Neverember's New Neverwinter

An Adventurous Parable: Chapter 1
Chapter 1: And So We Meet:

How we came to be

The old woman shuffles the deck of cards and slowly lays it face down on the silk table cloth. She pushes the deck a little ahead of her hand and you draw a card. You place the card down on that same silk table cloth. The card is Major Arcana. It depicts a woman balancing swords. The card reads: The Duelist.


Races gnome female
Tana Roswyn
Somehow you survived. What the death of your father could not do to you, the shipwreck will not. Despite the sea foam filling your mouth and the gentle pull of the waves dragging you down, you know that you will not die at sea. It is not your destiny.

The ship that rescues you is a babe-scooner, well worn but sturdy. The fisher is a human of middling human years, his face sun-baked and his eyes tan. The family he takes you with are, of course, taller than you. Even the youngest tops you by a head, but you are warmed by their hospitality. Night falls and you feel that you are safe. Of course, you know, that this will not last, but it sooner rather than later when Evanval comes. Your old instructor is iron. His wide, craggy face is as surly and taciturn as ever. He tells you about the decimation of the Red Scales by the Red Talon faction, informs you of a man called Whitefang in Waterdeep. He tells you that your mother is safe and you cling to that hope dearly.

You can almost appreciate the Red Talon for their entrances. They arrive almost on cue and begin to tear apart the small fishing hovel. You know the family will not live, but you are powerless to stop the slaughter. You blink away the tears of guilty that sting your eyes and disappear into the night.


The old woman nods towards the card and again you draw from the deck, laying it next to the other card. Minor Arcana: A dragonborn surrounded on all sides by a bulwark of shields. The look of his face is either consternation or concentration. You cannot tell whether he is a prince or a prisoner. The card reads FOUR OF SHIELDS


Torinn
Torinn Rottgutt
Tymanther is a long way down the opposite way, but you can’t go back home yet. The road pushes you forward, east and south towards the Sea of Fallen Stars. You carry your worldly possession in a bag over your shoulder. It is not much. Your sword and your armor you wear on your hip and they keep you safe, even as your money dwindles and you spend more time sleeping outside. You do not mind it. You feel the eyes of Bahamut on you as you sleep beneath the swirling stars of the Astral Sea.

It was he that led you to this. It was his vision that sent you to that dragon’s gravesite. The same Dragon that took your sister and brother away from you. The cultist laughed at the horror you felt to see your sibling turned into grasping monstrosities. How could they understand that that same horror was what strengthen your result to strike down the abominations they had become? These were sadist without empathy, without compassion. What do they know of love? What do they know of sacrifice? You wonder idly what they would have done in your position. If it was someone they cherish, would they do the same? Would they have the resolve to end their love one’s suffering as you had? Or would they fall beneath the cold, clutching embrace of death’s iron grasp.

It does not matter now. Your path has been laid before you and you must walk it, as far and wide as it takes you. You crest the hill and see the find blue waves of the sea stretch out before you and you are at ease.


You do not understand. All these things don’t make sense to you. They are like stories told to you in a foreign language. You hesitate as you take the next card, but across the table the old woman stares at you with her bright brown eyes and nods her turbaned head towards the card, bidding you to take another. To take a card, laying it down next to the FOUR OF SHIELDS. It is Major Arcana. It depicts a seven pointed star, the color of blood and mercury. From within the heart of the star, a figure holds out it’s outstretch hand above its head. The figure is made out of the same blood and mercury as the star. For all intents and purposes, it and the star are one. The card reads THE STAR


Shardmind
Erishti
Sounds are new to you. So are lights and noises and colors and in your first moments of corporeality they are all that are. Soon things begin to focus and you have what you know are called eyes for which to see. The first image that appears to you is the terrible visage of the man that summoned you. His gaunt pale face watches you from the shadows of his hood, a shocked sneer drawn upon his humorless face. You are not what he expected and so he has no choice but to destroy you. But you will not be rid of so easily. You fight, you escape and you believe you are safe when his creature, his gargoyle, emerges from the portal behind you.

Still, it is no match for you. Not when you have aid. A caravan serendipitous stops by and though the figure that emerges to render assistance is small, it is no doubt capable in helping you banish the creature to whatever hellplane it no doubts belong.

At night, you sometime wonder what the mark the creature had branded you with will mean for you and your new partner, but as you travel the roads to the City of Splendor, learning the songs that the gnome teaches you, you instead turn your mind to the horizon and what lies just beyond the next city, the next town, the next morning.


