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Superstar! and the Kingpin's Payout

The action below took place between April 9th and June 1st, 2193.

Theft-focused raids have been a longstanding problem in the Medegia region of Western Cromwell, but recently a group has abruptly started killing people, which has led Cromwell to feel it was worth of bringing them to the attention of outside bounty-hunters. “Sneak in and steal food” has turned into “sneak in and murder a whole farming family and their workers in their sleep, vanish with all their stuff”. They have been deftly avoiding engagement with actual security forces, and have been harder to spot and track. They are thought to flee into to the mountains to the southwest. Superstar! was hired by the government of Cromwell to look into these attacks and deal with the threat. With decent horses and carts, we expected the journey out to take just over a month.

Pheraguat decided to fly out to Medegia on his hippogriff for some advance scouting, actually doing this while Magic Lad was identifying items from the party’s prior encounter. He ran into someone he knew at the nearby Cromwellian military outpost (Saer Hills Depot), a “special forces” woman named “Spider”. It was noted that Jennifer Hookhill, a human fighter and Regent’s courtier, and Site Bowlength, an elven fighter/magic-user and Regent’s courtier, were about a week north of here fighting drug dealers**, and could be available for aid if needed.

[** = see also, the Ninth Telvar Open, taking place in Towlemere in the Salt Sea region of Western Cromwell, in which both of these figures appeared.]

Unfortunately, the aid was needed a little closer to home. While Pheraguat was waiting for the party to meet him in Medegia, the party got ambushed on the road halfway there, rendering his actions and most of this engaging backstory largely moot.

We were riding through an orchard when Star suddenly got a sense of extreme danger. We stopped and started to take some tentative actions. Sorcery Girl sent a crow ahead to scout, and Alison and Magic Lad started to dig out out scrolls of “hold person”. As we looked around, we saw a single figure off ahead and to the left of the road about 60 feet away casting a spell, which Chiaro identified as a “hold person”. Rangorn, who was actually the first to see the figure, shouted out, “Spellcaster!” and shot them with an arrow, ruining the spell. Wanda finished turning herself “invisible”. Star using his “dream sight” for two segments managed to get himself a pre-cognisant glimpse of the spell that was about to hit the party (an “ice storm”), allowing himself a saving throw against a spell that doesn’t normally allow one (unfortunately, he failed, as did his 40% magic resistance, despite diving under a cart). The “ice storm” hit the party for 24 points of damage. Rangorn, as he had started to charge at the initial spellcaster, had actually sprinted to outside the area of effect. Star and Zippo were badly hurt, but still standing. Chiaro, Lewis, Wanda, and Alisan were down, along with Chiaro’s toads, Alisan’s dogs, and all the horses. Magic Lad and Sorcery Girl were dead. [Note that this was an absolute whopper of a 3d10 “ice storm”. A more typical damage would have left Chiaro, Lewis, Wanda, Alisan, and the toads all still standing, and Magic Lad still alive – a vastly different circumstance than the one the party found itself in.]

The still-standing party members looked around for any sign of the spellcaster, but there was no one in sight. Quickly, Ceres warned Star that he was being charged by three invisible foes, and that there was an additional (non-charging) invisible figure behind them.

Rangorn, now in point-blank range with the visible spellcaster, blasted him with a +4 arrow for serious damage. As the guy was the only visible opponent, Zippo charged him as well. The man shouted, “I could use a little help here!” to his companions. Star got to his feet, keeping the cart between him and the three charging opponents, and turned himself invisible with his ring as he did so. Zippo swung at the cleric and missed, but Rangorn wounded him with another arrow. Star unleashed a psychic blast at his invisible assailants, and it was super effective, as all three stopped in their tracks, highly disoriented. At this point, the fourth invisible figure started casting another spell, but remained invisible as he did so. Star charged at him, and as he did, it became clear that the man had his own invisible familiar creature perched on his shoulder feeding him info about Star’s position – pseudodragon vs. imp! Place your bets!

Meanwhile, Zippo missed the cleric again, but Rangorn’s next bowshot completely skewered him, killing him instantly (he never did get “a little help”). Rangorn, still seeing no visible opponents, went to bandage Alison and Wanda, preventing them from bleeding to death in the nick of time. Zippo, at Rangorn’s encouragement, went to Chiaro to shove his potion of extra healing down his throat.

