Megan’s Scenario Recap (Pcon 43)

1. Quest for… Sand?

My first run was with a merry band of adventurers who were dutifully tasked by Delilah Zyland, the Great Architect of Whiggam’s daughter, and child prodigy protege, to gather sand from Mesareff. Why couldn’t the intrepid adventurers gather sand from Whiggam’s own desert? Well, the sand isn’t as good, you see. (According to Delilah…hmm…..)

They rented a boat and a week into their two-week trip were faced with two sharks!! One drunken crew member had fallen overboard and been bitten by piranhas (conveniently) and the blood in the water attracted the sharks. Despite the danger, Kilgana tied a rope to her waist and DOVE INTO THE WATER to not only save the poor sailor but also to assist in the capture of the sharks! Hadrian was a pro at reeling people in and manning the ropes while Aerlon Whiteeyes cast spells at the sharks until they froze in fascination, unable to respond as giant nets (cleverly created from sewing smaller nets together) were wrapped around them. Hadrian got a little stuck but eventually all of the party members were safely on board the ship again.

Unable to persuade the previous captain to take them on again, they next traveled on the Merry Weather, helmed by Captain Bell. Aerlon and Kilgana met up with Captain Bell’s contact, Mahiba Orete, the ritual advisor to Caliph Warnos of Mesareff, and obtained an invitation to speak with the Caliph. The others, Hadrian, Arlhak and Negon went into the desert and collected a cartload of sand. They faced a Dust Devil and defeated it!! … only then realizing they should have tried to capture it. At the fancy dinner in the palace, the Caliph offered them sand (for archaeological purposes of course) in exchange for solving the mystery of why there were so many Dust Devils around. Indeed, the Caliph had two golden carriages full of sand delivered to the Merry Weather to hold up his end of the bargain.

The following day the entire party traversed into the desert where they faced and captured a Dust Devil, probing its mind to find out exactly why they were bothering the people of Mesareff. If only the people would stop entering their home, the ruins, they would stop. They located the ruins and reported back to the Caliph that he should very much definitely stay away from that one specific area. Duty discharged, they left Mesareff with a variety of desert creatures (including a hunting cat) to accompany their Dust Devil.

2. Interviews for Assistant Groundskeeper

Rian Ticklefoot, halfling bard, approached the gathered party and asked for assistance in two things. Rian wanted to hire an assistant Groundskeeper for Bernie, the current curmudgeon groundskeeper, and this is all the party would get to. They traveled to the Menagerie, their trip only interrupted by a nighttime encounter with some saboteurs. Kuu did a great job of first scaring them then convincing them he was one of them. Diegona received quite a scare herself, and Lessadryn proved she was the fastest of them all.

In the morning they interviewed the potential candidates for the position. Barry especially had challenging hurdles for the applicants to get through, including forcing one to face her legit manifested fears and walk through fire. Tenacity herself also engineered a difficult trial involving spiderwebs and magical darkness. In the end, the position was offered to Tori the Druid, unbeknownst to most as one of the saboteurs from the previous evening.

At that point the heroes convinced Rian to give them a tour of the Menagerie. After seeing the construction projects, a very passionate argument began over whether the animals should be left alone, or if they should be freed. Two characters, Barry and Tenacity, were debating fiercely for a significant length of time, until in a symbolic gesture he threw away the manacles (of animal slavery) and walked away. A spell was cast opening a way out from inside the Aviary, and the wyverns were released.  Barry would then use his last spells of the day to pick up Tenacity and fly her away to safety when discovery and jail were imminent. It was an emotional end for many, and the culmination of long conversations on environmental conservation, imprisonment, duty to one’s god, and the morality of zoos.

3. Wood Acquisition and Small Town Politics

For my third run, three clerics, a sorcerer, a bard and a barba–fighter? Ok, and a fighter, get asked by Delilah to go to Orviska to get Retraining Heartwood which would act as a grounding material for the lightning mess the Lightning Squirrels (from Alex’s run) are causing in the Menagerie. Having a sailor amongst them comes in handy as they contract Captain Bell’s boat, the Merry Weather again, to sail them there. Cpt. Bell was a great at morale, not so much at sailing, but they still managed to get there in the correct amount of time thanks to the crew.

Once there the players had to contend with an attempted mutiny (which failed – thanks to Shofar’s quick thinking and his tigers) as well as navigate the politics of a small port town named Kingsmouth. Vetran danced (or tried to communicate?) with a Carnivorous Plant which they ended up bagging for the Menagerie, and Nash considered taking over as Captain of the Merry Weather. Phynian arranged to offer protection for the nervous laborers who were going to harvest the Retraining Heartwood. The situation got sticky – and the RP amazing – when their search for Margie Harper led them to her cousin’s house, the head honcho they’d made the trade agreement with. Lead by Ripper’s nose, they found the missing woman. Adrie was especially concerned with helping her recover and get back on her feet, and the others ‘disposed’ of the cousin. Margie Harper has since dedicated herself to Aru and is at the Aru Worship Center every day helping to make and serve food to the needy citizens of Kingsmouth.