Fear grows inside you, but you have no choice now. You do not wait for the old woman to nod. You snatch the card and blindly put it down, ready to be rid of this tent, these cards and these images that now flood your mind, of these lives that now infect your thoughts and dreams. It is the last of the Major Arcana. It depicts a man hanging from a tree, noose around his neck, ravens at either side, his face frightful in his scornful expression. His eyes, angry like fire, burn into you as you gaze at him. The card reads THE HANGED MAN.


Class port assassin
Jabal Quir
You have cried for the last time. It is alright, it was a low, soft weep that the guards could not hear. There will be no more of that, tonight. You will get to back to work.

You had been thinking of the food you will eat when you escape and the thought inevitably lead to the first time that you cooked Saphan for your children. Talkah had just been born and he was a sleepless child, without appitite or vigor. The Ban-Ban thought him sickly, but you know that you do not produce weaklings. You set the Ban-Ban ways correctly with the back of your hand and you began to prepare the morning meal yourself.

It had been a long time since you had made Saphan yourself, not since you were but a boy helping First Mother prepare the soup for Hal’Jaul. It was the first time she trusted you with the cooking spoon and you felt so much older than you were. Father drank that night and you remember nothing save for the sharp thack of his hand across First Mother’s cheek when she stubbed her toe on the table, spilling his drink. It was the first fantasy you had of murdering your father. It was right there, at the kitchen table, and you imagine taking the blade from above the door and running him thorough. He would not even have raised a complaint, in your mind, because he would be too in his cup to realize that steel had pierced his flesh until it was much too late.

Your father was a lout and a simpleton and you are much better than he is. You would not give in to the bottle like he had. You would not give into Sweet Smoke like he had. You are judicious with your anger. You will never beg anyone for quarter and then turn his frustration at such emasculation on who he towered over. You are truly strong. You are not a paper crane. You are not a paper crane.

You pull length wise on your shackles, thinking now of a dream you had. A dream of seeing the sky over home again.


With the last card laid down, you breathe a sigh and start to get up. The old woman looks at you with her bright eyes from out the shadowed canopy of the tent and slowly takes the deck of cards off the table, leaving the four cards. “They are your cards now.” She says. “Take them with you and take care.” Scooping the cards up, you put them in your pocket and you stand by the open flap, looking out at the plinking rain outside. “The night is filled with phantoms.” The old woman says. “Phantoms and legends both.”

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Episode I
Episode 1

12 Leaffall

The PCs, having lived a full and exciting life before they meet each other arrive at Neverwinter. By various means and purposes, they each find themselves on Captain Tomkrits schooner, bound for the once fabled Northern City…and just as they arrive the ship is assaulted by pirates. With the help of the PCs, the ship repels the forces, a deed which earns them Tomkrits respect who sends them on their way to Tom, his brother-in-law and a Captain in the Neverwemeber forces.
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Captain Tom greets the PCs and gives them a simple enough mission; keep an eye on his nephew, a boy named Hom. His preferred hang-out spot? A tavern on the docks called the Leviathan. Once arriving there, the PCs discover that the boy is quite the rapscallion, and is a known associate of a tiefling named Garrenthe. Tiefling in question is seen outside the tavern putting a sack of ‘moving goods’ into the back of a caravan, bound for the night.
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Following the caravan, the PCs are beset first by a gang of were-rat goons, many of whom escape the PCs blades. However the PCs successfully track the caravan to a warehouse…just in time to be greeted by the tiefling and his goons…who make short work of the PCs, knocking them all unconscious…..
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…To Be Continued…

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An Adventurous Parable: Chapter 2
Chapter 2: Homestories

Where We Were and What We Did

13 Leaffall

3947142 two demons opposite each other

Two demons on the small island of Tedium, Fourth Circle of the Nine Hells

It took eons, but they had formed a rudimentary communication system with their eyebrows. A quirk up was one point. A turn down was a dash. Through this structure, they were able to get the most elementary fundamentals of language. They did what any demon would do with a secret and a lot of time…they told each other stories.

Through rapid brow, Zazzafax said, So what else happened?

The Ugallu replied knowingly Well, they meet, of course…

The Captain voice is lost over the roar of the waves. “Hard to port, ship in sight!” He screams over the cannonade. These raids were common up Luskan way and he knew that the sea would not permit him from skirting too far around port. The patterns of pirates were as random as they appeared. These were not men, but sea-faring dogs, driven not by the will and faith of the human heart, but the vicious instincts of sharks in the sea. He hated them in the abstract but admired, like any Captain would, their skill at shipping.

