of werewolves, dire wolves, and moon crazed townsfolk. A pitched battle ensues, with Paul of Quar stuck in the middle and the other members of the group trying to save him. The fight rages, but Just The Tip is eventually triumphant, thanks in a large part to Zelgar’s surprisingly good combat skills.

While the group is able to take one of the moon crazed townsfolk prisoner, they kill both the werewolves. Discussing their next move after the battle, Zirka arrives and suggests that maybe they should question the prisoner, and Zelgar says that he has a Speak with the Dead ritual that may allow them to question one of the werewolves.

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Episode 11
Mooncliff Tombs

Having bested the Flameskull and his minions at the tomb entrance, the group plunges into the darkness in search of adventure and treasure. They find themselves in a very old crypt that winds down into the cliffside. From the sarcophagi they can see, it appears to be a burial place for an order of Knights and Clerics of Pelor. Out of the gloom several hovering balls of dust approach, these tomb motes attack with razor sharp teeth, but are quickly cut down by the group. As the sarcophagi are opened, more of these tomb motes attack, but are dispatched with ease. Inside one sarcophagi, the only one which has a body inside, the adventurers find a Healer’s Shield which is given to Paul of Quar.

Down the stairs the group sees flickering torchlight which they follow, finding themselves in a larger crypt. From down one long corridor, two skeletal archers burst from coffins, raining arrows down on the group. Pushing forward, Thorn and Quinn Quernes are ambushed by two grave hunger zombies that have lain in wait. While fighting the grabs that they find themselves in, the rest of the group moves forward to assist them. From up another staircase, two dread zombies emerge with a boneshard skeleton. The battle rages, but the heroes are able to prevail. Again the coffins in this area all seem to be mysteriously empty, but they do find a Lunia’s Bracelet which is given to Ky’Vruck.

As the group descends down the staircase the undead appeared from, they see flickering green flame in the darkened room, as they approach they realize that its two flameskulls waiting for them. The skulls attack, hitting the majority of the group hard, and then zombies emerge from the gloom. The group presses forward, eager to close on the flameskulls and avoid their burst attacks. The group quickly cuts down the zombies, but are surprised by chillborn zombies that spring from nearby coffins. The chillborns’ aura of cold makes bypassing them difficult. The group takes significant damage but is able to get to the flameskulls in the end and defeat them. Searching the empty coffins reveals a pair of Bracers of Escape, which are claimed by Thorn. A thorough search of the room by Ky turns up a secret door, which has what appear to be magical runes etched into its frame.

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Episode 10
Winterhaven Round-Up, Back to Fallcrest

The adventurers return to Winterhaven, where the villagers are overjoyed to hear the threat of the death cultists has been overcome. Lord Padraig thanks the group, informing him that he will contact the southern cities about bringing a garrison north to rebuild the Shadowfell Keep, to make sure this never happens again. Lord Padraig also informs the group that a Paladin of Bahamut recently passed through town looking for a group of adventurers to accompany him to Gardmore Abbey. While he didn’t have anyone to recommend at the time, Lord Padraig will try and contact the paladin and refer them to Just the Tip. The paladin continued on to Fallcrest and might be tracked down there.

After selling off their excess gear, the group is feted by the townsfolk before being set on their way to Fallcrest. Their journey is uneventful, and upon arriving in Fallcrest, they learn that the Cross City Race will be taking place in 7 days. The group eagerly begins to gather information about the race, learning from various sources the other racers who will be competing. Currently registered are: Dorian Light-Step, Gareth Cooper, Two-Teeth, Gazunda, and Tom Burgher. Another group of racers, the adventuring group Tam’s Talons has won the previous two years, but as of yet has not arrived in town.

The group attempts to get information on the route, and learns from Barstromun Strongbeard that Two-Teeth will be taking the Quay-side route, and a group of porters will have a rope down the cliff face that they will use to haul him up. They also learn that Gareth Cooper is a city guardsman, and will be trying to take the City Wall route. They also contacted Melech Ambrose who is taking bets on the race, they learned little from him other than the odds on the racers (though Paul of Quar did place a 4:1 bet on Gareth Cooper).

