Ascendancy

25/06/11
Sealing the Rift

Arcanum Side Trek
At some unknown point in time Ahava, Ka’da and Craig are hanging out in the offices of their adventuring company on the 3rd floor of the guildhouse when they hear a knock on the door.

A half dwarf/mul named Ban-Thul greets Ahava at the door and requests that they help him take in his friend Jacob, a githzerai monk. It appears that Jacob is a relative of a friend of his who has recently come to Tanar to seek his fortune. Ban-Thul is a sort of agent who organizes prospective members and also jobs for adventuring companies. However, Ban-Thul is currently preoccupied with an important matter out of the city and will not be able to help his friend. He has heard from Rakhan that this group of adventurers is very capable and will be able to take in Jacob. He offers information that a commotion is happening at the Arcanum in exchange for their help in taking in Jacob.

After a round of introductions, the group head down to the mess hall with Jacob in tow where they proceed to get pleasantly drunk at lunchtime. Before that, Jacob is shown around the guildhouse and is curious about the upper floors which are closed off due to containing magical rooms and items. Jacob is a skilled monk who has left the Silent Order due to his talkativeness, and proceeds to delight everyone with his acrobatic skill and ability to leap long distances from a standing position.

Finally, the group decide to leave the guildhouse in search of some adventure. Ka’da decides to stop by a seedy watering hole called the Rat’s Tail while the other three head over to University Row and the Arcanum. At the Arcanum, the group is barred from entering by a pair of dwarf doormen, which is unusual and there does seem to be a commotion somewhere on the grounds. Craig circles the tall walls and determines that the source of the commotion is somewhere on the eastern grounds of the Arcanum. Ka’da on the other hand manages to trade a single gold piece for a mysterious bottle from the half-orc barman at the Rat’s Tail but fails to obtain any other news. He makes his way to join the others at the Arcanum and manages to convince the dwarves that they were sent by the Adventurer’s Guild to deal with whatever was happening at the request of an Arcanum professor.

The doorman enters to confirm the story, but can not. However, an Arcanum member is on his way and wants to meet the group so they enter. Inside, they meet Seras, an eladrin arcanist who appears injured and has scorch marks on his clothes. He seems relieved that the party are offering to help and sends a dragonfly messenger to the Adventurer’s Guild to request further assistance if possible. He leads the group to the eastern lawns where an attempt to conduct stable teleportation has gone awry. The recent magical fluctuations had caused teleportation in particular to be problematic. They arrive at the courtyard of the Voyager Sanctum to find a strange rift floating in the air. Creatures are pouring out of the rent in the air, and other arcanists are trying to hold them off and clear a way to the rift so some of the senior arcanists can attempt to close it. The smoldering carcass of a vicious looking wurm lies in front of the rift were a large number of juvenile killik are feasting on it.

At Seras’ request, the party aids the mages by dispatching the killik while they try to get in position and start a ritual that could seal the rift. Their efforts go extremely well at first, with Jacob’s lightning quick punches and kicks and Ahava’s spinning blade downing several killik at one go. Ka’da and Craig opt to dispatch the killik from afar. However, soon even more killik pour through the rift along with larger adult sized killik. Ka’da succumbs to wounds from claw slashes and poison from the adult killik’s fangs and falls unconscious. As the arcanists start their ritual to seal the rift, it shifts and a pulsing red light starts emanating from it. Two flame hounds and a large magmaspike elemental burst forth from the rift and start attacking the mages trying to seal it. At this point, Jacob is also seriously injured and falls unconscious. Ahava manages to administer aid to Jacob to heal him and later also feeds Ka’da a healing potion to revive him. As the magmaspike elemental moves closer to him, Craig pushes a statue onto it which manages to damage and slow it down.

Ahava once again attempts to teleport during the battle and finds himself in a field of burning ground and flame trees populated with all manner of fire elementals. Luckily, he can see a strange rift in the air through which the familiar sight of the Arcanum courtyard can be seen. He rushes through the rift and reappears in the courtyard, but not before suffering burns to his feet and legs. He urges the mages to complete the sealing of the rift as even more elementals have been attracted to it and may emerge from it soon. Two of the mages simultaneously inscribe hasty seals on Ahava, and when Ahava teleports again he manages to do so without incident. This seems to surprise the mages and they redouble their efforts to seal the rift.

