Recondite Brotherhood

Bizarre Electives
Breaking the Ice

An assortment of various graduates of practical training from Ortral Academy in Ferucha decided to take on a research project for extra credit and a small stipend of 10 gp. This involved Nyla the elven sorceress, Melchior the halfling sorceror, Bahldissa the human paladin, Mydon the human druid and Wayrd the half-elf bard. The harried assistant organizing the groups snickered about this particular project because Crystology is widely regarded as a pseudoscience. Wayrd paid special attention to Bahldissa.

Before Barnabas , the toothless wagon driver brilliantly lost the map, he broke the ice by inquiring about the students’ various studies, and discovered they had taken some very strange electives. Mydon had studied Elvish Sea Shanties, Wayrd had studied Orcish Throat Singing, Melchior had studied Goblin Language, Bahldissa had studied Gnomish Children’s Literature and Nyla had studied A History of Dwarven Beard Fashion. Using tracking, climbing and arcane skills, they managed to get the wagon back on the correct trail.

Barnabas dropped the students off when the forest grew too thick and they found a decorated temple with vines stretching across it. Upon approaching a small cornucopia altar with an offering of fruit inside, the monkeys in the surrounding trees felt threatened and attacked. Melchior frightened away half of the monkeys with the illusion of a tiger’s roar, while Nyla zapped them with electricity. Among some rotten apple cores the monkeys left behind, there were several small corks, a silver comb and a signet ring bearing a human crest. The party went inside to find the professor overseeing the research project.

Geology, not Crystology
Finding a Common Goal

Upon entering the dank and dusty seaside temple, the party met their overseeing professor for the research project, Elinor Rhea Tarnassus, who chastised them for their lateness as well as their lack of interest in her field of “geology.” The temple they were investigating was pantheistic, and showed symbolism for Boccob, Obad-Hai, Yondalla, and Pelor. It had a main receiving room where lectures occurred, a room for conducting rituals, and a room for prayer and offerings.

The research project involved placing quartz samples near high concentration of blue coralite according to a topography map, as well as taking a sample from where 5 minerals were concentrated.

Small offerings were found in stone boxes in the prayer room with Obad-Hai symbols. It was guarded with a poison dart trap hidden amongst some murals. Nyla expertly avoided getting hit, which showed the others where the trigger tile was in the ground. Wayrd pushed the tile until all the darts from the trap had been fired. Mydon identified them as having tarantula venom on the tips. Melchior used his mage hand to collect the darts and store the tips in the small corks picked up from the monkeys’ stash. Melchior also played a prank on the party while they were placing samples in the offertory room by making a ghost sound of a baby cooing near the temple entrance. Bahldissa was scandalized by a few acts of sacrilege during the research project.

When Elinor smashed the sun mosaic in the ritual room to collect a sample, two statues animated and attacked. Using their strength and cleverness, these threatening constructs were defeated.

The students discovered a secret room by moving animal tiles according to instructions scrawled in druidic alphabet. When the wall panel descended into the floor, four healing potions bearing the same symbol as the signet ring were discovered. On the walls were old paintings showing a great healer that assisted temple goers. He traveled to the temple and back from an X-shaped river. Recalling the history of the Plains, the students recognized that this river was now dry, which mean the healer would be over 100 years old.

Barnabas returned the students to Ferucha, which concluded their research. Collecting their stipend, they were now official graduates of Ortral Academy! To celebrate, they went to the Modest Mermaid and imbibed with Elinor, who inquired about their pasts and their studies. Wayrd got drunk and told a tale of an elf’s mighty member that was able to stopper rivers. They shared in fellowship and decided to seek out this healer’s house after a few days in the capital.

Dried-Out Riverbeds
A Tough Decision

The new graduates enjoyed their time off in the capital, purchasing adventuring supplies, spell components, new clothes and a fancy hat. Melchior, after hearing some bar patrons exclaim about a beautiful girl at a traveling circus, attempted to hustle drunks at The Kraken and was asked to leave by the proprietor. Meeting up at the Modest Mermaid, the party set off on their journey through the Withered Plains to find the healer’s house.

