The Tanius Campaign Journal – Chapter 23: An Awkward Introduction

The Tanius Campaign Journal
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After parting ways with Josh I decided it was time to face my fears. It was time for me to meet the party face to face.

Now I was not so bold as to confront them directly. I decided that a more nuanced approach would be be best to ensure I don’t upset the testier of the bunch. I was particularly concerned that the druid Lilyth would have strong opinions on me following them given her desire to keep much of her life secret.

The next day I posted up at the entrance to the Coliseum bloodworks. My plan was to cast a “Suggestion” spell on the guard and have him inform the party that they needed a herald to advance. Then like a hero in the night I would strut up and save the day!

When the Blackthorn Syndicate arrived the first part of my plan went off without a hitch. The guard fell under my spell, but the moment I moved in to speak things went off the rails. The party immediately questioned why they needed a herald, and to make matters worse I caved under pressure and disclosed that I had been keeping a journal of their deeds.

Some of the Syndicate did not take very kindly to this.

DM Note: Breaking The Fourth Wall

At this point I had only written the first 8 chapters or so of the campaign journal. Some members of the party were curious if they were ever going to meet this “stalker halfling” who was recounting their tales online. I figured this would be a good opportunity to have the party meet their biggest fan. As expected they also used this opportunity to mess around with the DM a bit…

Over the course of the ensuing conversation I was berated and threatened by various members of the party, especially Lilyth. Fortunately for me Josh was there to speak to my credibility, and the party accepted my offer to be their “herald”.

Once inside I was able to calm the tension somewhat by offering to ask around and see if I could determine what their first fight was going to look like. The party was actually somewhat appreciative of this gesture, but more importantly it granted me enough of the party’s trust for them to open up a bit. As a result by the time they were preparing to walk through the coliseum door I had a solid recounting of what they had managed to accomplish the day before.

Running Errands

Campaign Log Day 8 – Part 2
20th day of Kythorn – Evening
Year of The Rebuked Storm – 1574 Dale Reckoning
Endgar – Various Districts

Once they had reached Endgar, the party being creatures of habit posted up at The Blackmule. Since they had an evening to spare before the beginning of The Endgar Games, they decided to split up for a bit so they could handle their personal affairs. Once everything was sorted out, the plan was to reconvene at The Blackmule and prepare for the battles ahead.

Kroul and Rkard – The Blackmule

In the least surprising turn of events ever, the Dwarf and Barbarian used this opportunity to drink for the remainder of the evening. Rkard was mostly content keeping to himself, however once Kroul got a couple in him he started to become unusually ambitious.

You see, The Blackmule is considered by some to have the best ale in all of Endgar. Kroul was looking to get into the brewing business himself, and figured that getting the recipe for some of the best beer in the land would be a good place to start.

Confident that his celebrity status would give him unfettered access to secret family recipes, he asked the barkeep if he would divulge his secrets.

DM NOTE: And Then Kroul Rolled Poorly

Very poorly…

Unfortunately the Dwarf was not as charming in the flesh as he was in his head. The barkeep was polite as he did not want to disrupt what was proving to be a never ending stream of income, but in the end Kroul turned in for the night without the recipe.

Lilyth – A Cure For The Itch

Lilyth’s urge to steal every magic item the party owned was getting out of control. She didn’t regret picking up the wand of detect magic, but it was clear she needed to remove whatever malevolent magic it was housing before it got her into more trouble.

While she may have been able to lean on some of her family contacts to figure out how to cure her condition, she didn’t want to bring any unwanted attention to herself. Instead she decided to head a few blocks down the road to the flea market.

The flea market is typically only used by common folk, but the Tanius festival had drawn in all manner of visitors. This included a large group of gypsies who were looking to hawk their wares to unsuspecting tourists. Lilyth carefully surveyed the crowd and was able to find a soothsayer she believed could live up to her name.