The party continue to attack the elementals and push more heavy statues onto the magmaspike elemental which slows and dazes it. Finally, the magma elemental is buried under rubble from the statues and as the party destroys its core it roars loudly before disintegrating into a pile of ash. Also, as Ka’da and Craig face the two flame hounds, they each manage to slice clean through the flame and destroy the hounds. The mages also manage to seal the rift once the threats from the elementals are dealt with, and thank the party for aiding them and preventing further incursions from the rift. It appears some other creatures have made their way to other parts of the Arcanum, but the other mages are able to deal with them accordingly. In the end, only one apprentice was killed and a handful of mages were seriously injured. The party are treated at the infirmary where they also manage to obtain some healing potions from the Arcanum’s stores. The arcanists at the Voyager Sanctum courtyard thank the party profusely and one of them, an enchanter, offers to enchant an item for each of them.

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11/06/11
Strange Places

After climbing down the tunnel in pursuit of the dwarf, Baelard, the party discovers a tunnel at the bottom of the well leading out of the town
TC stays behind above the well to clean up their mess and keep watch. He also sets the prisoners free.
Going down the tunnel in the dark, the party comes to a fork in the tunnel
Trying to track down the dwarf, they try to find his tracks but there seems to be many tracks, indicating the tunnel is well used
The party decide to take the path that leads straight ahead
At the end of a fork in the tunnel is a dark pool
Ka’da chucks a stone at the pool, but the stone strangely floats momentarily before sinking into the pool

Meanwhile…
Chip and Darrak have just completed a job for the Consortium with Doric.
Chip saved Doric’s hide and in thanks, is gifted a Thunderblast Hammer
Returning to a Consortium safehouse, Doric offers to allow Chip and Darrak use of their teleportation device to return to Tanar or their friends.
Darrak and Chip decide to pop in on their friends and utilize the teleporter to meet them.
Inexplicably, Chip instead appears alone in a strange clearing in a forest. He walks through the forest and tries to find his way to civilization. However, he notices a strangeness in his surroundings as the trees and climate seem to change as he walks. The sounds of wildlife also seem to change along with the forest.
Finally, he encounters a large, tall humanoid dressed in skins and wielding a large hunting knife chasing after a wild boar. The stranger has a green glow around him and it also fills his eyes. Long antlers sprout out of his forehead and his hair is unkempt. The man tells Chip that he is far from home and should not be in this forest. He explains that he is participating in a Wild Hunt, but he offers to show Chip a way home. He pushes Chip along as they walk through the underbrush they suddenly emerge on top of a hill on an island.
The island appears pretty small and it seems there are no other landmasses in sight around it.
The green man leads Chip to a small cabin on the hill and calls out for something or someone named Burn.
An eladrin appears, and he also seems to exude a bluish aura and a blue glow in his eyes. This is presumably Burn. He invites them into his cabin, which Chip notices is larger on the inside that on the outside. It is filled with maps, atlases, globes, compasses, nautical paraphernalia, wheels and various other strange objects. Burn converses briefly with the green man, who then nods to Chip and leaves him in the care of Burn.
Burn speaks to Chip and offers to send him where he intended to go. Chip offers up a token related to Craig and requests to be sent to where his friend is. He clears up some space near his crowded desk and draws an arcane circle there. As Burn mutters while consulting some charts, Chip catches mentions of Domains, Paths and the Gathering. However, before he can question Burn, Burn completes the circle and sends Chip on his way with a friendly wave.
It appears Burn may have miscalculated, as Chip rematerializes 3 feet above Craig, and they both fall into a tangled heap.

Darrak’s whereabouts however, are still unknown…

Back in the tunnels…
A blue slime emerges from the pool and attacks the party
Chip and Craig deem that Ka’da, Ahava and Darhe’el have the situation in hand, and scamper off to find an exit.
The fight goes well at first, but the slime starts growing strange appendages which burst and splash acid. The fight drags on and Ahava is knocked unconscious when one of the strange appendages burst.
Chip and Craig go down the other fork and come to a dead end. There appears to be a trap door above the end of the tunnel. They hear some sounds that could indicate the presence of people above the trap door and try to break through it. As they break through the door, suddenly tremors are felt in the tunnels.
Darhe’el and Ka’da call out for assistance with dispatching the slime and resuscitating Ahava.
Craig and Chip momentarily abandon the trap door exit and rush to help their comrades.