The wood collection was successful from then on, and Vetran was even able to find the sentient Everburning Bush. The party bargained with it for a clipping which could be planted and used to warm up areas within the Menagerie which had to be warm for creatures, which included Nash reading and discussing things with it every evening until they departed. Ripper befriended a young half-orc orphan named Benji, promising to feed and cloth him as well as teach him how to use all kinds of weaponry. Effectively adopting him from Kingsmouth and taking him home to Hunters Hall. Yay fatherhood!

4. Mining, or The Evacuation of Tenton

Delilah was at it again, sending off a party of Heroes to Tenton, the volcanic island, for Obsidian and Adamantine.  The heroes took a river boat north to the coast, where their captain was so drunk they each got a chance to steer the boat, including Uber the mountain dwarf while Astri kept a weather eye out for obstacles in the water. They declined any stops along the way, and when they reached the coast chartered passage again with Captain Bell (who was stricter and more of a hard-ass this trip). On the way to Tenton they came across a pod of whales. Kilgana was able to speak with them, and they warned her of the ‘Noisy’ water around Tenton. The Heroes surmised that they only had mere days before the volcano would explode!!

Aerlon Whiteeyes sent off a message back to Bernie at Hunter’s Hall to alert everyone that ships were needed to transport evacuees off Tenton, and Kilgana went to the Island of Willow to negotiate with them for more ships and a place to bring the evacuees. Tenton is known as the place for outcasts of society, as well as the least human of all the races. While some of the party went into town to figure out the best way to mine for the needed materials, Lusine and Bruenor stayed behind to watch the boat. They became entangled in an altercation with the half-orc dock master who thought they had pushed his son off the dock (when in truth they had rescued him!). The dock master and a small mob boarded Captain Bell’s ship while the two rangers hid in the storage berth. While Bruoner was seen and caught – they completely failed to recognize him with dirt and soot covering his face (hastily applied as an attempt to disguise himself). Congratulating him on being a stowaway, they left the ship and the two rangers uninjured.

Meanwhile Gizma, Uber, Astri, SunSheen and Aerlon went to visit Dagney the blacksmith who lived up the (volcanic) mountain from town. Dagney turned out to be a former Daglir, and loaned them a diamond pickaxe though she was unable to assist them officially with the challenge. The heroes reunited with Kilgana who finally arrived, and half the party started evacuating the town while Sunsheen, Lusine and Gizma went up to the mountain to mine as much of the Adamantine and Obsidian as they could. Kilgana had been able to convince a number of vessels to come to Tenton’s aid (despite it being a rather racist island) and even the animals of Tenton were able to make it off onto rafts and the available ships before lava hit town. Even Daryell was found unconscious under a door in time to save him and reunite him with his lover James, the son of Willow’s Chancellor. The people of Tenton were temporarily housed by Willow, but were then on their way to Whiggam to decide what to do with their lives going forward.

This run had a lot of good inter-party conversations about what to do with the evacuees, the metaphor to colonialism, and what payment if any should be requested from the victims. SunSheen was happy to listen to the voices in his head, and was kind enough to share them with the party.

5. Prison Break

Diegona and Barry accepted a job from Delilah helping with the nest of undead underneath the menagerie, and were accompanied by Tenacity, who had been going as Drucilla since the incident with the wyvern wherein she faked her own death. Diegona and Barry met Samwise, a single man who had been fighting the undead, and together fought great battles below the surface. The montage was amazing. (Samwise was the very first Aru, and he gave his brooch to Diegona asking her to pass it along to a cleric of his faith when she could.)

Meanwhile Tenacity had been preparing for a mission to go into the menagerie and free the animals who were being held their against their will. Heroes infiltrated the menagerie for several months asking each creature if they wished to stay or be returned to their home.

Virago and Green joined, and a plan was hatched. Barry convinced Delilah and Bernie via alter memory spells that the water filtration systems in the bodies of water (salt and arctic) were damaged and needed to be repaired. The new blueprints included metal pipes to be sunk to the bottom of the pools. These would act as teleportation circles, so aquatic creatures could be sent via water back to the sea. (It was winter so the arctic squid should be okay in the warmer-climate water with the Merfolk, where an already established teleportation circle existed.)  The squid and two sharks were freed from the menagerie this way. Tori the Druid revealed her alignment when she callously killed a guard who found them in the act of letting free the sharks, proving that even people who are ‘on your side’ may not be the best of people.

Dimension doors were opened in the forest enclosure and aviary, and one to the Cave of Wonders. (The animals long extinct with no current homeland went there, except the woolly mammoth who went to the arctic.) Most creatures chose to stay at the menagerie, and a giant gold dragon appeared at the very end of the competition (as well as the phoenix, Ophelia, and various basilisks). As the party was trying to make a clean exit from the menagerie, they ran out the front doors into the middle of Delilah’s 13th birthday party… right as she transformed into a hag! Instead of asking questions the players set everything on fire, causing her to lash out at the surrounded party goers (employees who were obligated to attend) and there were many casualties. Barry turned her into a mouse and she was finally trampled as they heroes made their final escape. Delilah’s mother, the Shang Sister of Blood, would likely only find out that her daughter was dead the next time she tried to infiltrate her dreams….

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