Feeling the need for action, the group decided to clear the Tombwood of undead, a task the Lord Warden and his Captain of the Guard were very happy they accepted. Upon entering the wood, they found the cliff side caves were guarded by skeletons, who were easily taken care of, but it brought the attention of a Flameskull and more skeletons. After a much more difficult battle, the group was able to defeat the Flameskull and explore the tomb it appeared from.

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Episode 9
The Cult of Orcus, and Daemon's Terrible Odyssey

As a group, it was decided that they should try to extinguish the evil residing in this dungeon while they were well rested and prepared.

Sneaking forward to enter a hallway which branches into 3 different doorways, the group attempted to learn as much about their enemy as possible. They explore the right wing first, discovering a room in disrepair, with broken walls which reveal the main chamber that the central doors would lead into. They find priests changing, and what looks like streams of blood flowing on the floor.

They decide to explore the other wing, to gain more knowledge of the surrounding area to better prepare themselves for the coming battle. As they stealthily move down the hall, they spy 2 vampires in what appears to be the main corridor to the chamber. Deciding its best to start off their attack while they have the element of surprise, the group charges forward.

They quickly dispatch the 2 vampires, but the rest of the enemies in the chamber, including the cultists, move toward them. Entering the larger chamber, they see a large mosaic of the evil Demon-Prince Orcus on the ground, his mouth a gaping hole where streams of blood poor to the floor below. Through prolonged battle, and multiple attempted ambushes, the group prevails and finds themselves in the middle of the chamber amongst their enemies’ corpses.

They decide to rest and search the bodies. However, before they can even begin this, Thorn kicks a dead foe down the hole, perhaps out of boredom, and flies down after it. Ky screams for Thorn to stop, but as he reaches the floor below, an echo of chanting suddenly halts, and he is left blinded in the dark, since he was not fully healed from the previous encounter, and his eye-sight was affected from an enemy’s attack. The group cannot see anything below, but whoever is down there has become clearly aware of their presence.

The rest of the group quickly moves to follow, Paul, Grok, and Beltumal are the first to reach below. Paul and Beltumal feel their holy items warmly glow once they reach the ground, and feel a sense of protection surrounding them. Once Beltumal is aware of this, he yells up to the rest of the group to each grab a platinum silver dragon statue they found earlier from the temple, as they should offer some protection against these forces.

As the rest of the group lowers themselves to the ground, they see that a ritual was underway, and a huge portal on the East side of the chamber was emitting a dark, sinister energy, a portal in which something huge was attempting to escape.

Skeletons were advancing on the group, and despite destroying many upon first contact, they seem to rise up completely intact. A reaper is the culprit for raising the skeletons, and a huge skeleton champion is intent on flattening the party. Grok has been pulled towards the portal several times during the encounter, a giant shadow claw grasping out to try and pull him within the portal.

The chief Orcus cultist reveals himself as Kalarel, and enters the fray to dispose of the party. Daemon attempts a bold move to try and dispose of Kalarel as quickly as possible, but inadvertently draws the attention of whatever creature resides behind the portal. Without warning, Daemon is pulled right into the portal and disappears. Kalarel laughs with delight and continues to fight.

Daemon’s companions are shocked, and fight with renewed fervor to destroy the enemies and discover a way to save their comrade. When they finally come to the point of dealing a killing blow to Kalarel, he beckons the power of Orcus to save him. A shadow hand stretches out from the portal, grabs Kalarel, and pulls him into the shadow realm, his laugh echoing around the chamber as he leaves.

The group rests for a moment, discussing their options, and what might be done to rescue Daemon. They search the room, looking for anything that might help them bring Daemon back, and close the gate. They discover the book Kalarel was reading from to summon Orcus, but it does not state how to close the portal, or how to bring someone who went through it, back into their world.