After successfully liquidating the slime, and Chip and Craig stand guard while the others revive Ahava and take a short rest.
Increasingly stronger tremors are felt in the tunnels and the group decides it is a good time to get out of the tunnels.
However, as they head towards the trap door another strong tremor is felt and the tunnel starts collapsing around them. The party are unfortunate and sustain some damage as they get caught under some earth and rocks and have to dig themselves out.

Finally reaching the trap door, they find that it has fallen shut again. Chip and Craig push through the door and as they emerge, they are surprised and consumed by manticores.
Actually they are attacked by a group of drow and duergar. The party has emerged into a large space, which is filled with various boxes and shelves. Baelard is also seen cowering behind some chests.
A fight ensues as Baelard tells what appear to be other members of the Gray Cartel that this group had attacked them and are opposing the Cartel.
Ahava attempts to use a shadow step to teleport behind one of the duergar but is instead transported to a strange suffocating space filled with shadows.
Ahava attempts to call up some light, and a silvery glow suffuses him and his immediate surroundings. He also suddenly feels no need to breathe, and a female figure materialises in front of him.
The figure appears to be Alia, the object of his self imposed quest. She speaks to him and tells him this is not a place where he belongs. Ahava’s suspicions about her nature are confirmed as her form changes into that of a regal female deva, with a silvery glow in her eyes. She states that she still has plans for Ahava and places her hand on the blade of his sword. The sword starts to glow and a rune which denotes “Enemy” is now inscribed along its blade. “Your blade will guide you to where you are supposed to be” she says, and Ahava finds himself pulled out of the shadowy realm and back into the fray.
The fight continues until another tremor interrupts it and suddenly a horde of dog-sized creatures start swarming into the room from one of the other tunnels.
One of the duergar shouts out that the earthquakes must have disturbed a nest of killik in one of the tunnels. Larger sized killik also start to appear and charge into the room. The whole swarm of killik appear very agitated and start to attack everything around them in a frenzy.
The Gray Cartel members disengage from the fight and attempt to retreat through one of the other tunnels, and the party follow suit.

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21/05/11
More troubles in Lasette

- Ahava, Darhe’el and Ka’da have subdued Grimas and his band of ruffians at their hideout.
- They glean some information from Grimas that the seal has been passed off to the Twins, two drow who are connected to the Gray Cartel.
- It seems the Gray Cartel appear to have requested Grimas, through the Twins, harass Gelros and prevent him from investigating the ruins of the Da’gareth Estate.
- As they continue to question Grimas about the whereabouts of the seal, Ahava hears the constabulary arriving and the group makes a quiet exit. Darhe’el “acquires” the tiefling’s Cloak of Lurking.
- The trio return to the Singing Canary Inn and meet up with Gelros who has contacted someone at House Khajida about reclaiming the seal and possibly getting a replacement so he can continue with his expedition
- Back in Tanar, Craig and TC have just returned from a small escort job and head to the Guild Hall to catch up with local news
- They find Rodin there with a promise of a quick job delivering a package to Lasette and aiding their friends there
- TC also proceeds to speak to Kors and his group, who antagonises him until he leaves
- Craig goes to speak with Soira to attempt to contact Darhe’el with the Contact Slate. However, Soira claims that the magical frequencies are slightly out of sync and probably needs to be retuned. TC stumbles in later and Soira gets him to test out an upgrade to his optics
- Returning to Rodin for further instruction, they see him arguing with Selon who states that accurate teleportation would be nearly impossible at this time due to some magical disturbances
- Rodin then tells the duo collect the package at the train station and take a train to Lasette
- The whole group meets up at the Boar’s Head Tavern, where they pass over the new seal and some books to Gelros
- Gelros recounts his research in the meantime, which told him that the Da’gareth family was a vassal family to the Khajida House and was involved in the Altus war.
- Ahava, Darhe’el and Ka’da also did some research around town but could not find the twins. They did hear rumours that the Gray Cartel ran some illegal mines surrounding Lasette
- After sharing all this information, Gelros heads off to organise supplies and plan their trip to the ruins. In the meantime, the five adventurers do some more investigation into the whereabouts of the twins and the stolen seal.
- The party talks to the goliath bouncers at the Boar’s Head, its tavernkeeper and some of the constables. In the course of their enquiries, they discover that Grimas and his group have escaped from the local jail and that the twins can usually be found near the abandoned stables on the eastern side of town.
- The party stakes out the stables and notice suspicious figures skulking around. Ahava recognises Grimas and his gang along with two drow figures entering the abandoned stables.
- The party then rushes the stable and confront Grimas and his rag tag band. The tiefling, Dajani, attempts to reclaim his cloak, which leads to a short scuffle with Darhe’el.
- Grimas, and his half-orc and dwarf friends attack the party to chase them off. The Twins are more inclined to retreat and attempt to pull their group out of the fray.
- However, the party manages to knock out the half-orc, Goron. Baelard the dwarf attempts to drag his friend to safety. One of the twins pulls off some planks covering an old well in the corner of the stables, which seems to be their escape route. The ruffians attempt to escape while the twins cover them, but the party manage to subdue all of them with the exception of the dwarf who scampers down the well.
- Having the twins and Grimas’ remaining group captured, the party try to extract more information out of them. The twins are reticent and claim the Gray Cartel will come to deal with the party. Grimas and his friends however are severely disheartened and promise not to interfere anymore. They still claim not to know what the Gray Cartel are up to.
- Frustrated, the party with the exception of TC decide to slit the throats of the twins in cold blood as Grimas’ group watch in horror, and chase the dwarf down the well. As TC leaves to follow the party down the well, he cuts the bonds of Grimas, Dajani and Goron and allows them to go free.
- Down the well, our heroes discover that there is a tunnel heading in a direction away from Lasette.

