The Conrad Bexler Tabernacle

SESSION: February 22, 2013

Okay, so I tried to work on a writeup of last Friday’s session, but everything’s too all over the place to put into a single document.

We picked up where we left off, in the cave with Bexler and his men. Bexler’s men fail to persuade Peren and Dovah to rejoin the party, and they head out of the cave. When the men return, Bexler then he sends 10 more to go and reset the traps. He then proceeds to explain to the party why he started a fight with Morgana: he knew what the Zik-Chil had done to her some seven months ago on Athas, and he knew she would ultimately end up becoming a zombie. Since he’s the one responsible for her condition in the first place, he owed it to her to save her.

Suddenly, screams are heard coming from the direction of the cave’s main entrance. And then, two rust monsters rush into the cavern to attack! The party wisely chooses to retreat towards the cave’s back entrance, only to run right smack into the Drow priest Va’rough, his Magic-User friend Arunya, and the Battle Mage Batra. To the party’s shock and surprise, not only is Batra’s head adorned with the helmet just recently delivered to the Lords of Waterdeep, but Peren and Dovah are with them!

So, with Drow in front of them and rust monsters at their backs, the battle is engaged. The rock underneath the party’s feet is transmuted into mud, and as they sink waist-deep, they are greeted with a fireball which, amongst other things, wreaks havoc on Krystiana’s potion and destroys Morrigna’s backpack. It also dries the mud around them, making it harder for them to attempt escape.

At this point, Va’rough asks the party if they yield, and all do except Bexler, who manages to free himself from the mud and make short work of Batra. This turns the tide of the battle, and after many hit points are lost to enemy spellcasters and weapons eaten by hungry rust monsters, the party emerge victorious, and we see Peren and Dovah turn against the Drow and come to the party’s aid. Once it becomes possible, Morrigna is able to grab the helmet from Batra’s corpse, along with a note that fell out of his cloak.

Escaping the rust monsters, Bexler then takes the party to the northwestern-most part of the cave, where Cascaro is seen naked and shackled to a wall, across the chamber from barrels filled with rotted food and other garbage. Cascaro is defiant to the very end, and finally Bexler offers Lexi the chance to deal the killing blow. She accepts, and does so with deadly efficiency. However, she inadvertently cuts into his intestines, emptying his bowels and attracting rot grubs from the garbage across the chamber. The party wisely decide to beat feet and get the hell out of there.

At the warehouse, it is discovered a tea merchant is bankrolling the Tea Party’s operations, which helps explain the group’s name. After a brief conversation, Bexler addresses the issue of his daughter offering to betray him in battle, and decides that in order to avoid the appearance of favoritism, she must endure a gauntlet that evening before he will accept any apologies.

To show that he’s not a total ass, he does allow his daughter some liberty to go about town before this is to begin.

Also at the warehouse, Morrigna reads the note that was found on Batra’s body, and finds that Piergieron’s guards were waylaid while escorting the helmet to Lady Alustriel in Silverymoon.

Meanwhile, Zephyros follows the lead he was given regarding poison. After a great deal of bad luck, a run-in with the town guard, and an elastic, low-intelligence creature resembling the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man (hey, it was 3 in the morning and the DM was running out of ideas!). Even after finding the building, it is only after falling through a flight of stairs, and then again through a floor and becoming trapped in a Triangle of Summoning enchanted with a Hold Monster spell, the he is finally able to meet his contacts.

These contacts turn out to be three male Drow wearing black cloaks, black leather gloves, and partial black leather masks, who inform Zephyros that they’s been observing him since he left the tavern and are well aware of his motives. They are all too happy to give him the poison to do with what he wills, provided that for every dragon he slays, he must give them all of the teeth save one (the last he may keep as a souvenir). The Drow also expect a further price: the complete hide of Morrigna of Eveningstar, a condition to which Zephyros more than willingly agrees.

On the way to the temple tower, Zephyros has a run-in with the town guard, who describe the tavern owner as “Bob, he’s one of us,” further cementing his perception of a town mired with evil. At the temple, he talks to the priest who doesn’t exactly believe him, but lets him stay the night up in the bell tower, out of kindness. There Zephyros is greeted by Shawna, who tells him of the “evil” of the tressym named Tot T. Bird, and that Morrigna is also evil because (she whispers Morrigna’s secret into his ear).

