Ladies with Polyhedral Dice

The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh

 

* Three travelers gathered outside the city walls of Salt Marsh, having journeyed long and hard looking for adventure. They had heard rumors of mysteries surrounding the town and had come to see for themselves.

* A guard stationed outside the gate stopped them on their way in. The first to approach was a human ranger named Arborius, a slightly pompous man who told the guard the truth— he was here for ADVENTURE!

* While he was talking to the guard, a second man came up, a human cleric named Nestor. Nestor modestly asked the guard for a brochure of the town, which the guard provided.

* While Nestor was looking over the brochure, a third man approached, a dwarven fighter named Tenbar who said he was looking to get some adventuring supplies.

* The guard explained that they only had the one adventuring store, and it… wasn't what people normally came to the town for. Though they had just missed the fishing festival! Festival of fish! Oh what a sight it was, there were fish lanterns and fish streamers and fish sales and fish face painting, they really had missed out! He was pretty sure they could still get some decent fish in town, and for quite a bargain too.

* Hungry as they were the adventurers were happy to hear this! They asked how long ago the fish festival was? He explained it was just last week! They asked if the fish for sale was.. you know… left over from the fish festival? He explained that yes, it was! They thanked him, and went into the town proper, to look at the… fish.

* Once in the town they followed Nestor's brochure to the adventuring store. Just as the guard said, it clearly did not see a lot of business. In fact it might have been the worst adventuring store in the country. To three fresh-faced adventurers, however, it was paradise! The place was dusty and smelled of mold, and ropes in various stages of disrepair hung from the ceiling. Tall folk had to watch their heads. Every display was heavily coated in a layer of grime.

* They bought a number of questionable rations (those that did have an expiration date had expired the year before, and many didn't even have a posted date), a lot of rope (which Arborius chose to wrap around himself like some sort of climber), chalk, torches, waterskins, a signaling kit, a grappling hook, all sorts of things. The clerk was surprised to get such business, and Tenbar was able to talk him into giving them all a discount as they were buying so much and “would be back to buy more.”

* Arborius decided he needed to have the best bedroll possible, and asked the clerk which one that would be. The clerk said he did have one stashed away upstairs, if Arborius was of discerning taste. Arborius said that yes, yes he was, and the clerk went to get the bedroll. It was a fine bedroll! It was dark purple with gold accents and unicorn designs, with a built in pillow. Arborius, being of a discerning taste, bought it right away.

* Tenbar asked the clerk if he knew of any adventure, in the area! Unfortunately the clerk did not, as not many people came his way. They asked what other services he would recommend in the town, and he pointed them down the road to the alchemists.

* Nobody knew what they were looking at when they got there, there were bottles everywhere and nothing was labeled. They saw other patrons looking at some red colored potions, and went to stand by them. A woman was holding a massive bottle, as if unsure if she wanted to purchase it. Arborius asked her about it, and she said that it seemed like maybe a bit much. He immediately wanted it and tried to talk her into the merrits of buying multiple SMALLER potions rather than one big one.

* Eventually they found a sign explaining the prices, and they each bought a health potion or two. The woman ended up buying the massive potion, and Arborius drowned his sorrow in some possibly silly purchases of bouncing potions (which made any surface springy) and sticking potions.

* Since Arborius seemed to be into potions, and was steadfastly refusing to put any of his rope away, Tenbar and Nestor went back to the adventuring store to buy him a bandoleer to carry the potions in and a backpack to hopefully get him to put his stuff in.

* The clerk was very happy to see them back! Tenbar pointed out that he HAD said they would be repeat customers. When the clerk went upstairs to see about a potion bandoleer, Tenbar had a look around the palce and noticed some interesting changes in the masonry in the wall— it looked like there was a secret door or some recent construction done to the place. He pointed this out to Nestor as possible ADVENTURE.

* After they purchased some more things from the adventuring store owner, Tenbar pointed out what he had seen. The clerk said he had a good eye, and that they had just been remodeling! He had decided to add an employee lounge of sorts, for the only employee. (Him).

* The group met back up at the alchemist shop and asked the clerk there if they had heard of any ADVENTURE. The clerk said they had not, but that a good place to check out for that sort of thing would probably be the tavern.

* Yes! Tenbar agreed and said that if nothing else they could get some ale! Excited dwarf! They went off to the tavern and started listening around for talk of ADVENTURE!

* Two people were talking about a haunted mansion, over at the bar. Arborius was dismayed to see it was the woman who bought the giant potion out from under him, but he and Tenbar went over there anyway to butt into the conversation.