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07/05/11
Tromping through the streets of Lasette

Adventure notes:
- Darhe’el, Ka’da and Ahava drinking at the mess hall at the guild
- Rodin announces he has a simple job up north
- A halfling rogue, Kors, makes his obnoxious appearance at the mess hall. Though highly skilled, he is loud, brash, arrogant and annoying. Darhe’el throws a drink at him but misses, causing him to surreptitously threaten Darhe’el. Seems Kors just completed a major job, and will be in town for a few days.
- Feeling put off by this annoying little prick, the party decides to take up Rodin’s offer and get out of town for a little while.
- Rodin explains that he has a friend, Gelros Erdav, who is an archaeologist that wants to do a little pilot survey of the ruins of an estate up north near the town of Lasette. Gelros is sponsored by House Khajida, who have connections to the ruined estate, and if the results of the survey are promising, he may mount a larger expedition to explore the ruins. Gelros has already left the day before to procure some lodgings and supplies at Lasette, and so Rodin will send him a note to meet the party at the Boar’s Head tavern.
- The party takes a train to Lasette and head to the tavern where they are supposed to meet Gelros. On the way they meet a street urchin, and a pair of strange goliath bouncers.
- The tavern keeper informs the group that Gelros has already left with another group. He was also quite unsubtle about his sponsorship by a noble house. After questioning the goliath bouncer, it seems he has been misled by a suspicious group of local ruffians led by a character named Grimmas.
- The party head to the market square to look for Gelros, and after questioning some of the traders there they head to a secluded alley on the west end of the market square.
- The party notice Grimmas and his gang threatening Gelros in the alley, and try to interrupt the proceedings. However, Grimmas and his group manage to obtain the House Khajida seal of commission from Gelros and make a run for it.
- The party gives chase through the streets of Lasette and cause a huge commotion, but unfortunately Grimmas’ gang’s better knowledge of the local streets allow them to evade capture.
- Disheartened, the party explains the situation to Gelros and decide to safely convey him to his lodgings and resume their search for the seal later. On the way, they are stopped by some local constables for questioning about the commotion earlier. After explaining the situation to them, the party manage to overhear the constables’ plan to check the old tannery for Grimmas and decide to pre-empt them.
- Arriving at the old tannery, the party encounter Grimmas’ gang and manage to subdue them. However, they have already passed off the seal to some other companions and the party are unable to recover it at this time.

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03/05/11
Strange Rumblings

Strange rumblings have been felt in the surrounding regions. The area around Daru has historically been seismically stable, but a series of earthquakes have recently occured there. The latest incident happened close to the town of Taycha. Other earthquakes have happened around the northern tip of the continent, disturbing an ancient tower.

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What the hell?