The invisible wizard finished casting his spell, only to find he couldn’t target Star like he intended, as Star’s mind was cloaked by his “mind blank” ability. He switched his target to Rangorn, who suddenly found himself favorably inclined towards some person he couldn’t see. Star aimed a second psionic blast at the wizard and his familiar. The wizard was slightly dazed, buying Star some valuable time. The familiar was actually supercharged by the effect! Star circled around the wizard so that with his next, and final psychic blast, he could get all four invisible people in the cone. A couple of the formerly charging people were further dazed, but the dramatic effect is that the blast killed the familiar, causing massive damage to the wizard himself. As Rangorn finished his ministrations to Wanda, planning to enter the fight against the invisible people, Star blasted the wizard with a beam from his Circlet of Radiance doing massive damage and actually killing him!

Suddenly, two of the three remaining figures popped into view. One was wearing plate armor and another banded mail. It seems that the third figure was the anchor for an “invisibility 10’ radius” spell, and had moved more than 10’ away from the others. Rangorn shot at the plate armor guy (missing) as Star opened up a scroll of ‘hold person”. The third guy had fled out of range by the time Star finished reading his scroll, but the other two were successfully “held”. At this point, Chiaro, having been healed by the potion, finally got to his feet and was itching to enter the fight only to find out that Star and Rangorn (and Ceres) had pretty much taken care of business!

Knowing that we would like to track and take down the invisible, fleeing (at a 15” movement rate) guy, we put “invisibility” on Ceres and had the trusty pseudodragon fly after him to keep tabs on his location. We took about half an hour to gather loot, recover arrows, and heal up (Chiaro getting plenty of use out of his “gloves of healing”) and then decided to send a stripped-down-to-move-18” party of Rangorn, Star, and Chiaro after the fleeing man. Rangorn was able to track him, and as we got within 200 feet, Ceres made contact with Star to tell us we were getting close. Chiaro cast “detect invisibility”, “non detection”, and “invisibility 10’ radius” and the party closed to within 30’ of the man. Chiaro could see that he had only two daggers, a robe, and a small backpack. He first resisted a “dominate” attempt by Chiaro and was then slightly stunned by a follow-up “psychic crush”. Chiaro then revealed the man with a “phantasmal force”, opening him up to be targeted by Rangorn and Star. Rangorn shot him and Star started a light spell to attempt to blind him. When the man recovered himself, he fled, now running. He resisted the “light” spell. Rangorn ran after him, but unfortunately missed with his next two shots. He then hit him twice with his next two shots. At this point, they had run out well ahead of Star and Chiaro. The man used dust to make himself disappear again, but Ceres was still keeping up and able to track him. He reported to Star that the man had quaffed a potion and continued fleeing. Rangorn then continued tracking and we managed to get within 200 feet again. The man was now visible and seemingly uninjured. That state of affairs did not continue for long, as Rangorn shot him again. Unfortunately, once again, he used another dose of dust to make himself invisible, and then drank yet another potion. Again, Rangorn tracked him down. This time, we changed up our tactics: Star and Chiaro moved in closer behind him under the cover of a “cricket song”. Rangorn grabbed the guy’s arm, restraining him. Chiaro then blinded him with a “color spray”, which was quickly followed by a successful “hold person” from Star. And with that, the great chase came to a close. His backpack, it turned out, was full of valuable gems. Apparently this guy we had hunted down was a courier for a drug kingpin. Star fed Ceres a few of the gems for being such a very good boy.

The decision was made to send Rangorn back to Sutton on a fast horse with Magic Lad’s body so he could be “raised” (no 9th level priests there, but they would have a scroll). Splitting the party worked so well once, why not do it again? Rangorn made it back without incident, the party following him back more slowly on foot did not.

Two nights after starting back, Wanda and Zippo were on watch when three burrow worms suddenly burst out of the ground and attacked them. Zippo was bitten for 9 points of damage by a bug that quickly realized he tasted very bad, owing to his “ring of bad taste”. Wanda was bitten twice and quickly dropped unconscious, but her screams woke everyone in the party except (ironically?) the ranger, Lewis. As Star, Alison, and Chiaro got to their feet, Zippo swung his scimitar at one of the giant bugs but missed. His second attempt was more successful. Star aimed a “psionic blast” up at the three beasts with widely varying results: one was put in a coma, one had no effect, and one had the effect of “ferocity”, getting significant bonuses to hit and damage. Lewis started getting up around this time. Alison read two “cure light wounds” spells off of a scroll to heal Wanda. Chiaro read a “color spray” off a scroll to try to knock out the ferocious one, but it shook off the effect. The remaining bugs didn’t want to bite Zippo, so they both blasted him with sprays of acid. He partially dodged, but they did enough damage to bring him down. Chiaro read off another “color spray” and this time, the bug was knocked unconscious. Lewis swung at the one bug left standing and fumbled, dropping his bastard sword and exposing himself for a free attack from the bug, which bit him for 10 points of damage. It dropped him with another bite soon after. Chiaro blasted the bug for heavy “damage” with a “spectral force” “fireball” that it appeared to believe was real, while Star put “light” on its eyes, blinding it. Wanda, finally back to her feet, then dropped it with a barrage of “magic missiles”. Fortunately, that little encounter was the only hiccup on the trip back.

