Reign of Dust

Session VI
Booooooze Cruise

After a 3-day weekend away from adventuring, the team regrouped at the Sage & Sword, having gained a new ally, Azzamestos (or Azz), and misplaced an old one. An acquaintance of Grimdolyne’s informed the team that she had gone missing at sea, and having nowhere else to turn, asked the team for help in saving their mutual friend.

At the Blue Siren, a cafe in the Wailing Bay, the team spoke with the owner, Brandi, a hospitable woman with tired, sad eyes. After attempting to charm and intimidate the woman, who was already in the process of giving them pertinent information, the team learned of a terrible danger lurking in the fog rolling into the bay. They also learned the sad story of Brandi, a fine girl who’d likely have made a good wife, but whose lover perished at sea some years ago.
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Escorted to Pier 13, the team was given tickets and instructions to board a haunted booze cruise, the very same cruise on which Grimdolyne disappeared. With marginal resistance, the team relinquished their weapons to Folgers, the first-mate, and boarded the vessel.
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To the dulcet tune of a soundtrack composed entirely of the smash hit “the Monster Mash,” the team began their investigation. First, Gentlekiss failed to impress a bartender, at an open bar, and as a result, was forced to pay for his drinks; Jimmothy righteously rebuked some haughty elves for acting all above everyone; and Bingbo got wooed at by some inebriated bachelorettes.

Capitalizing on a child’s medical emergency, the team split up to investigate the boat. Gentlekiss sought the wisdom of a lonely old dwarf who had a lot to say, but was mostly ignored… like always. Suddenly, danger presented itself as a great white frost squid appeared on the dance-floor, screeching and flailing its translucent tentacles. Azz, who overheard the commotion on his way to investigate the bridge, flared his frilly neck frills and spat a plume of flame towards the ice-squid, narrowly missing the well-stocked bar. Having failed to subdue the beast, Azz was soundly condescended to by his great rival, Aloysius Superion, whose appearance on this ship made little sense, but was so like him. As the squid prepared a second attack, it was knocked overboard by a well-flung folding chair, hurled by Norman, the kindly old dwarf whose days of heroic and selfless deeds may not have been so long since finished after all.
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Azz was thoroughly burned by his rival’s cutting words.

In the cargo-hold, Jimmothy, the Inspector, and Bingbo discovered a wealth of crates and cages, and interrupted two teens in theater make-up during a pretty intense top-stuff make-out session. After locking them in a cage and providing the teens with a quickly rolled joint, the trio learned that the former first-mate (whom Grimdolyne’s friend totally ripped to pieces) was a real creep and may have been hiding information about disappearing passengers. The team was then beset upon by ominous spectres, first Bingbo’s deceased father who attacked the Inspector, seemingly having recognized him.

With some quick thinking and a jury-rigged vibrating stun-gun/personal device, the Inspector scrambled this ghost’s frequency, only to then discover a vision from his own past, his lost daughter, within an adjacent cage. On closer inspection, he discovered her to be a ghastly reflection of his own inadequacy, as she stared with eyeless sockets, holding a beating organ in place of her ice-cream cone, asking solemnly why her father had abandoned her.

As the Inspector stood in stunned silence, Jimmothy began to experience a contact high. For the first time in his life, he contemplated the size of the universe and his, comparably, small place in it. He was shaken from this freshman year revelation by the multi-armed might of a rare elemental being, a beholder of pure muscle. This creature bested Jimmothy with ease, and the trio were left to contemplate their failings.

In the kitchen, Andromeda and Zena took note of Folgers administering first-aid to the young boy who’d experienced the earlier seizure. Scanning the kitchen, they found evidence of a scuffle, including a burnt handprint, approximately the size of Grimdolyne’s, as well as an accursed cabinet with the captain’s name etched into the front of it. Making for the bridge, they were confronted on both sides by a formerly dead two-headed lion and the lithe young figure of death, whose touch weathered and rotted the very ship itself in a quiet, but threatening manner. Rushing to their aide, a nearby Gentlekiss fell most handily down a small set of stairs, as the imposing figures disappeared from view.

Above, on the bridge, Azz and L discovered the captain performing a silent incantation, sending a flare into the dense fog. Thinking fast, Azz cast a spell to interrupt the captain’s carefully prepared occult shit, and upon realizing this, the captain hurled a handful of snakes right into Azz’s face. Attempting to flee, the captain was confronted by L, wielding a poisonous snake, and despite having long ago removed his tongue as part of some gross ritual, he was able to convey that help was coming for him.

Attempting to interrupt the captain’s magic flare, Azz channeled some powerful dark energy, which, while successful, unfortunately came down upon the captain, sending him over the railing, onto the dance-floor, and squarely onto his neck. As Folgers chastised the passengers for their unacceptable behavior, a furry Orc grabbed the young boy who’d just been brought back from the kitchen, provoking an attack from his sister, who bit deeply into the Orc’s neck. Ignoring the spooky ass shit going down around her, Andromeda transformed into a panther and performed a graceful, if poorly-aimed attack on the young girl, latching her teeth into the other side of this Orc’s neck. The circumstances surrounding his death were ambiguous.