It has been weeks since the incident at Lake Yelta, and Q has agreed to sponsor the formation of a new Adventuring Company for the ragtag group of adventurers as reward for the (more-or-less) successful mission at Yelta. The weeks passed fairly uneventfully as the Company settled into their new home, performing odd jobs for the Guild and getting accustomed to working with each other.

During these weeks of mundane routine, the adventurers managed to establish valuable contacts and focus on the reasons that brought them to Tanar in the first place. Darhe’el is constantly mindful that the assassin from Th’mall may arrive in Tanar at any moment, though he takes comfort in the fact that a cross-continental trek may deter or at least slow the psionic hunter down.

Fearing that this confrontation of wills is inevitable, Darhe’el had been keeping an eye out for means to swing the odds in his favor. He had been intrigued when it was posited that the faulty golems were caused by unstable mana oil from Lake Yelta. He realized that it might be possible to manipulate the oil to boost his psionic abilities, and was only too happy to head there to investigate. With some of the mana oil obtained at Yelta in his possession, Darhe’el had consulted with Q to see if she could research the uses of the mana oil beyond controlling constructs. Her expertise did not cover applications in psionics, but she did agree to introduce Darhe’el to a member of the Arcanum to further his research in this unstable substance.

An intriguing incident that arose during the mission at Yelta was the appearance of the Slyblades. Things got complicated when the Wilden Mayana accused Darhe’el of deserting his old teammate to be murdered by the assassin. Since the only people who knew about that was his (presumably) dead teammate and the assassin, Darhe’el was stunned by the accusation, and his only response was a barely-articulate “What the hell?” He got another shock later when the Slyblade team leader Kashik appeared to recognize him as well.

In the weeks since the mission, Darhe’el has attempted to discover more about the Slyblades and their connection to his home city of Th’mall. However, his lack of contacts in Tanar has been a hindrance, and his investigations have been unproductive. Faced with another source of potential danger from his past, Darhe’el now has to decide whether to ask for Cale Dar-Tanar‘s help in discovering more about these mysterious Slyblades. Recruiting Cale into this task would mean having to reveal his personal history and motivations to Cale and the Guild, and Darhe’el feels that now might not be the right time to do so…

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Meta Post 01

Ok we will be taking a break from DnD for about 2 weeks. After that we will begin our next adventure in the campaign. For that, everyone should go up to level 4, and should have some backstory up on here too. I’m considering splitting the party and have two DnD groups, possibly with someone else DMing. Please let me know if you are interested in something like this.

I will be sending messages to expand the backstory and ask what your characters are doing in the meantime. If you want to, you can update the adventure log if you want your side quests to be available to all. Also, huge thanks to Jin Wei and Steven for the entertaining updates to the adventure log.

EDIT:
Ok, I’ve sent everyone a little something. There are some possible hooks there for your character’s storyline going forward. Please don’t hesitate to discuss with me, so we can establish what happens in this 1 month period between sessions, when you miraculously go up to level 4.

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12/04/11
Constructicons! Merge to form DEVASTATOR!

The surviving Slyblades (Fulgrim, Mayan and Siran) have been bound together and are being interrogated by the party. Ka’da and TC opt for the physical approach, but their weak attempts are laughed off by Fulgrim. Darhe’el tries to be more diplomatic about it, but Mayan spits at his feet, accusing him of betraying his comrades at Th’mall. Finally, Dorin decides to use his Consortium employee status to work out a deal with the Slyblades. In exchange for their freedom, the Slyblades will escort the party to the mana oil refinery and get them an audience with Boss Orim.

The party are just about to reach the refinery when they spot Siran, who had been scouting ahead, sprinting back to them. In a hiliariously high-pitched voice, he reports that Fara and Arda are in a tense standoff with Boss Orim and his right-hand man Kashik. Unable to control their thirst for revenge on Fara, Doric and Dorin rush off to join in the confrontation. Fulgrim orders Mayan to accompany them while the rest of the party sneaks around to assess the situation.

Arriving at the clearing, the party hears Arda pleading for both sides to remain calm. At this point, Doric and Dorin burst through the crowd and demand that Boss Orim allow them to deal with Fara. Frustrated, Fara yells, “To hell with you all! I’m not waiting around for your permission!” She pulls out a scroll and quickly scribes a few sigils, causing constructs to start pulling themselves out of the ground around the Consortium forces. Panicking, Darhe’el calls for Soira on his iStone. In his haste, he messes up and causes the iStone to emit a high-pitched wailing noise, and then the entire crowd hears Soira’s voice over the loudspeaker, “Hello? What’s going on?”.