Beltumal wonders if the platinum dragon idols they hold might serve as a link between them and Daemon, since he has the sixth idol on his person. They attempt praying to Bahamut, but with no answer, and Thorn’s inquiry about the temple to Bahamut from earlier, Beltumal suggests they travel to the temple to seek aid, perhaps even to ask Sir Keegan what might be done.

Once in the temple, the group beckons that Sir Keegan help them retrieve their friend. Sir Keegan, seeing their need for his help, agrees, as anyone who travels into that realm will surely die. He bravely goes through to rescue their friend, taking back the sword Aecris; (currently missing) to do battle, and instructs the group to guard the gate from anything that attempts to pass through.

The group positions themselves around the portal, and engage with the massive demons which pass through, fighting to buy Sir Keegan the time he requires. They hear the sounds of battle on the other side of the portal, and after defeating all the demons, Sir Keegan throws Daemon through the portal, looking much older, worn, distressed, and with a glowing brand of Orcus on his chest. Sir Keegan thanks the group for this last chance at redemption, and then the group closes the gate.

Quinn, Ky, Beltumal, and Paul decide to explore the rest of the dungeon to insure no evil remains, while Thorn and Grok remain with Daemon. They destroy a few remaining zombies and a gelatinous cube before discovering the tomb of Sir Keegan’s children. They find a few useful magical items, but dare not take anything else, as they wish not to disturb the children’s resting place. Upon traveling back to their companions, they find a common room used by the guards, and take a package of Everlasting Provisions left on the table for their group.

‘Just the Tip’ travels back to Winterhaven, to rest, re-arm, and prepare for whatever comes next.

Notes: The group also found during this episode: Elven Cloak, Rhythm Blade Dagger +1, Sacrificial Dagger, Eagle Eye Goggles, Horned Helm, and a strange card depicting the Fates

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Episode 8
Sir Keegan and Beltumal

The group decides to finish exploring the first level of the Keep, following a hallway from the zombie room down into a room laid out as some form of crypt. Inside they find ten sarcophagi lining the walls and two alters in niches at the end of the room. Sensing a trap, the group proceeds cautiously, but the trap is triggered. The sarcophagi burst open and expel a legion of skeletons that attack the group. The battle rages, and the sarcophagi continue to create new skeletons to replace the ones that are being struck down by the adventurers. Seeing that the altars have a message inscribed on them, ‘The Platinum Dragon is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer. He is my stronghold, my refuge, and my armour against the foes of life – I need only kneel and offer him praise’, Daemon Kaaw rushes forward and decides to kneel before the altar and offer an insincere prayer. The skeletons stop attacking and return to their sarcophagi. The group searches the room, finding a small alcove behind one of the alters that holds six small dragon statures, made of platinum and silver. While Quinn Quernes prays to Bahamut, the rogue Grok attempts to remove some of the platinum from the other altar, only to be stopped and chastised by Ky.

Proceeding through the double doors of the crypt, the group finds itself in a tomb with a single coffin sitting on a raised dais. The coffin is carved from stone and featured the likeness of a human paladin lying with his sword across his chest. Thorn and Grok move forward to open the coffin, but as they touch it, the lid bursts open and a skeletal figure rises from within. Challenged by the figure to declare their intentions, the group is able to assure the spectre that they are here to help keep the rift with the Shadowfell closed. After answering his questions, the group learns that this is Sir Keegan, the final commander of the Keep, who had killed his family and much of the garrison, resulting in its fall. They learn that his madness came from the evil magic leaking from the Shadowfell, and that after he overcame the madness, he sealed himself in the crypt, where his mortal body died. His soul is now attached to this place, forever to make penance for the duty he failed to keep in life. Asked by Ky if there was a way to release him, Sir Keegan says that he is past redemption, but that Aecris; (currently missing), his sword, may be redeemed. He gives it to the group and advises them to seek Bahamut’s boon at the altars, as he may also grant them aid.