It was a galley that moved like a schooner from the way it cut thorough the waves. It was a Vorpal sword cutting thorough skin, a delicate, almost surgical, incision of bow through waves. The seafoam churned beneath it, sending spray into the air. He turned to the three at the stern. “Do something!” he cried, hoarse. And to his surprise, he watched the pink creature unfold and turn her attention to one of the cannons and begin to help.

Alright, so that happened Zazzafax said after a century of lifting and dropping his brow. What next?

Well The Ugallu paused, and in that span entire empires rose and fell and rose again. They got to the city…

A Gnome, a Human and a Dragonborn entered the bar. It was almost like a bad joke, but Othie didn’t laugh, he was too drunk to do anything but sulk. Ednel was still fresh on his mind, the way she said “Don’t sleep here tonight”. It made him shiver, as if someone had dumped ice water into his veins. He went to the Leviathan because it was close, not because it was cheap, and he drank down his shillings until he barely had enough for a carriage out of the wharf. He was about to order one last tankard of mead and settle into a rich state of sullen inebriation when the group walked in and he stopped himself.

Without thinking about it, he found himself making a story for them. The Gnome, the Human, the Dragonborn, the…whatever that thing is following them. He told themselves they were four adventurers searching for glory and riches in the city of New Neverwinter only to find the squalor of the overpopulated Blacklake district and oppression afforded to the city by his high lord Neverember’s Mintarn guards in the Protectorate. Now they’re here to drink themselves to death until the bleak midwinter, where the frost comes and scares them back into their home.

He raised his glass to them unseen. “Good luck.”

This is getting good, Zazzafax said, his face passive and still, only his brow communicated his excitement. So what happened? Did they find the guy…

Oh ho, said The Ugallu, Did they ever…

Pace walked out into the evening, turning into her leather slightly as a wind gusted. She dropped the grate above the door of her store and locked it with a heavy brass key. She munched on her bottom lip. How was she going to tell Ilturn that she would have to go? How would she let her know that she doesn’t have the space for her and Jorhan and the boy. It was not a far walk to the bridge. She would think of something then.

In truth, she had been wanting to say something for a good long while, since the spring when they first came. She wanted to tell them “no” after the first night, after the baby inexorably wailed into the first sliver of morning. She never wanted children, never deign on a husband, never sought suitors or courted working men. She liked her solitude, the freedom afforded to her by the pale mark on her neck that demarcated her as a spellscarred. She disliked the revulsion she met in others, of course, but that would never change. She chose to see the brighter elements of her affliction. The silence afforded to her by the lack of a social life was one. The ability to move small things around without getting up from her chair was another.

But now, that had all change. Ilturn had come and had interjected her life into Pace’s. She was now the dutiful aunt, the pragmatic sister-in-law, the working professional supporting not just herself but three other lives. Pace resented that, resented the intrusion into her seclusion. Sometimes, at home, at the breakfast table, she just wanted to scream for acquiescence. She wanted to tell them all to be quiet and let her think.

She almost didn’t look up until the cart was almost onto of her. She squealed and threw herself down, catching only a brief glimpse of its rumbled passed. She wanted to yell, to bark harshly at it across the night, but it was already gone, turning down the lane and disappearing amongst a tangle of shops and homes. She stood and for a while stewed on the corner, feeling a ball of anger sit heavy on her chest like an iron weight. Her pale skin reddened and the mark along her neck seemed to itch like never before. She began to sink into ire when they crossed the bridge.

They were four of them from what she saw. Their footsteps made staccato melodies into the night. The Dragonborn passed the closest and the way his scales caught the light made him appear as dashing and gallant as a creature from a story. She felt her heart skip as he passed by and her breath hitched just a bit as he disappeared into the shadows with the other. She felt her lips and said “Oh my” into the night.

Then she started home again

And then?, Zazzafax said, but The Ugallu couldn’t reply, not thorough the raven feathers and the fluttering of crow wings. Zazzafax watched in the only silence they had ever known as the crow darted his little black beak into The Ugallu’s socket and pulled out his eye.

And that was the last story The Ugallu told, for a long, long time.