Noticing the party now, Fara shouts out, “You lot again!? And you’re working for Soira! MGLARGH I hate her so much!”. The constructs burst into action, attacking the Consortium. Soira frantically asks Darhe’el to try and find a peaceful solution, as the Iron Council is not an evil organisation. Seeing that Arda is still shouting for everyone to calm down, the party decides that taking Fara out might defuse the situation.
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Ahava charges in, his blade flashing, with TC close behind in an overclocked rage. They slam into Fara, leaving her open for Ka’da to execute a devasting backstab. Overwhelmed, Fara falls unconscious, but this doesn’t halt her constructs, which continue to press the Consortium troops.

The party rush to help, TC smashing constructs left and right, Ahava moving so fast he almost appears to be teleporting around the battlefield. Though his fear powers are useless against constructs, Darhe’el still holds his own with his mighty spear, while Ka’da and Darrak let loose with lightning blasts and divine bolts. Broken constructs litter the ground, and it seems like the battle is about to be won, when one of the constructs starts to summon the broken parts to itself. The party look on in morbid fascination as the constructs begins to assimilate the spare parts, forming a grotesque chimaera of scorpion stingers, crab claws, dragon fangs and more.
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Focusing their attention on the new Chimaera engine, the party manage to dismember it in a matter of seconds. To their dismay, it simply starts drawing in more parts, reforming into an even bigger mass. To make things worse, it has gained the Gemini engine’s ability to clone itself. As if that wasn’t enough, Arda has started to emit a crazy lightshow from his body, floating into the air and intoning, “Primus comes.”

Marshalling their strength, the party methodically subdue the Chimaera constructs, and Darrak scatters their logic cubes as they are brought down to prevent them rebuilding. As the last one finally falls, a teleportation circle appears around Arda and out step a group of ancient warforged. Arda announces them as the Iron Council and their leader Primus. Kashik and Darhe’el sense that Primus is a powerful psionic, something unheard of amongst warforged. Awed, Kashik orders the Consortium troops to stand down. Approaching, Primus apologises for Fara’s actions and begins to lay out the Iron Council’s intents. He states that research into the anomalous mana oil at the refinery is important for their goals, and posits that there might also be great profit involved for the Consortium. As the Primus and Kashik sit down to work on the details of an accord, the party packs up and heads back to Tanar, but not before saying farewell to their new comrades, Doric and Dorin, and the Slyblade mercenaries.

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09/04/11
I cast Magic Missile at the darkness

Limping along on their damaged river skimmers, the party are halfway to Lake Yelta when they receive an urgent message from Soira, ’I’ve managed to track the arcane signals from the constructs you fought in Tanar. It should lead you to Fara and Dorin. They were seen in the village Selis, on the far side of Lake Yelta.’ Doric overhears their conversation and demands that the party go after his brother immediately, even though it means adding days to their journey. Realising that they would need his help if they were to successfully infiltrate the Consortium refinery, the party reluctantly acquiesce to his request. On the journey, Doric reveals that a bullywug named Orum Geko is in charge of the Consortium operations at Lake Yelta, and that he has hired a reknown and ruthless mercenary group called the Slyblades to deter interference. He also comments that the Slyblades have a psion with them who makes him uncomfortable and seems to cause increased bouts of forgetfulness if prolonged contact is maintained with him.

In Selis, the party asks the local dragonborn blacksmith if he has seen Fara and Dorin. The blacksmith directs the party to the lone tavern in Selis, where the party meet an elf named Ka’da who had been looking for employment with the Consortium. After some persuasion, he decides that the party is much more fun and tags along with them instead. They also learn from the tavernkeeper, an abnormally short old dwarf lady, that Fara maintains a residence on the outskirts of the village.

At Fara’s home and workshop, Darrak decides to act like everything is normal and goes up to knock on the door, but no one answers. Choosing a more blunt approach, Chip and C1 hurl themselves at the door and windows, only to be thrown back by an unknown force. Ka’da mutters amusedly to himself, “Amateurs..”, as he uncoils a grappling line and proceeds to clamber onto the roof, followed closely by Craig. Together they manage to pry away some roofing tiles, exposing a way in. Luckily for them, the forcefield seems to only extend to the windows and doors. Meanwhile, the other party members, with Doric’s help and knowledge, have managed to perform an arcane ritual that disables the forcefield around the entrances.