* Nestor, meanwhile, had found some PRETTY INTERESTING FLYERS, that clearly led to something! The flyers were posted by someone seeking information about something; they were a little old, so he couldn't make out everything they said, but it clearly was a lead to ADVENTURE!

* Nestor brought the flyer over to his friends, and listened patiently while everyone talked about the haunted mansion. The man at the bar was saying that he had gotten all the way to the front door once, and very few people can say they've done that. (Very few people can say they've done that, because people never make it BACK from the front door).He was offering to take the woman up that way, to investigate the mansion.

* Our adventurers asked all sorts of questions. Apparently, loooong ago, an alchemist of some sort lived in that mansion, and got up to all sorts of dark magic. The house had been abandoned for years, and no one knew what had happened to the alchemist, he had just… disappeared. Brave souls would go up to the house to investigate and seek the MASSIVE TREASURE that was said to be there, but no one ever came back. The townsfolk all avoided the area. Dangers of the house included the overgrown garden, which was crawling with snakes, and of course the house itself was terribly haunted by all sorts of ghosts. On cold dark nights, you could just make out in the distance the howling screams coming from its boarded up doors.

* The party decided to go!!! At night!!!! Possibly a cold and dark one!!! The woman, whose name was Hildegard, was not completely ecstatic at adventuring with these oddballs, but agreed that they should go as a group, safety in numbers. They set up plans to meet the following night at the edge of town.

* Nestor, a bit late, brought up the flyer he found! Look! …Hildegard explained that it was an old posting from at least a year ago. Nestor was a little disappointed. Guess they would be going to a haunted mansion.

* This left our adventurers with quite a few hours to kill, and still with the pressing need to find a place to rest their heads. Nestor went off to visit the town's temple, to ask the clerics if they had any advice about haunted mansions. Tenbar and Arborius returned to the adventuring store to get a few more supplies, now that they knew specifically what kind of adventure they would be going on!

* Most importantly, given the snakes, they figured they needed a snake hook. Luckily, the clerk had quite a few! They picked the sturdiest, and one large enough to handle what could only be described as disturbingly large snakes.

* They also purchased comically overlarge garden shears, which the clerk said was named Vinesbane. It was a very pretty tool, with vines carved into the handles.

* After chatting about their discount, Arborius had a thought. Maybe they could do a little work around the shop, in exchange for room and board for the night!

* Arborius got a job wearing a sandwich board advertising the store, and went out into the streets to sing the shop's praises and try to drive business over there.

* Tenbar, being skilled with mason work, helped with some of the ongoing construction the shopkeep was behind on.

* While shouting and yelling and pointing wildly, Arborius ran into Nestor! He explained that they were getting jobs at the adventuring store in order to have a place to sleep, and that Nestor should get in on the action.

* Nestor went back over there and asked the clerk what sort of work he still needed doing? The clerk couldn't think of anything! Nestor asked, very politely, if maybe he needed a little cleaning up done? The clerk said he didn't think so! Nestor pointed out, very politely, that maybe just a little dusting and sweeping, would brighten up the place? The clerk asked if Nestor thought it was dusty? … and then hired Nestor to do some cleaning.

* After working an honest day's work, the party reconvened in the store's new employee lounge area, ate some bad rations, and settled into their bedrolls (except for Nestor, who took the couch).

* They worked the following day, up until the time for their adventure to begin! They met with Hildegard on the outskirts of town. The man from the bar joined them, and walked them up the steep hill, up to the haunted mansion. He took them around a back way, and though it hadn't been terribly cold and dark down in the village, up here it was very cold, and very dark, and very spooky.