As the tavern owner leaves the tavern and Zephyros sees the opportunity for a perfect shot, he chooses not to take it, for fear of soiling Shawna’s perceptions of him.

Back at the warehouse, the gauntlet begins. Lexi must walk through a line of twenty men, with the party at the far end, who all may strike her either with a club or with their fists. She survives the bludgeoning and makes it as far as her father at the end of the line. As she falls forward, he brings his knee up into her face, then joins his hands and brings them down into the base of her skull at the back of her neck. As she falls unconscious, Bexler says to everyone present: “The gauntlet is finished. This woman is a brave soldier, and let no one question her loyalty ever again!

So this is where we left off. The party is now affiliated with the Tea Party, Lexi has earned her father’s respect by not running away when she had the chance, Zephyros is even further losing his tenuous grasp on reality, and Morrigna is hell-bent on delivering the helmet to Silverymoon, regardless of whether the party chooses to accompany her.

SESSION: February 22, 2013

The session started with the players characters in Waterdeep. Morrigna had gone home to Vosh’ house, while the other characters — Peren, Krystianna, and Dovah — were still in Piergieron’s palace after completing their latest mission. Morgana, now fully recovered, was in the palace recovery ward, to be awoken by a ginger-colored Tressym landing on her chest and sneezing in her face. The Tressym, belonging to Morrigna (but affectionate toward Morgana) and known as Tot T. Bird, spoke directly into her mind: “Lexi has been captured by Cascaro, in a cave outside of Everlund.”

In her boyfriend’s home, Morrigna was kicking back and reading a book, when Tot appears and delivers the same message. Using her wild talent, Morrigna then contacts and mindlinks with Morgana; the two share information and agree to meet at Vosh’ house. As Morgana is released to leave the palace, she runs into Krystianna, Peren, and Dovah, and informs them of Lexi’s capture. This leads them to meet with Morrigna and plan a rescue mission.

Meanwhile, in the hills near the Long Road, a caravan passes through the land of a tribe of barbarians, seeking to hire help from amongst their young men. Such a man, Kresh by name, comes forward and accepts their offer. He is given sword and armor, and promised 1,000 gold pieces at the end of the job. When the caravan makes it as far as Red Larch, Kresh goes into the Helm at Highsun for a drink. Unbeknownst to him, the caravan master chooses to abandon him to the town.

Back in Waterdeep, the party purchases mounts and heads out along the Long Road. They make it to Red Larch, where they meet Kresh and share stories. Kresh joins their group, and they go to the Swinging Sword to purchase rooms for the night. During the night Kresh and Krystianna are visited — the former by a beautiful blond woman, the latter by a handsome dark-haired stranger. They are seduced, bedded, and charmed by these strangers, who leave before first light. Upon waking and meeting with the rest of the party in Common Area, they both discover that their visitors were vampires, and they’ve been bitten.

From Red Larch, the party made a short stop in Triboar for a quick meal, then made it to Yartar just before dark. Morrigna, who has knowledge of the town, heads straight to Beldabar’s Rest (an underground inn) for a room, but is disappointed when informed they have no vacant rooms with a bath. Kresh takes the initiative and decides to clear out such a room for her. So, he finds a room and hears a woman screaming in pain on the other side of the door. Being the Barbarian with an Intelligence of 5 that he is, he bashes down the door and discovers a woman being forced into a compromising position by a filthy, scraggly, musclebound excuse for a man. Battle is joined, and the man’s two overgrown friends come out and fight the party. At first hand-to-hand, but once steel is drawn, the proprietor comes in and summarily kicks the party and their opponents out of his not-so-respectable establishment.

The party return above ground, and go to a nearby tavern. To their surprise, they find that the man they were fighting is actually the bartender at this tavern! Upon seeing them, the bartender yells, “Get them!” and the two henchmen chase after the party. Once out in the street, fighting resumes until the city guard intervene after a few rounds. Seeing that the party did discover information which could lead to the arrest of the bartender (who they’ve wanted for quite some time), the party is released upon condition they take one of their prisoners (Zephyros, an Elven Ranger) with them, and are invited to spend the night at the guard station.