DM NOTE: Lifting The Curse

I was hoping to have the curse plague Lilyth for sessions to come, but her background as an Endgar native plus a strong insight roll gave her a chance to remove the curse earlier than planned.

Lilyth attempted to barter using coin at first, but the woman was not interested. Fortunately the party had come across a number of gemstones over the course of their travels, so Lilyth was able to make a deal. For the price of two obsidian gemstones the “soothsayer” offered to remove what what Lilyth suspected was a curse.

With great difficulty she gave the wand to the woman, who then drew a circle in the ground and placed the wand in the middle. After several minutes of muttering foreign words a faint green light emitted from her hand. As the light washed over the wand Lilyth could feel her anxiety subsiding. Once the ritual was complete Lilyth was relieved to find that while she still coveted the party’s magic items, it was for the usual reasons of greed and lust for power.

Satisfied with results of the trade, Lilyth thanked the Soothsayer and disappeared back into the crowd.

DM NOTE: Bartering Can Backfire

For the sake of lore consistency Lilyth’s activities beyond her interaction with the Soothsayer will be confined to this note bubble. This is because Lilyth the character tends to be very secretive when it comes to her identity, and would NEVER divulge her next activities to Milo(the narrator).

She ended up making her way to her home in the elven “Mitheron” district where she met with her step-mother. Her step-mother was entertaining a guest by the name of Sir Borivik, a pirate captain native to the Blue Moon Isles. After some discussion Lilyth eventually discovered that Borivik was in the market for a griffon egg, so she decided to barter on the party’s behalf.

One of the great joys of being a DM is watching your players make mistakes. This mistake actually originates from when the players turned in the griffon eggs they recovered from Mount Easie. The quest giver Clausen offered them over 1000 gold worth of potions for the third egg, but the party decided to try their luck on the open market with it. When Lilyth ended up taking an offer of only 275 gold the “evil DM” side of me was giddy. To this day I still don’t think they know how badly they got ripped off.

Meesh – Scouting The Path

Meesh had never really spent a lot of time in big cities, much less Endgar during the Tanius festival. There were so many sights and sounds that her finely tuned ranger senses were overwhelmed.

She ended up at “The Hasty Loft” in the entertainment district where she noticed a burly, but well armed man speaking to the bartender. She pulled up a seat next to him and before she could even order a drink he was striking up a conversation. I can only assume that he believed she was simply a lonely soul looking for some company for the evening.

So when Meesh eventually told him that she would be fighting in the first fights of the Endgar games it makes sense that he responded with incredulity.

Not intimidated, Meesh decided that the best way to shut him up would be to show him up. So without hesitation she grabbed the man by the arm and pulled him out the door. Once they were outside she had the man put a target in any spot of his choosing and guaranteed she would hit it.

In response the man took a bottle and threw it up towards the roof.

DM NOTE: She’s A Natural

This was actually the player behind Meesh’s first ever solo roleplay moment. Up until now she more or less went with the flow and just helped in combat, but with this stunt she stepped up in a big way.

Due to the bottles small size and speed I gave it an AC of 15. This meant that with her high weapon attack bonus(+10) she would need to roll a 5 or higher. An easy shot, but not guaranteed.

She rolled a natural 20…

Before the bottle could land Meesh shot it out of the air at the peak of the throw, and the man’s jaw hit the floor. He apologized for his brash behavior earlier and offered to buy her drink, but as a fellow warrior not a suitor.

Meesh accepted his offer.

He introduced himself as Darius Frost, a well-known trapper who captures beasts in the wild for use in coliseum fights. During the conversation he bragged about the “absolute monster” he caught that The Blackthorn Syndicate would be facing. Meesh inquired as to what this beast could be, but Darius was resolved to stick to tradition and not divulge that information. However, he did warn her that they would see the beast during their third battle.

Armed with this new information Meesh thanked Darius for his time, and took her leave. The two shook hands and the ranger swiftly returned to the Blackmule to report back to her allies.