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Snowglobes and Bears pt 2
Alway Be Goleming
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Snowglobes and Bears pt 1
"Oh believe me, this is a vengeance quest."
  • The party came-to while sitting in a very fancy carriage. Upon examining it, they determined it was the type that someone might imagine a noble person would ride in but not actually one. Alarmingly, the carriage was stopped. Most alarmingly, they had no recent memories of how they got there.
  • While Amerri, in good barbarian fashion, tried to rip the seats off to see what was underneath, Musica stepped out to look at their surroundings and make sure her mule, Alabaster, was still with them.
  • He was, but he was staying off to the side of the carriage as it turns out the carriage was not being pulled by horses but by a large black bear. A second empty harness suggested there was a bear missing. The seat at the top of the carriage was also vacant. If they had a driver, they were no where to be seen.
  • The rest of the party exited the relative warmth of the carriage and shivered in the cold, noticing the high winds and swirling snow. They decided that the best thing to do right now was to find the other bear and make sure it was okay. Gilad showed the second harness to their ursine friend, hoping that would be enough to get the bear to start tracking.
  • Sure enough, the bear set off. Musica made note of the direction of the carriage so they wouldn't get lost and they trudged through the snow after the bear. Nura was absentmindledly surprised that they had no problem whatsoever walking through the snow, it seemed to her that it must not be very deep. The winds kept it constantly in motion.
  • The bear led them up a slight hill and through the evergreens they could see an adorable cottage! It wasn't even made of candy or anything! This was apparently where the second carriage puller was hiding, and the two bears were very happy to see each other.
  • Gilad knocked politely on the front door, but there was no answer. Surprisingly, the door did not appear to be made of wood despite appearing as such. Isabella, having experience with masonry, examined the door and determined that it— and the whole cottage— was actually ceramic.
  • Amerri had had enough of this, and requested to borrow Gilad's portable battering ram. Which she promptly used to break a hole through the door. They peered in and saw only darkness, but as the hole was not big enough to climb through Amerri took out her great axe and began swinging, sending flying ceramic shards every which way.
  • Once the door was properly obliterated a few of them went inside to investigate. The cottage was entirely hollow, and not painted on the inside as it was on the out. The floor, too, was ceramic. Isabella noted the fine craftmanship and marveled at what a large project this would have been.
  • Nura, who had been keeping watch outside with the bears and Alabaster, gave a warning call that she was seeing mysterious and slightly threatening twinkling lights drifting toward them from down hill.
  • The party formed a defensive line with their weapons drawn, but did not want to assume the motives of these things. Musica tried to communicate with them and ask what they wanted, but the lights did not respond or change course.
  • Amerri didn't like the looks of things and threw a hatchet at a nearby tree, menacingly, which seemed to spook two of the lights into drifting off more to the side. What was alarming however was that it very much appeared those two lights were moving to flank the party.
  • Nura went forward to once again try to establish contact, and received a very stinging electric zap! From there, it was clear these were not friendly balls of light, and the party leaped into action!
  • The battle went smoothly, except for Musica accidentally throwing her sword behind her (luckily no one saw, phew) and Alabaster getting zapped once (he was immediately avenged by half the party). Isabella saw to Nura's many electical burns.
  • Nura took this time to share with her friends that she had seen something fairly disturbing. A gigantic child's face in the sky, smiling and laughing, before it was overtaken with snow and wind again.
  • At this point the party realized the bizarre truth that they might be stuck in a snowglobe. If that was the case, it was just the question of how to get back out. Isabella performed a detect magic ritual, while Gilad named the bears Margot and Marlon, who she began to train "sit" using rations.
  • Amerri helped Nura dig in the ground to see  if they could hit the ground. Once past all the constantly shifting snow, they struck ceramic. The whole ground appeared to be made of it.
  • Isabella's ritual revealed the party was covered in enchantment magic, and that the surrounding area showed signs of abjuration. They decided to get back to the carriage and ride it to the edge of the globe, and try to break the glass.
  • Musica and Amerri were able to get the party back to the carriage, which they tried to push. Confound it all, the wheels were glued to the ground! Amerri's axe made quick work of that, and off they went, Gilad driving the carriage as she had made the best relationship with the bears.
  • While driving, Gilad noticed a figure swirling around in the sky as if caught up in the winds. She pointed it out to her friends. They decided to try to warn this thing away using terrifying laser magic.
  • Gilad climbed on the roof of the carriage with Amerri (holding onto her to make sure she didn't fall) and started shooting lasers out of her hands and growling fiercely! Isabella sat in the driver's seat and started the carriage back up, Amerri quickly lost her footing, and she and Gilad both fell to the ground, lasers still firing.
  • Musica noticed, and they all waited while the laser squad got resituated, and started up again.