With a flash and a cavalier attitude, a group of pirates, led by the charismatic pirate captain boarded the ship and began collecting passengers, each with a name and backstory more compelling than the last.
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While casually explaining that he did in fact accidentally kidnap Grimdolyne, the pirate captain noticed Norman, the lonely old dwarf who’d saved everyone’s asses earlier, dash towards the pirates holding the vampire children. With a bolt of electric white fire unleashed from the pirate captain’s harpoon the lonely old dwarf was killed.

It was super sad, even though nobody cared.

As Bingbo attempted to parlay, and Azz argued strongly for murdering everybody else onboard, the pirate captain shared the tragic tales of himself and his crew. Noting a distinct similarity to a story they’d heard hours earlier, Azz and Bingbo offered to take the pirate captain to his wife, if he would return Grimdolyne to them. Surveying the destruction and pointless loss of life, aware for the first time that she would likely not be receiving an exemplary performance review, Folgers ordered the team off her boat, handing Zena the key to their weapons chest.

Following a bloody, confusing, exhausting fight in which people were hexed, un-hexed, hexed again, enthralled, blocked off by magic force-fields, killed by a venomous snake whip, de-fingered, magically protected against fire-lightning, exploded by fire-lightning, and the forces of science and magic and vengeance combined in new and terrifying ways, the team found themselves on different sides of two powerful, squared-off figures. Using charm, guile, and annoyingness, Bingbo and L discerned that the pirate captain would never stop hunting vampires, and that Brandi could not allow the pirate captain to live if it meant the deaths of more vampires.
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With not a wasted moment, as coarse white flames crackled along the pirate captain’s harpoon and nine fingers tensed on Brandi’s outstretched claws, Zena spoke a word of command, leaving the pirate captain with no other choice but to “quit it.” The pirate captain fell to his knees, having been broken in a way that would never be fixed. He cursed these adventurers and sobbed impotently.
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Brandi offered her thanks, threatened the defeated pirate captain, and burst into a swarm of bats, off to search for a new door for her cafe. The team tried their best to console the pirate captain, but having lost his purpose, he sat quietly in the street, envious of the dead.

As they began their return journey to Flagstone, Grimdolyne’s friend appeared, congratulated the team, and set off to rescue the caged vampires from the pirate vessel (the youngest of whom would later flip the Inspector the bird, most venomously).

But danger had not yet released these adventurers from its familiar grasp. Cutting through an alley behind a theater, the team was set upon by a wayward young man wielding a knife, in search of fast cash to support a crippling addiction to demon dust. With nary a flex out of place, Jimmothy turned the assailant’s weapon against him, forcing the man to stab himself 30-40 times, and then placing the knife between two cobblestones, lifted the man’s nearly lifeless corpse, and dropped it squarely onto upturned blade. Having successfully used the planet itself to kill a guy, Jimmothy resolved any lingering existential doubt brought on by his brief foray into the world of drug-induced self-reflection.

The team returned home, having learned no lessons.

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Session V
Wedding Crashers

Escaping from the Lantern Worm’s caverns, Bingboh, Grimdolyn, the Inspector, and Zena met with the rest of the group, themselves escaping from the cultist headquarters, the assassin acolyte in tow. Hungry for revenge against the Hobgoblin, Bingboh let the rest of the group know that he was invited to play a wedding back in Flagstone — a good way to make some easy coin, to gear up for their revenge mission.

Bruised and bloody, they decided to rest for the night, in the jungle clearing where their paths first diverged. Due to, well, being really sleepy, no one noticed the giant bats descending upon them until Bingboh was already in their clutches.

Panicked and flailing, Bingboh grabbed whatever he could to throw at the bats. Unfortunately, his hand landed on one of the pouches of Devil Dust on his belt. Even more unfortunately, he whiffed and sent the powder directly into his face, and fell into a truly terrible trip.

The rest of the team fought off the bats, and Bingboh awoke, worse for the wear.

The next day found them lost in the jungles, but like so many of life’s problems, the Inspector solved it via launching himself into the sky with a violent explosion. They arrived in Flagstone right before the wedding, and some quick-talking — as well as a late priest — got them into the wedding.

Zena, who is not having any of this nonsense, shepherds the Goblins in the kitchens. Waiting for the inevitable disaster this becomes.

Grimdolyne and the Inspector discover that The Brodeen Family’s youngest daughter is being married off to a son of The Dudeson Family, practitioners of vile dark magic. Grimdolyne quickly hatches a plan as Gentlekiss mistaken for the priest hired for the wedding ceremony, and Jimothy accosts the actual priest outside the wedding venue.

Meanwhile, L infiltrates the Dudeson family’s residence, following their servants bringing in crates of what — he assumes — is the dowry.

Grimdolyne, learning that the bride detests this arranged marriage, signals to Gentlekiss, who launches into a long, rambling sermon that nevertheless captures the attention of the audience while she and the Inspector hatch a plan. By now, Jimothy has found his way into the building, and up into the balconies, dragging along the priest who should have been officiating the ceremony.