Regrouping in the living room, the party start to search the interior of the house. It isn’t long before they find Dorin tied up in the workshop/bedroom. “Brother!”, Doric rushes over to check that Dorin is alright. In his haste, he manages to trigger an alarm of sorts. Lights flash, whirring and clanking can be heard from outside. Rushing to the windows, the party is dismayed to discover a group of Fara’s constructs emerging from the bushes and converging on the house. They quickly get into a defensive position and wait for the constructs to enter.
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All is quiet for a moment, then a canine construct bursts through the window, spraying glass everywhere. Unfazed, the party swarms the intruder, shattering it in a flurry of blows. But before they have time to catch their breath, the construct’s remains explode in a brilliant flash, flinging them back and riddling them with red-hot metal shards. It appears Fara has engineered a nasty surprise into this new batch of constructs.

More wolves bust down the door, mechanical teeth gnashing, while some scorpion constructs crawl in through the windows to surround the party. The fighting gets intense, as some of the members nearly succumb to the scorpion venom, and the suicide bomber tactics are frighteningly effective. When the last construct blows up, they finally breathe a sigh of relief. A grateful Dorin informs them that while being captive, he overheard Fara conspiring with a mysterious warforged called Arda. It appears they have plans to take secure a supply of the unique mana oil from Lake Yelta with the aid of an organization called the Iron Council. Fara, ever the reckless one, favors a direct approach to topple the Consortium leadership and wrest control of the refinery, stating that the Council would surely support them. Arda appears more cautious and requests Fara allow him to negotiate with the Consortium on behalf of the Iron Council. Not wanting to miss out on the action, the party decides to march double-time to the refinery.

It is nearly midnight before the party finally stops to set up camp in a forest clearing. Darrak and TC take the first watch while the rest retire to their bedrolls. Hours pass uneventfully, until TC spots a suspicious rustling in the trees with his machine senses. He hurls a mug at the tree to investigate, and a surprised possum drops out. Just before he can turn around to head back to the campfire, he is struck in the face by a thrown axe. Shouting the alarm, he quickly rouses the rest of the party.

Finding themselves under attack by shadowy assailants, the party stumble around in confusion, unable to discern a clear target. Craig is the first to notice one of the attackers hiding in the trees, and he and Ka’da rush over to engage. They quickly cut down the target, but are shocked when the corpse disappears into thin air and they find themselves immobilised by a barrage of poisonous shurikens. On the other side of the clearing, a well-built half-orc dressed in dark leather has grabbed TC with an exotic curved axe and is using him as shield against attacks. Meanwhile, a hidden archer continues to pepper the party with arrows. Doric recognises the work of the Slyblades, the mercenary group he mentioned before, and shouts desperately at them to stand down, but he is ignored. It takes awhile, but the party are finally able to locate their sneaky opponents and subdue them.

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Just when they think they are safe, Ahava suddenly doubles over in pain. On their guard again, the party casts around, searching the trees for more enemies, when Craig falls to one knee, grasping frantically at his throat. In moments, he falls to the ground unconscious, but not before they notice something odd about his shadow. Enraged, TC thrusts at Craig’s shadow, but only manages to plant his sword into the earth. In an uncharacteristic burst of insight, Chip stamps out their campfire, reasoning that shadows can’t exist without a light. He fails to consider the light of the moon and stars, and is the next to come under attack. This time, the party can clearly see tendrils of shadow reaching up to his throat. Ka’da tries to ward away the shadows with a hastily lit torch, to no avail, while the rest rack their brains trying to figure out how to deal with the mysterious enemy. Finally, Ahava realises that they are dealing with a shadow stalker, a strange creature who attaches itself to a victim’s shadow but cannot stand physical pain. He struggles to his feet and sweeps his falchion at Chip, injuring him, but also causing the shadow creature to burst out and manifest itself. With their target finally out in the open, the party let loose a cascade of blows, quickly causing it to de-corporealise.

The party have now managed to subdue and capture all their shifty assailants. They are tied up and a watch is set over them to prevent any more nasty surprises.

The rest of the night passes uneventfully, and the party breaks camp at dawn, continuing to press on towards the refinery at Lake Yelta.