Evil raven by crunchwing

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Episode II
Episode 2

13-14 Leaffall

The PCs awake to find themselves in various states of confinement and abuse. The spry little gnome beauty of the group is able to successfully escape from her cell where she first meets a githzerai; Kadda, who was also tasked with finding the wayward youth named Hom, and was also met by foul play. On the verge of being slowly tortured, the shardic Erishti is able to avoid the onslaught by being saved by the courageous and mighty dragonborn of the group, who shakes of the tiefling’s charm spell and assaults his goons. The smooth-talking Jabal is also able to extricate himself from a tricky situation and join the rest of the group, who, weaponless get the drop on their captives, barely, and escape, new member Kadda in tow.
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The PCs hastily make their way back to Cpt. Tom, who offers them a job with the Neverember guard, which they accept and gladly hunker down for a nights rest in the barracks. The next morning they awake, and get put through a mostly law-filled training day, before they are pressed into serving on the Wall the same night; new recruits are a daily occurrence in Neverwinter, weak ones need not apply.
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On their way to the wall, a trifle matter in a square draws their attention, and trying to stop an apparent thief, the PCs are beset by another gang of ruffians, this time a handkerchief-ed one. Making quick work of these goons, the cavalier nevertheless arrives, a Cpt. Booker, a Mintarn squad who escorts the Sons of Alagondar’s away.
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The PCs head on to the Wall…

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Episode III
Episode 3

14 Leaffall

The PCs arrive at the Wall; the defense against the Chasm where abyssal monsters assault the ravaged city of Neverwinter. They meet a boy, Noah, who introduces them to a halfling Stitch. Stitch is their overseer who directs them to the Owlbear post, where Corporal Bloodblade is stationed. Stitch asks them to keep an eye on the forces their and report back what they see.
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The owlbear post is manned by Mintarn sellswords and Neverwinter natives. The two sides almost come to blows as they are repairing a section of the Wall- but the PCs intervene to stop the ruckus. Just in time as it turns out before far-realm creatures make their way to the Wall, and are defeated by the PCs….
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Who have only a few moments breather before they are ordered around the corner to another section of the Wall where an undead menace is hounding the defenders there and have captured a few. The PCs bravely battle them back and rescue the surrounding soldiers stationed their one of whom tells the PCs that one of them were killed and taken into a crypt at the far side of the graveyard that abuts the Wall. Fearless Erishti orders the crew onward and downward where the PCs face a nightmarish scene of ritualistic sacrifice lead by two loathsome and tough ghouls. The quick footed Kadda chases one down following the parties defeat the fiends, taking with them a strange obsidian skull that the ghouls called upon during their dark rites.
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The night on the Wall ends without further mayhem, allowing the PCs to report back to Stitch where they are greeted by Jasmine, a cleric of Selune who tells them that she received a vision of them, and pleads with them to rescue the Shards of Selune immediately. Reluctantly the PCs accept, but Stitch thankfully orders them to bed for the night before proceeding….

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Episode IV
Episode 4

15 Leaffall

The PCs head out in search of these fallen Shards at the behest of Jasmine. They first question around town, and in the process breakup a group of ruffians who are assaulting a melon thief; Maria Melons. Just as they are wrapping up the thieves for the stockades, Cpt. Booker and his crew arrive, who assail the PCs, but are defeated, leaving the PCs with a predicament … solved hopefully by Noah, their erstwhile guide from the day before.
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Meanwhile, Maria leads the PCs under the city, to her home by the Wall, where the PCs question their former defender mates about the falling Shard. The PCs, after much talking with the locales and these guards eventually find that the shard has fallen a block away from a particular section of the Wall. Going to retrieve it however, is no easy task as deranged humans and more Spell-plagued creatures assault them, in wave after wave. The PCs though, backed up by covering fire from the Wall defenders, retrieve the shard and escape with their lives….even as a spell-touched drake coughs up a nice reward….
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To Be Continued….

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Episode V
Episode 5

15-16 Leaffall

The PCs having obtained the first Shard of Selune head back to the barracks for a nights rest. But before they do so, a cloaked man stops Kadda and leads him away from the rest of the group…who proceed onto the next Shard without him…
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The PCs return to the barracks following a pit stop at Glem’s Supplies, a wealthy dealer whom they sell the Black Skull to along with the rest of their gear (as opposed to Hoggart’s Curious shop of wares), then proceed back to base camp where Joca tells them the rumor is a group in the Blacklake district have found some object that fell from the sky. But in need of rest, the adventurers go to ground for the night…
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And wake up refreshed and head out to the lake to find the next Shard. Questioning around the area, they avoid a crowd of Neverwinter rabble-rousers being accosted by Neverember’s guards, and instead head to the Leviathan on word from Noah, there possible ally, who requests of them a deed done to a dragonborne there, and also informs them that a man, Eralt Gavin, has been boasting about a falling star…
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The PCs arrive at the Leviathan and question the man, Eralt who tells them where to go, South by the Blacklake, and almost tasks them a mission, but Jabals smoothness rules out that possiblity…as well as the barmaid stops the group from attempting Noah’s request to the sleeping dragon..
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On the way to the Blacklake, the PCs are challenged to a duel by a pair of Elven sisters, Sylvara, and Ayala, and their crew, who are graciously defeated by the PCs and who then explain the nature of a drow encampment they are attempting to gain entry to located at the base of Castle Neverwinter. The ladies and their crew escort the PCs to the Blacklake, where a fierce battle is underway..
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The PCs make their way through the carnage, and get the drop on a group of thieving halflings who are in possession of the second Shard, and once bloodied gladly turn over. The PCs reconnect with the elven ladies, and are set to move out in search of the third shard….