On their walk through the oppressive heat of the drought stricken area, Wayrds hat got continually criticized and Mydon lit a torch in a somewhat sexual manner. As the sun went down, the party was attacked by a swarm of locusts, and cleverly used their fire to their advantage.

After making camp for the night, two travelers on the road passed their way and exchanged some gossip. The brothers, Lon and Otis were on their way to the mountains to start Crossed Swords Construction because they are tired of the heat. On their journey so far they nearly got jumped by bold and creative goblins and heard a weird fluttering noise.

Inside a run-down cottage near the X-shaped river, Noam Ashby was discovered. He has been studying his father Coruvial Ashby‘s craft, and creates potions, salves, and wands. His father had incredible abilities, which garnered him attention from various other magic users throughout his life. On his last trip to help maintain the temple, his house was ransacked by bandits, and a potion cask with his father’s journals was stolen. If they could be retrieved, he would be willing to give them a crafted wand that could be used for basic healing.

Setting off north in search of the bandit camp, a fluttering sound came from the side of a dried out riverbed. Crawling inside, a large tome with a split leather spine was found. Upon closer examination, the book was an almanac, showing the entire history of Ortral. Every page described happenings around the continent for a particular day. There was a bizarre discovery- the almanac had a page for the following day! In between dry details of local elections, trade margins, and weather conditions, the book writes that the the nearby town of Scanty was attacked in an aerial raid by goblins and the mayor perished. Bahldissa recognized this story from a Gnomish nursery rhyme.

Feeling that it was their duty to try to prevent this tragedy from befalling the town, as well as a sense of curiosity over the prospect of changing the future, the graduates decided to set aside their search for the bandit camp for the time being.

Home Alone Strategizing
An Emotional Reunion

The party arrived in the farming village of Scanty and decided to seek out the mayor. After Wayrd charmed his way past the secretary at town hall, they were introduced to Sorhn. The mayor was very morose and hollow and seemed to believe that the town deserved the raid described by the tome. It was clear that he and Wayrd had a prior relationship. They asked for a moment of privacy, and after their conversation, Sorhn agreed to help organize against the raid with a brute squad and allowing an oratory performance in town hall to keep the townspeople unable to defend themselves protected.

Stragegy for how best to defend the town was discussed, which included laying down caltrops, summoning flying monsters, reducing persons, mage hand to throw poison darts, grappling hooks to pull down the aircraft, Bahldissa throwing Melchior, and Melchior tethered to the roof of the town hall chimney.

A meat cart rolled by, with a permeating rotten stench, despite the wares looking quite fresh. Bahldissa peeked underneath the wagon and discovered two goblins clinging to the underside. She grabbed them, knocked their heads together, and tied them up. Melchior used his language skills to interrogate the petulant humanoids, which were scouting for their leader, Rotgut, with a primitive spyglass. They confirmed that there were 4 aircraft, and the attack would be while the sun was highest in the sky.

They Did the Math
Changing the future?

After preparations for the impending goblin raid, Wayrd began weaving a distractionary tale of his life story, somehow without the citizens of Scanty connecting the dots or recognizing him.

The goblins had 3 hot air balloons and one primitive zeppelin. One balloon threw a smattering of projectiles, another attempted to steal sheep from the pasture, and a third poured burning oil. Jack ripped throats, Bahldissa snapped a goblin’s neck and currently has the dirigible attached to her grappling hook, Nyla shot magic missiles, Melchior shrunk Rotgut and had his summoned owl drop the miniature goblin from a substantial height, and Mydon climbed a rope in a manly fashion, and destroyed a goblin with water. Two of the hot air balloons were destroyed, and the third one escaped after Rotgut was slain.

The village of Scanty was successfully defended without any casualties. The page of the tome no longer mentions Sorhn’s death.