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26/03/11
Parley means bargain

We rejoin our adventurers, who have managed to learn that the mysterious redhead is a black market artificer named Fara Teslov. It emerges that she was trying to teach Timaran the Tinker a lesson about selling her defective parts, but her plan went better than expected, causing the assembler to go haywire. She then storms out in a huff while the party learns the identity of Tim’s supplier: A Consortium dwarf named Dorin.

Deciding to drag Tim back to the guild to answer personally to Soira, the party is surprised to find Fara just outside the warehouse, in the midst of a heated discussion with none other than Dorin himself. Hauling Tim along, C1 rushes forward to try and apprehend Fara and Dorin as well. Reacting with the reflexes of a dolphin, Fara summons her Cancer, Gemini, Taurus and Sagittarius Engines to defend herself. The Cancer Engine grabs Dorin and beats a hasty retreat, with Fara following close behind. It seems Fara is after the source of the unique logic cubes. Meanwhile, the other constructs start to attack the party. Though the party manages to deal with them without too much trouble, Fara and Dorin are long gone by the time the dust settles.

Back at the guild, Soira has a few harsh words for Tim, and even more harsh words when she learns of Fara’s involvement. Turns out she and Fara used to be rivals back when they were trainee artificers, and there is no love lost between them. It also comes to light that both Fara and Soira have been expelled from the Guild of Artificers. Fara for her research and interest in creating sentient constructs such as the warforged, and Soira for just being plain crazy. Setting that aside, she reveals that her informants have discovered a secret Consortium mana oil refinery in Lake Yelta. This facility is the source of the corrupted mana oil used in the defective logic circuits, and she “requests” that the party go investigate. The Consortium seems to be reluctant to have people know about this refinery for fear of interference from the larger trade guilds. In the meantime, Soira will continue to analyse the logic circuits and try to track down Fara. Cale, the guild’s contact with the Right People, offers to find out more about the Consortium and their goals.

The next day, the party meets Tim down at the docks. Seems Soira has bullied him into helping them out on their assignment. Piloting a rented river skimmer, Tim takes them upstream towards Lake Yelta. Not too far out of town, two more river skimmers catch up to them and start to attack. At the helm of one the skimmers is a dwarf, who shouts at the party “Ye dogs! Giv mae back mae brother!” Quick-thinking Darhe’el intuits that this must be Dorin’s brother, who mistakenly believes that the party is responsible for his kidnapping. He immediately cries for parley.

Not knowing the meaning of parley, Ahava makes a mighty leap towards one of the river skimmers. Managing to clamber on, he attacks all the occupants at once, his blade flashing with incredible alacrity. Not wanting to be outdone, Chip shouts for C1 to hurl him at the other skimmer, and Craig makes an athletic leap of his own. Craig pulls one of the soldiers off the skimmer while Chip starts hewing with his battleaxe (1 d12 + 10 ). The remaining occupants of Tim’s skimmer make use of force lances to provide covering fire.

In a matter of moments, the two pursuing skimmers have caught up to Tim’s cheap rental and start to ram it, causing major damage to the engines, setting the deck on fire and knocking everyone off their feet. The dwarf heaves himself aboard and grabs Darhe’el, “Where’s Dorin, lizardface!?”. With the aid of his empathic powers, Darhe’el manages to convince the dwarf of the truth: Fara was the one who kidnapped Dorin. “What ye say! Stop the attack ye lot, these fools dinnae ’ave me brother!”

Indifferent to his orders, one of the soldiers bellows, “They’re in Consortium territory now! Trespassers must be shot until dead! And then we shoot them again because shooting stuff is fun!” With swinging swords and arcing axes, the party fight for their lives, assisted by the dwarf, who has decided to aid the ones who might have information on Dorin. When Darhe’el comes under attack from one the soldiers, Ahava is mysteriously teleported to his side to help defend him. “What’s going on here?? You did this with your crazy psionic powers didn’t you?”. Darhe’el vehemently denies responsibility, and the soldiers are dispatched before anyone can figure out the strange phenomenon.

With the danger passed, Dorin’s brother introduces himself as Doric, and agrees to help the party investigate the Consortium facility in exchange for their assistance in tracking down his brother. They commandeer the Consortium skimmers and continue upriver, while Tim mutters darkly about paying for the damage to the rental.

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