The party returns to town and drops Denim off with Dierdre for some healing. Heather aborts her chaos-monster baby (this is Derek’s version. Heather’s version is that Dierdre is taking care of it). We streetwise around for some info on Silas and find out that the Stromcrows/Silas had stayed at the Red Rooster Inn nearby and that Silas had some dealings with a criminal by the name of Gerald Roy (aka Roy Rogers). We also find out there has been a series of thefts/kidnappings/murders in town recently (none of which were committed by us, since we haven’t been here long enough). We track down Roy Rogers and get him to tell us that Silas disappeared from the inn and that he was looking for the missing Stormcrows (the ones going crazy in the tower, we presume). The party heads off to the Red Rooster Inn, where we convince the bartender to tell us where Silas’s room is. After picking the lock, we find a nasty corpse (presumably Silas) inside; he appears to have been killed by a mind flayer a few weeks ago. We also find an empty lead box inscribed with wards of protection, perhaps it once held the Tear? We take it with us.
Streetwising again to find some mention of mind flayers, we come across a crazy dwarf who is blaming the Corias people and some dude named Lord Grizwald for the troubles in town.
Side note: At this point I have “skill check” written in my notebook, but the “s” is really small and squished, so I thought it was “kill check” at first. I think I will try to call battles kill checks from now on.
We dispel the fomenting riot and follow the dwarf back to a blacksmith’s shop. We then bust in and question him. The dwarf’s name is Durgin Ironhammer and he blames the watch for talking away his apprentices, who went missing one day. He seems kind of crazy, so we take him to Dierdre to see if she can help, but she is useless. We then take him to the town watch, who thank us for our trouble and deputize us to help investigate what’s going on. Bad idea, town watch! All killing/extreme questioning are law-sanctioned now!
The party’s first move is to investigate several sites of kidnappings/murders/etc that the town watch has handily supplied us with. We find a scrap of shimmering cloth that bears marks of the Shadowfell and a nasty tentacle monster to fight and a slimy trail leading to the sewers. Before heading down there we decide to finish investigating the locations and talk to some people. First, we chat with a totally useless sage and then revisit that crazy dwarf. The dwarf tells us a friend gave him a silvery or which he in turn gave to the town’s head wizard, Charath. Why he didn’t mention this sooner is a mystery. Onwards to Charath!
When the party arrives chez Charath there is no response and the place looks empty, so we pick the lock and head inside. Inside we find the body of Charath and some rogue dudes who attack us. One is kept alive for questioning. He reveals that there’s a mindflayer named Shathrax chillin’ in the sewers, who is trying to use the tear to build an army of mutants to take over the town. Lovely. Rogue-dude gives us directions to Shathrax’s lair, and we lamely turn him into the watch instead of killing him. The party also retrieves the silvery orb, which as it turns out is an Umbral Eye that lets you see into the shadowfell.
After that we head off to the sewers. After some exploration and several battles, we find a priest/cultist to interrogate. He gives us more exact directions to Shathrax’s lair and certain good party members threaten to withhold healing if we kill the cultist instead of tying him up and leaving. Certain good party members are totally lame.
After fighting our way through the sewers the party finally comes across Shathrax and quickly disposes of him. Searching the room afterwards we find a skin coat (eeew) and Silus’s journal detailing how he wanted to use the tear to power some dead artifact. We also find some stinky prisoners, including Durgin’s apprentice, and free them. What we DON’T find is the tear. For some reason I neglected to write down, we believe the tear is somewhere nearby on the surface and head back upstairs to find it. What we find instead is some demons chillin’ by the temple who claim they have the tear and that Vecnacht (spelling, Chris?) will be back for Flor. Obviously, we kill them, and on their bodies we find a rune we can use to enter and leave the shadowfell once. Before heading over there to retrieve what is apparently the world’s most sought after artifact, we check out the temple. Inside we find Deirdre all nasty and corrupted, and before she dies she tells us that she was trying to summon the tear because she is mentally deficient and that the demons took it from her and escaped into the shadowfell. Thanks for screwing everything up, Deirdre. I also have written down that the demons stole Zlata’s tentacle baby, which we named Diabetes (pronounced Wilford Brimley style).
The party enters the shadowfell and follows the demons’ tracks to a crossroads where there is a dead guy hanging in a cage. Lovely. There’s some magic mouth-like spell on him that goes off when we inspect the body and lets us know that the dead guy will come back to avenge his death. I set his body on fire.
We continue following the tracks to some sort of portal guarded by demons and a smoke monster, and Flor and Aurora are able to bluff/diplomacize our way in without a fight. The gate, which supposedly leads to the Chris-backstory-dude, takes us to an icy tundra with a cliff and some funny lights in the distance. We reach the cliff and after Bojangles does some invisible recon for us, discover that there are some more demons up top who look like they’re going to attack us if we go up. We also notice the smoke monster is following us. Dagmar casts invisibility on Talia, who scales the cliff a bit away from the monsters and lowers a rope so we can all climb up. When we reach the top we try to talk to the demons, but they just want to die. Works for me. Smokey joins in the attack, but escapes before we can kill him.
After the fight we head onwards towards the funny lights and eventually come across what appears to be an abandoned fortress. We make our way through several courtyards before finding the source of the lights, which is some crazy spinning device called an Ori (dubbed Orly by the players), which is powered by a tear-like stone. The device tries to mess us up, but numerous skill checks and melee attacks later we are able to disable it. Unfortunately the stone powering it crumbles – turns out this Orly was just a trap/distraction. We go back to a secret door we found in an earlier courtyard and head down to the sublevels of the fortress.
We manage to explore the fortress without any encounters,
accidentally artfully avoiding all rooms with monsters, until we come across the private chambers of the crazy dude who used to run this place. The rooms have been ransacked, but we manage to find some papers with crazy rantings about using the tear to power the Orly in order to bring some messed up guy back from the far realm. There are also some notes about not letting the Orly and the portal touch. Turns out the trapped guy, Valarn, is one of Silus’s ancestors. This combined with the earlier Silus diary makes me think maybe this was his evil lair before he got his brains sucked out. We also find a large crystalline sphere in a locked chest. It seems to have some sort of latent magical energy, but apart from that doesn’t do anything. After this we quickly find our way to the Orly room where there are a bunch of demons and some crazy looking black caped dude.