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Episode VI
Episode 6

16 Leaffall

Having obtained the second shard, the PCs part ways with the elven sisters. The twins and their entourage head to Caste Neverwinter while the party makes its way back to the Protector’s Enclave. En route the party is stopped and warned of an object that fell beyond the BlackLake district and landed in the Eastern River District. Knowing this could only be the third shard, the PCs make haste in that direction instead…
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And reconnect with Kadda who appears inexplicably, flanked by two figures, a Minotaur named Mynos, and a living machine, Mach-5. Now seven members strong, the party heads to the River district…
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And are stopped on the edge of the section of the city by a crudely constructed wall guarded by a band of orcs. Though attempting to question them, the parties plan of diplomacy falls apart as their new machine companion breaks up a game of dice that they orcs were playing, initiating a scuffle. The PCs subdue and kill some of the orcs who give up after a few of their fellows fall before the parties blades, telling the PCs where they might go to seek out the falling object.
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The PCs make their way to a bar the orcs mentioned. Stepping foot inside they quickly find themselves in an orcish haven, and unable to find the information they need from the barkeep. Instead, Grog, a large orc challenges them to prove their worth for the information they seek. Despite impressing the large fellow, Tana especially distinguishing herself with darts against a half-orc lady with a winning smile, the PCs fail at impressing the chap. However they nonetheless learn the location of the falling shard- it appears to have crashed in floating earth mote to the south of the bar.
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The PCs are lead to the mote by one of the orcs and they make their way up inside the floating citadel, and drop in through the roof, into a nest of shades and undead shadows. The PCs are quickly overwhelmed by the undead things, but manage to fight them back, but not before a crazed werewolf appears and bites Torinn. But the PCs eventually prevail, obtain the shard and exit the citadel and the earth mote.
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They make their way then back to Lady Jasmine, and a nights duty on the Wall….
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Episode VII
Episode 7

16 Leaffall

The PCs make their way the Wall, their Minotaur companion deciding to abandon Neverwinter for warmer climes…
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While the six member strong group arrives at the Wall, and search for lady Jasmine, but to no avail. Sidney informs them that she is cloistering and not to be disturbed, but Lt. Mudbrack has a station for them anyway, a station close to the Temple of Oghma. The PCs head to the station, and are stopped by a cleric of Oghma, who needs Kadda’s assistance, and replaces him with Tavar, a deva scholar from the church of Oghma,. The party is told by the cleric to head to a section of the Wall where monsters from the Chasm were seen spilling out…
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And arrive in time to met a hulking undead brute and chasm horrors that are infected by madness. While fighting these forces, the party is also accosted by figure from an abandoned building who rains down wizardly incantations. But the PCs successfully defeat these plague-touched villans and follow after them, into a mysterious mist that the PCs used their skill to navigate through it oppressive influence…
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And arrive face-to-face with more plague-touched goons, but once again the PCs defeat the villainous monstrosities…
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Episode VIII
Episode 8

16 Leaffall

And manage to get to the crypts below the Temple of Oghma, picking up a familiar face along the way, Lance Carter, their no-jive-having mo’familiar Wall defender associate, and the PCs find they must enter the crypts first by walking across a coded floor, but not before getting blasted in the face a few times for reading ‘unhealthy’ things….
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And not before being riddled by a triple door puzzle and sustaining certain death at certain touches…
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Until finally entering a room filled with a gaggle of scruffy looking individuals whom the PCs take down, only to find out they are smugglers using the crypts as passways, yet found themselves lost, and offer up their crates of magical items and a short, slutty dwarf in bondage as a token of surrender: the PCs happily accept.
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The dwarf tells the PCs that he can get them to a man, Atlavast, the voice in Torinn’s head, and the apparent leader of the Temple…
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But along the way the PCs encounter another group, a mad gaggle of plague-touched led by a teleporting hopping controller, and assisted by a changeling crew, all of whom almost defeat the PCs…but after a tough fight the PCs rebound and rule the day…
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And finally meet Atlavast, an elderly gentleman with a penance for jokes…

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