  • Looking closer at the drifting shadow, Musica and Nura were able to see that it appeared to be a humanoid figure in the seated position. It must be their carriage driver! New plan, no more lasers!
  • They fastened rope to Gilad's grappling hook, and sent it flying up to the figure. Once it seemed caught, they puuuuullled it back toward them. As soon as it was clear of the tree line and no longer buffeted by the wind, it came crashing down to the ground, where it promptly shattered.
  • Nura investigated and determined it was a ceramic figurine of a half orc man in a tuxedo and top hat, with terrifying crooked blue dots for eyes and a wide red smile, now broken into 14 pieces. Eeeee. ….they stuffed all of him into Gilad's backpack, and loaded him up onto Alabaster.
  • Onward!
  • They reached the glass sphere's edge, and after marking a spot with sealing wax they let loose their wrath.
  • As soon as the glass was broken, most of them felt terribly ill and disoriented. They found themselves standing in what appeared to be a gift shop, with 2 bears and a mule. A small frightened boy was standing next to a broken snowglobe, and a thoroughly shocked woman was asking if they were okay.
  • Nura said she would love some water, if that was an option.
  • Isabella offered that they would clean up the vomit, which the woman shook her head multiple times at, saying she was going to get them some water. She told the little boy to get the mop.
  • Gilad took the bears and Alabaster outside, where she bonded a bit more with them. People gave her weird looks.
  • After speaking with the woman (named Beatrice Coldire), who appeared to own the shop, they were able to gather the following: She owns a gift shop for last minute gifts and had recently purchased the snowglobe to resell, and she had NOT known there were people in there, and she would very much appreciate it if they didn't press charges or bad mouth her shop. She told them she bought it from a guard named Bernard Sans.
  • They left the shop and found a guard and asked her about Bernard. She allowed that Bernard was a "good enough guy." Amerri accidentally asked about bribing him, which the guard took offense to. Amerri was unable to dig herself out of the situation, and Musica stepped in when the guard started to demand to know their names.
  • Musica politely explained that they were with a traveling circus, hence the bears. She introduced their band as Rachel and Lyrika Longfoot, an axe juggler and firebreather duo, Durelia Silverscale, their animal handler, and Benna and Helga Talltwig, the acrobat sisters.
  • The guard said she hadn't heard that the circus was in town, and warned them to make sure they got the proper permits from town hall, then sent them on their way.
  • They found Bernard in a smokey, seedy tavern. He was seated at the bar! Convenient. He was definitely up for bribery, and told them (once he determined he could probably trust them) that he had found the snowglobe in the wizard's cabin out in the woods, but that she wasn't there any more and likely (he stressed not to tell the guards this part) moved on to her house down by the lake.
  • They decided to check out the wizard's house first anyway. They had gotten their memories back at this point, and remembered that they had been sent on a quest by the wizard Agatha Talleux. They had found the silver chalice she was looking for, but when they brought it back to her they did not receive payment, and then after that all they remembered was the snowglobe.
  • At Agatha's cabin in the woods they found a large bear enclosure around the back. Margot was very happy to be back and claimed one of her old toys, a large bucket. Marlon was not as thrilled, but followed along politely.
  • Isabella did another ritual to detect magic, to make sure they weren't walking into magical traps. She sensed a few magical auras within the house, which were small and lined up horizontally as if they might be on a shelf.
  • They found a room that might have been her study, which had tipped over bookshelves and a broken chair. There was a line of shelves built into the wall there, on which sat a tin box, a clay box, a silver box, a jewelry box, a pair of lace gloves, and a small sack.
  • In the cellar they found many mundane looking jugs, which Nura uncorked and investigated but did not drink, gosh.
  • Rather than opening the boxes willy-nilly, they went out to the bear enclosure and got a good distance away (Gilad had to drag Margot by the bucket), and used Mage Hand to open them one at a time. They found a clay ring, a ceramic owl whistle, a necklace with a ruby that muttered to itself, a bag of beans and the sack of pebbles.
  • They took these things to a magic shop (The Wonders, owned by a tiefling woman named Iliandra) and an alchemist shop (The Overflowing Urn, owned by a gnomish man named Jasper). Iliandra tried to get them to part with the small clay ring, but they did not. She charged them quite a bit to get it identified, but they banded together and paid the sum.
  • Turns out all the stuff they picked up was pretty good! Jasper was very amiable once Gilad got in there and did some blatant flattery. As Gilad left Isabella called in her thanks and complimented his store as well, causing Jasper brief confusion and to say that Gilad can bring her friends inside next time.
  • Well outfitted with multiple magic items and useful potions, the party debated whether to go accost Agatha and demand their payment. They reasoned they could sell all these things and potentially make more money than she was going to give them for the chalice. Butttttttt…. vengeance, you know?
  • They went back to Agatha's house to sleep, deciding to tackle the problem in the morning. Musica very kindly shared her rations with everyone else, as some of them had not packed any and others (ahem, Gilad and Isabella) had given all of theirs to the bears.
  • By the way, those bears are definitely Gilad's now. Agatha is not getting them back.
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