Daemon Kaaw again goes before the altar, this time speaking a sincere prayer to Bahamut, and before him a bright light manifests, and when it dims the group find before them a dragonborn with blue skin. He is confused to where he is, saying that he had previously been performing his morning prayers, when a voice spoke to him, saying his skills were needed, and would he serve Bahamut for the greater good? When he said yes, the dragonborn saw a bright light and found himself here. They learn that the dragonborn is a sorcerer by the name of Beltumal Silverclaw, and that he comes from the far south. As the group continues through the keep, they catch Beltumal up on what has happened so far, and the evil they are trying to stop.

As the adventurers descend to the lower level of the keep, they are challenged by a pair of hobgoblin guards, who yell out a phrase: “Shadow seeks shadow”. Thorn, remembering a message found on the slain ranger Ninaran, yells back the phrase “from the ground some magic was found”. Unfortunately for the group, this must have been placed in the letter as a trap, and the hobgoblins immediately know Ninaran has been killed and yell to warn Kalarel. Ky, seeing that the groups been discovered, runs forward and attempts to knock the guards into a pit they are standing beside. One falls in, while the other is able to catch onto the edge. From the side rooms more hobgoblins appear and the battle rages in the entrance way with each group struggling to gain the upper hand. At one point, Beltumal sees an opening to turn the tide, and blasts a group of hobgoblins clustered around Grok. Unfortunately, the hobgoblins are able to hide behind their shields, while Grok only has his leather armour, and takes significant damage. The hobgoblins attack the injured Grok, who loses consciousness, crumpling to the ground. Hard pressed by another wave of hobgoblins, as well as two death jump spiders released from their cage, the group fights for its life. Paul of Quar is able to free himself long enough from the battle to heal Grok, and his revival encourages the group, who are able to beat back their foes. One hobgoblin, seeing the battle is lost, runs from the room to warn his comrades.

The group proceeds carefully, knowing their enemies are aware of their approach. They can sense strong magic emanating from ahead and follow that path, which leads into a room with several statues; a huge warrior, two large dragons, and four small cherubs with vases above their head. As they move forward, the warrior statue groans as its internal mechanics engage, and it sweeps its longsword around the room. Daemon Kaaw dodges out of the way, and the rest of the group presses to the wall to avoid the strike. Ky attempts to get past the warrior, but it swings again and knocks her to the ground, at which point the doors behind the group bang open and a large hobgoblin emerges with several others. The chief laughs at the adventurers attempts to bypass the trap, and tell his minions to take them alive, as they can be sold as slaves to the Bloodreavers. From the entrance way the hobgoblins attack, avoiding the traps, and attempting to manoeuvre the group into harms way. Quinn is struck by the warrior statue when he is hit by a burst from the hobgoblin war caster, but is able to get back into the fight and block the hobgoblins advance. Paul of Quar, who has climbed up onto of the statue, slowly picks off hobgoblins with his crossbow. In the end, it is just the war chief left standing, and he charges the group, unwilling to give in to defeat.

The group now attempts to disable the traps around the room. Unable to get the access panel open on the soldier statue, Paul and Grok smash its mechanics, disabling its attack capabilities. The dragons are a magical trap, and despite their attempts, Beltumal and Daemon are unable to disarm them. The group moves forward and works on the cherubs, after an initial success on one of the statues, they are unable to dispel the magic of the other one they have access to. Paul moves forward to work on the other two cherubs, only to be cut off from the group by a magical wall that appears. The wall creates a chamber that starts to fill with water from the cherubs vases. The group frantically attempts to get rid of the wall, but are hampered when the dragon statues begin belching blasts of force energy at them. Paul meanwhile works on getting rid of the magic of the cherubs, but is battered against the walls of the chamber as the water turns into a whirlpool. While Beltumal and Daemon disable the wall; Ky, Quinn, Thorn, and Grok attack the dragon statues, destroy the one nearest to them. Inside the whirlpool, Paul is able to disable another of the cherubs, disrupting the magic that creates the wall. With the wall gone, Paul is carried by the surge of water back out into the room.