Thus rested, the party now sets out on the Evermoor Way to Everlund. When they first camp, a group of Heucuva head toward them during their first watch. The ride is mostly unremarkable, save for a near-brush with a group of Heucuva and a fight with a band of Gnolls led by a Flind.

When the party finally makes it to Everlund, they and the horses are exhausted, so the party immediately hitches the horses and goes to the local inn to book rooms and order some drinks. Peren, Morgana, and Zephyros see a barrel with an image of a harp on it behind the bar, and order ten drinks each from it, each finding themselves knocked out cold before they can finish them all. Dovah takes the remaining drinks to his room and passes out before he can finish them.

Ultimately Morrigna, Kresh, Peren, Morgana, Krystianna, and Dovah all take to their rooms, while Zepyros is left unconscious at the bar. When he wakes up, he finds that he was robbed of nearly all his money and possessions, and the bartender smiles at him, congratulates him for paying for everybody else’s drinks for the night, and offers him a free room out of sympathy. Zephyros, enraged beyond measure, storms out of the inn, leaves the party, and swears vengeance on the bartender and everybody else in this town. On his way to spend the night at the stables, he meets a beautiful redhead named Shawna, who proves a great listener with whom he falls in love. Yet love or not, Zephyros is still determined to carry out his plan.

The morning comes and the sun arises. Morrigna is greeted by Tot, who reveals to her the exact location of the cave where Lexi is being held. Once the party ready themselves, they proceed to the cave and find themselves in a room littered with garbage (potion bottles, scroll cases, and nonorganic matter in general). The party goes through a door to the west and runs into three burly fighters dressed in a uniform they’ve never seen before: a kind of khaki/tan color with splotches of desert colors on it, and wearing chain mail for armor. They immediately attack the party, with two being killed and the third surrendering. The party then retrace their steps and, having no thief, set off a tripwire trap that spews poisonous gas through the room. After a few more turns and a few more traps, the party finds itself into a large cavern, where they are greeted by a famailiar voice and an all-too-familiar southern twang:

“Well I’ll be damned! Look at the little worms who crawled into Daddy Bird’s nest!”

He then stares directly into Morgana’s eyes:

“And you! I heard you got all buff and tough and you wanna take me on. Well guess what, today’s your lucky day!”

At this point, Sarah (Morgana’s player) starts smiling at the DM, since this is something she’s wanted ever since the “transformation” into super-dwarf from a year before.

“Hell, I’ll even take it easy on you. And you can use any weapon you want, except this shiny little axe!”

Now the smile drops off from Sarah’s face, considering that she knows that particular axe is the only thing that can undo Morgana’s transformation. But Morgana is unphased.

The fight begins and is over within four rounds. With each hit, one of Morgana’s previous memories is restored: being raised in a family of Clangeddin worshipping dwarves, the day she took Holy Orders and was given that axe (the one that’s now being used against her), how much she loved that axe, the fight that led to her first death at Bexler’s hands, the transport to Athas and her alteration in a Zik-Chil laboratory, her murder of Torialyn — and, as the finishing blow is delivered and the axe’shandle hits the back of her head — all of her memories flood back into her brain, overwhelming her as she loses consciousness.

Yet during the fight, Morgana manged to accomplish one thing that no one’s ever been able to do before: she managed to score a critical hit on Bexler.

After the fight’s over, Bexler becomes friendly with the party and explains that he arrived at the cave eighteen hours ago to rescue Lexi (his daughter), that Cascaro’s been dealt with, and that he’s no longer with the Zhentarim. The time he spent captured on Athas has made in impact on him and now he and those loyal to him fight for a contrary purpose, to oppose oppression and bring liberty. Because of a story an old frenemy once told him, their symbol is the tea leaf, and they call themselves the “Tea Party.”

The session officially ends with the party going into the room where Lexi was sleeping and catching up with her on the events of the previous week.

EPILOGUE: Zephyros is roaming the streets of Everlund looking to learn where he may find poison to carry out his plan. He is initially unsuccessful, but finds promise when he is told to meet with someone on the third floor of a crumbling tenement.