The Aftermath

The residents of Scanty emerged from the town hall after the raucous tale weaved by Wayrd. They were startled to find two crashed hot air balloons, a floating dirigible and several goblin corpses scattered amongst their sleepy farming village. Sorhn agreed to spin the tale in a manner that sounded favourable towards the party. Most citizens were satisfied, but a small mob started shouting racist observations. “I find it a strange coincidence that right when these half-breeds show up, so does a goblin attack! I even heard that one of them even speaks goblin!”__ Wayrd bribed the most vocal member, and the party was left free to inspect the dirigible. Attached to Bahldissa’s grappling hook, it appeared to have many small enchantments holding it in the air, but had to be steered manually. Melchior scurried up and used it to scout in the travels.

Sorhn inquired as to Kayn‘s whereabouts, but Wayrd was evasive. The party set out to find the final balloon that escaped. The balloon had crashed and the goblins were dead. Some goblins returned to the crash site later in the evening. Wayrd and Melchior lay in wait, listening to the confused creatures try and determine what happened. In their tongue, Melchior spoke to them, posing as one of Rotgut’s accomplices. He assured them that their boss would be along shortly with many spoils.

After watching the goblins head off, the journey continued to Cathabatra, the blue collar town noted in the tome as being looted shortly before the raid. It showed signs of recent construction. Twyle, a mechanic, was hit the hardest. After a frosty introduction being called a man by Wayrd, she begrudgingly explained that she had been attempting to combine tools with the arcane to aid construction. The goblins had seemed to target her shop specifically. Her demeanor instantly changed when the party showed her the zeppelin. This is exactly the sort of creation she wanted to build.

In order to learn more about a shady person that might be aiding the goblins, Twyle suggested asking around in the local tavern, The Dragon’s Flagon. The tavern band mentioned a cloaked figure seen around the plains, and the prejudiced drummer mistook the homely Twyle for a hag. Another noted that the man leading a troupe of bandits was named Uriah.

Sending a Message

Twyle was drinking alone in the bar, but was very curious as to how goblins were using the dirigible. She made a great audience, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the bravery and antics shown in the goblin raid. When Mydon mentioned destroying a goblin with water, she seemed especially interested. Since the party was interested in plying her for more information, he attempted to sweep her off her feet and turned on his charm. Wayrd spoke to a construction labourer who thought that the cloaked figure traveling around the plains could be Noam Ashby taking care of the temple his father loved.

Suddenly Twyle got incredibly excited and had a stroke of genius. A simple spell can be used in many different ways. She had been wrong all along in her focus on construction for arcane machinery. What if a machine could bring rain to an area with drought? This could change the lives of so many impoverished people. Twyle requested the party find her a prototype of a magical hinge that was lost in the goblin raid.

The goblin camp was located with ease. A majority of the combatant goblins were in the raid, and only 6 remained. The other goblins were children or noncombatant. After Melchior failed to convince them that he was an agent of Rotgut’s, they attacked. The party dealt with them handily. Melchior asserted himself as the new king of the goblins and gathered some information and loot from the terrified creatures. Rotgut had meetings to the south with someone known as The Black Hand. When the hinge was located, Melchior ordered the goblins to be peaceful and self-governing.

Upon reaching Cathabatra, the party found the town eerily quiet in contrast to how it had been bustling earlier. A man was laying face down in the street. His neck had been snapped cleanly. Everyone in the town was dead in the same fashion. An arcana check revealed that it had been done with something as simple as a Mage Hand. Mydon sprinted to Twyle’s workshop. Unlike the other unmarked corpses, she has been flayed. Written in her blood in her formerly pristine workshop was the mocking words, “Blood is thicker than water.”

From underneath her corpse water started to flood, quickly rising up to the party’s ankles. When the door was opened, the water spread evenly, stopping at the town borders. An invisible barrier had walled in the town. After various attempts to stop the flood, such as bleeding, casting spells against the barriers, and using summoned animals to fly and swim, a giant tidal wave bore down on Cathabatra, and disappeared immediately after the impact. The party was left battered, clinging to life in a pile of bodies and rubble that had been a peaceful and bustling town hours earlier. Nyla and Bahldissa, who were weaker swimmers are alive, but unconscious.


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