Through the door protected by the cherub trap, the group finds another room guarded by zombies. As they push forward, out of the darkness comes a ghoul, who is much faster than the zombies and attempts to immobilize isolated group members. Through good tactics and a little luck, the group is able to defeat the zombies, kill the ghoul and thwart a clay scout that has been sent to warm Kalarel of their advance. Behind a pile of bodies, Thorn finds small passage that his explores, finding the ghoul’s den. Inside he clears away bodies to uncover a leather bag, which turns out to be a Bag of Holding.

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Episode 7
Corpses and Insects

The group sets out from Winterhaven and soon arrives at the cemetery, though nothing seems to be out of order. Not believing that everything is as it seems, the group decide to enter the cemetery from three directions, thus hoping to prevent an ambush. Grok is able to sneak in through the crumbled back wall of a mausoleum, finding a gravehound waiting to attack those entering from the front of the graveyard. Grok attacks, and with the help of Quinn and Thorn, defeats the gravehound. Yet the attack alerts Ninaran, the elf ranger from Winterhaven, who bursts forth from a small crypt and speaks an incantation that reanimates the corpses of the cemetery. Finding herself surrounded by skeletons, Ky is isolated and forced to fight for her life, while the rest of the group fight their way through the undead to save her. As the battle begins to seem winnable, another wave of undead is called up from the ground by the undead enchanter Maw, who is working with Ninaran. Daemon, hoping to rush Ninaran and stop the evil magic that is animating the corpses, prepares a devastating spell only to be knocked to the ground by an opportunistic gravehound. Yet the battle is finally won, Ninaran falls to Thorn’s primal magic, and Grok chases down a fleeing Maw. On the body of Ninaren the group finds a message from Kalarel, with a password for the second sub-level, as well as her Thunderburst Longbow, which is claimed by Ky.

The group heads back to the Keep, yet upon descending the stairs to the first room, they hear voices, a group of hobgoblins on patrol have stumbled over the signs of battle from earlier and are now searching for the missing goblins. Rather than let them alert anyone else, the group attacks, fighting a back and forth battle, while attempting not to get pushed into the pit at the centre of the room. The hobgoblins are tougher than their smaller brethren, but they too fall, but not before a prolonged chase as several try and flee.

The group decides to check the final corridor on this floor to see where it leads, and again enter the caverns that proved so deadly before. As they move down the narrow corridor, Ky spots the signs of a Kruthik infestation. These burrowing insect-like reptiles feed like locusts do, only on flesh. Their presence is a bad sign, yet the group pushes forward. Grok notices a pit trap that has been triggered, a dead Kruthik at the bottom, something humanoid crushed beneath. The pits were obviously an attempt to keep the kruthiks from getting into the Keep’s main areas. As the group turns a corner they see the hive ahead, including several very large adults. The kruthiks attack, the small hatchlings and young using the tunnels dug through the walls to flank the group. The adults spit poisonous spikes and charge, one adult burrowing through a wall to get to the back of the group. Ky’Vruck finds herself once again separated from the main force, and the group is forced to fight on two fronts against the rampaging adults while the young bite and scratch at their distracted foe. Quinn and Paul of Quar are able to deal with several of the Kruthiks while Thorn and Daemon Kaaw protect a bloodied Ky. Grok uses hit and run attacks to kill off the smaller critters, but is bloodied himself in the process. Yet the battle seems lost when one of the adults burrows through a wall and splits the group in two, only the quick reactions of Thorn, Quinn and Paul save the day, and allow the group to finish off the kruthiks. Within the hive the group finds a Potion of Healing and a Frostwolf Pelt, which suitably goes to Thorn. Also, on the body crushed at the bottom of the pit trap, the group finds several more potions.

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