Ungoldor – Trying To Get His Fix

Ungoldor decided to start his evening at the city watch. When he arrived his favorite (newly minted) city watch captain Josh was there, and he was adjusting what appeared to be a brand new set breastplate armor. They exchange pleasantries and Josh eventually revealed that he would be fighting along-side our heroes once again during the Endgar Games.

Ungoldor was elated to hear this news, and told Josh that he would share it with the party later on that night. After some more banter Ungoldor told the captain farewell and walked down the nearest tunnel to Endgar’s Undercity.

His ultimate goal for the evening was to try and locate a poisoner of some type. However, despite his best efforts he was only able to find the usual drug peddlers and pushers. Recognizing that it would be beneficial to be rested before a fight to the death, he returned to the Blackmule for the evening.

Kiddo and Bellamy – Spells, Shenanigans, and Suggestions

Last but not least Kiddo and Bellamy decided to use their night off to do some shopping. They spent a fair bit of time browsing the usual vendors, but a new pair of gnomish vendors set up near the Coliseum caught their eye. The first vendor was called Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanics and the second was Archey’s Arrow Emporium.

They looked through both vendors catalogs and found a wide variety offerings. These vendors specialized in clockwork contraptions.

Marvin’s offerings included:

  • Goggles that protect against blindness
  • A device that can launch nets over great distances
  • A maul with a gyroscope embedded in the head

However, the most intriguing product was a set of enhanced arrows offered by Archey.

The first arrow had a set of bolas attached to it that could trip up the target, and the second set had a tips packed with explosives. To top it all off she also offered a repair kit that allowed the user to repair their discharged arrows using commonly available items.

Instead of dipping into the party’s coin purse, Bellamy and Kiddo thought this would be a good opportunity to sell off some of the paintings they found in Blackheart Manor. After putting their heads together for a bit they came up with a ruse that would hopefully drive the price of their paintings up.

Kiddo opened the negotiations by attempting to pass herself off as a distant relative of the Blackheart family lineage. Unfortunately Marvin wasn’t buying into the idea of a dragonborn being part of a human family bloodline. Bellamy recognizing that their plan was going south used his subtle spellcasting abilities to stealthily cast suggestion on the salesman. With Bellamy’s magic touch they were able to make Marvin see how supremely valuable the paintings actually were, and after a brief discussion came to a deal.

For one painting Marvin would give them a Gyromaul, 3 Safety Goggles, a Net Launcher, and 96 gold…

DM NOTE: The Power of Suggestion

Suggestion is one of those spells that is a blast to use, but an absolute nightmare to DM. If you stick to the rules as written it is an unbelievably powerful second level spell that can completely break a wide variety of situations. I considered nerfing the outcome of the spell, but after mulling it over in my head a bit I decided to take another approach.

I decided to let the players have their fun.

Marvin and Archey were set to be recurring characters, so I was happy to trade them short term gain for long term pain. As a result of this trade, any future interaction with either member of the duo would now be wrought with ill-will and complications.

If your party tries to spellcast their way to successful sales, then I suggest you take a similar approach.

Pleased with the transaction the dynamic duo decides to try their luck on Archey, but this time things didn’t go so well. Bellamy’s magic fell short, and Archey becomes extremely suspicious of the two off them. Fortunately the sorcerers silver tongue was able to diffuse the situation and work them towards a deal.

They ended up purchasing 3 of each arrow type for 150 gold, and a promise to use each arrow during all three fights of the Endgar games. After the party showed off Archey’s wares during the battles, they would return and discuss the price of the repair kit.

With their business concluded Bellamy and Kiddo returned to the Blackmule to share their spoils with the party.

Game Day

The syndicate gathered at the Blackmule in the morning. Eventually they were joined by Josh of the City Watch who had in fact replaced his old ring mail for a very stylish breastplate.

Aiming to stay in peak condition, the party decided to forego any and all morning activities.

With the team assembled, everyone gathered their belongings and made their way towards the coliseum.


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