Yards away, L eviscerates a passing guard and discovers that the Dudesons have not been carting in a dowry, but enough explosives to level several of Flagstone’s buildings.

This is when shit really starts to pop off.

As Gentlekiss’ sermon crescendoes, Bingboh begins to shred a song of power on his lute, and Andromeda transforms into a giant bat and lifts the bride into the air. At that moment, the Inspector activates his pyromantic propulsion rod and explodes off the ground and through a window, debris flying everywhere. Things come to a head when, as they try to escape, the team is beset by the local law enforcement, as well as the dark mages of the Dudeson family.

Quick talking by Bingboh causes the Sheriff and his men to hesitate, but doesn’t slow down the Dudesons. Choosing her moment carefully, Zena leaps into action, taking the head off a Dudeson with a well-placed flail strike. Not to be outdone, Jimothy then leaps from the rafters and crushes another Dudeson into a puddle of bones and gore.

Thankfully, to allay any pressing questions (specifically, “why did you kill these people so violently?”), L and the Inspector show the Sheriff the explosives the Dudesons brought with them. The surviving Dudesons are arrested, and the team is rewarded.

As Andromeda returns with the Brodeen girl, the young ex-bride expresses her desire to become an adventurer as well, and reveals a family heirloom — a glass-tipped sword

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Session IV
Dungeon Delve

Grimdolyn, the Inspector, Zena, and Bingbo delved the cavern of the lantern worm, in search of escape. Once Bones was grabbed by a monstrous subterranean bug, their search included their goblin comrade as well. As they progressed, they met and formed a pact with a rock elemental, who hungers for rare metal — especially that of a fallen meteorite.
At the bottom of the labyrinthine cavern, they recovered Bones, along with the sinister contents of the stolen caravan, but awoke the lantern worm. They cashed in their favor from the rock elemental and sealed off the worm (but not before maiming it). Now all that remains to do is slake their lust for revenge against the Goblin leader.

Elsewhere, Gentlekiss, Jimothy, L, and an eerily silent Andromeda tore through the cultist hideout, notably mulching some cultists via broken ancient machinery. In an act of selflessness indicative of his bond with his god, Gentlekiss sacrificed a part of his soul to wrest Andromeda from the brink of death (due to many, many, many cuts). They found, and rescued, an unsettling Elf, which lead them to the cultists’ in-progress summoning of a Toad Demon. Instead of slogging through an appropriately-attuned difficult-but-possible battle that the GM meticulously statted out, L gutted the frog from the inside out and ended the battle — but not without revealing their true identity.

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Session III
Into the Jungle

Dawn breaks in Flagstone to find the return of Grimdolin, along with a new figure — a masked thief who calls themselves “L”. Gentlekiss and the Inspector manage to decode a hidden book in the blacksmith’s house, leading them closer towards the stolen caravan.

Deep in the jungle they find the destroyed axel of one of the carts, as well as a small team of friendly (if difficult to understand) kobold warriors, beset by cultists and invading goblins. In return for the team’s help, the kobolds indicate that part of what the adventurers are seeking is in a nearby cave, a place that has been avoided by this kobold tribe for generations.

The team splits – Andromeda, L, Gentlekiss, and Jimothy head into the cave, finding the ruined temple of the ancient dark god of secrets and mysteries. In exploring the ruins, they come across some dark portents, and valuable treasures. After reprogramming an eons-old golem into stasis, they descend further into the ruins, and discover the cultists’ hideout.

the Inspector, Zena, Bingbo and Grimdolin, however, travel with the Kobolds, and with a well-placed fireball drive out the goblin leader and reunite the kobold warriors with their families, as well as gaining some enthusiastic — if a bit dim — goblin allies. The goblins lead them to a temple complex, and into the lair of the “Big Boss”, a gigantic elder goblin who tosses them into the domain of the Lantern Worm — but not after the team recovers an artifact from an entombed elven hero.

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Session II
Arrival in Flagstone

The group meets in The Sage and Sword, a tavern in the border town of Flagstone. Grimdolin never arrives, but instead they meet Zena — an elven ex-gladiator with a connection to Andromeda’s past.

As they investigate the rumors Bingbo has collected from the townsfolk, Gentlekiss receives a prophetic vision with the help of a hermitess witch, and the Inspector makes a (unfortunately short-lived) friend in a local blacksmith.

The next day, Tam’s caravan arrives, lead by an acolyte of the Assassin’s Guild in Tam’s employ. Nearly as soon as they set off, however, they’re beset by po-faced cultists wielding powerful illusory magic.

The cultists make off with the caravan, and the team is left to hatch a plan to find it.

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Session I
Prelude

Bingbo, Grimdolin, the Inspector, Jimothy, Deacon Gentlekiss, and Andromeda botch a heist for their current employer, the water baron and crime lord Tam.

They retrieved a mysterious tablet (but only one of the three they needed), as well as an enchanted chisel that cuts through stone like wax. They also fought against the city guards, and killed all but one, who escaped with the assistance of one of the Emperor’s eagles.

Tam was, of course, extremely upset — but was convinced to give them one last chance.

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