On a good roll from Rangorn to negotiate a “raise” price, Magic Lad was raised for 11,500 gp. He ended up recovering one day before the rest of the party showed up. Effectively, the party reconvened in Sutton on June 1st. Naturally, given the ongoing loss of life among the farmers in Medegia, we immediately set out again for the region at top speed.

Ha ha! Just kidding! We spent the next month training and identifying our loot. (It’s tough being a hero.) Taking stock of the goods recovered from the debacle: we had 39,550 gp in cash and gems, 35,000 of it coming from the backpack worn by the courier.

We found:
• Scroll of cure light wounds x2 (level 6) (???)
• Scroll of magic missile x3 (level 7) (Wanda)
• Scroll of magic missile x3 (level 7) (tax)

• 2 potions of healing (Rangorn, Magic Lad)
• 2 bandages (Rangorn)
• Potion of ghoul control (Star)
• Potion of heroism (Zippo)
• Potion of cure disease (Pheraguat)

• Robe of wizardry (2 bonus second level spells) (blue with stars) (Chiaro)
• Ring of fire resistance (Alisan)
• Ring of authority (adds 3 to command level for fighter, steward, captain) (tax)
• Ring of protection +1 (Wanda, paying the party 5kgp)
• Dagger +1 (tax)
• Dagger +1/+4 vs. humans (Lewis)
• Longsword +1 giant slayer (+3 and double damage vs. giants) (Zippo)
• Footman’s mace +1 (tax)
• Dagger +1 (tax)
• Medium shield +1 (tax)
• Large shield +2 (tax)
• 11 +1 first-flight long arrows (split Rangorn, Pheraguat)
• Bracers AC 7/7 (Wanda)
• Gauntlets of 16 strength (Star)
• Belt of swagger (immunity to fear, +4 on intimidate) (Pheraguat, paying the party 8kgp)
• Tuning fork of knowledge (you bang it on a lock or trap and it imparts knowledge) (bag of holding)
• Robe of pockets (sixteen, 35 cw pockets) (Wanda)
• Wand of bug control (30 charges) spellcaster uses (bag of holding)
• Staff of striking (21 charges) (temporarily held by Wanda or Zippo?)
• Helmet of anticipation (+1 to AC and reflex saves) (Rangorn)

• The unidentified hat from last time: hat of anonymity (makes people tend to forget your face) (tax)
• One final item was overlooked in the identification process: one remaining pouch of magical dust we took off the courier that we are almost certain is “dust of disappearance”.)

XP was 1656 for Alisan and Lewis, 1821 for Zippo; 980/2200 for Magic Lad; 4086 for Pheraguat, and 7298 for Rangorn, Star, Chiaro, and Wanda. This was enough for Alisan, Zippo, and Lewis to all level. Star and Rangorn trained each other’s henchmen (+200 and +300 XP, respectively) and we found a fighter trainer in Sutton for Zippo.

At the adventure’s close, our party roster:
Rangorn, 7th level half-elf woodsman, 65 hp, played by Joel
Pheraguat, 7th level high-elf woodsman, 60 hp, played by Andrew
Chiaroscuro, 7th level human illusionist, 22 hp, played by Aaron
Star, 6th level human cleric, 37(43) hp, played by Kyle
Wanda, 6th level human mage, 19 hp, played by Jay

Zippo, 4th level dwarf fighter, 41 hp (gained 7 hp), henchman of Star, played by David B.
Lewis, 4th level human ranger, 33 hp (gained 8 hp), henchman of Star, played by Alan
Alisan, 3rd level half-elf cleric, 19 hp (gained 2 hp), henchman of Rangorn
Magic Lad, 2nd /2nd level cleric/illusionist, 13 hp, henchman of Chiaro

We eventually learned that the party that attacked us was from the drug gang, “The Yellow Streak”. There was a 1000 gp reward for killing the courier, who we nicknamed “El Chapo”. Perhaps next we will take on “The Brown Smudge”, before moving on to “The Cyan Splotch”? But most likely we will take another crack at the mysterious murderous bandits in Medegia.


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