Kick The Can Down The Road
When we last saw our Heroes, they were huddled in the waladin’s room, examining the books taken from the room of Maccath the Crimson, while Maccath herself stood in the doorway where a few seconds before a door had stood.
The consensus among the party members seemed to be that these books were too powerful, that Maccath seemed a bit too eager to have them, and that the Arcane Brotherhood were a bunch of mystical ne’r do wells who couldn’t be trusted with such immense power. Maccath’s argument was that the books were once in the possession of the Brotherhood before they were stolen by dragons over a 100 years prior, and that it was her responsibility (and let’s face it, her honor) to return them to their rightful owners.
The party went into full spin-mode, with both the bard and the waladin attempting to Persuade Maccath to the contrary, but she was one half-key turn from going full Day After Tomorrow to listen. Thankfully Lerustah, the Council-sponsored liaison and captain of the Frostskimmr, was more than moved by the party’s explanation and stepped in before the inn became a smoking crater. After getting both sides to the story. Lerustah strongly suggested that the books be held in the secure hold of the Frostskimmr until they reached Waterdeep, at which time his crew would turn the whole lot over to the Council to let them make a decision on the fate of the tomes. The party was satisfied, as this was what they claimed their plan to have been all along, but naturally Maccath was still extremely pissed.
While the ride home was tense, it was also uneventful. The party was met at the Waterdeep docks by an honor-guard from the Council who took possession of the magical books and scrolls for their trip back to the Council House. There, Lady Silverhand, Lord Neverember, Onthar Frume, Sir Isteval, and “Thunderspells” Hornblade were the only council members in attendance, and they listened to both the party and Maccath.
It was Lady Silverhand who rendered the judgement, thanking the party for recovering the lost lore. It was too powerful to be left out in the wild. However, it was the rightful property of the Brotherhood, having been stolen from their considerable archives a long time ago. She declared that this was a fortuitous but awkward situation, since the Brotherhood had been adamant about remaining outside of the brewing conflict, despite the Council’s repeated overtures towards and alliance. Silverhand saw the return of their lost property as the first step in a quid pro quo that would bring the Brotherhood into their struggle against the Dragon Cult. Needless to say, Frume — a paladin of the Order of the Gauntlet — was severely displeased by this, and left the room after Silverhand’s decision. Maccath, on the other hand, insisted that she be the one to hand over the materials, since as far as she was concerned they stopped being “lost” the moment she gained possession of them back on Oyaviaggaton. The Council members agreed and she and the materials left the room.
On the subject of the actual mission, the party informed the Council that the draakhorn had been taken away a few weeks prior by three, purple-robed individuals, with no information on where it was taken. The Council had suspected as much, since the horn was apparently being used, but had hoped that Maccath would have been able to provide some insight to help the Council discern the location of the Cult’s HQ.
Being only one night of rest of the wicked, the party was quickly informed that the Council had gained some intel about a member of the Cult’s inner circle. Varram the White, one of Severin’s core lackeys, was seen around the area of the High Moor just a few days ago. There was no report on why he was there, but the fact that one of the Cult’s key conspirators was abroad concerned and piqued the interest of the Council. Neverember asked the party to travel to Boareskyr Bridge to see if they couldn’t pick up the trail of Varram, find out what he’s up to, and capture him if at all possible. If not, dead worked just as well.
After a quick shopping spree in the Arcane District of Waterdeep (their motto: “You open a portal to another plane of existence, you bought it”), the party was teleported by Leosin to a landing zone not far from Daggerford. There, they were met by the Harper that the original party had rescued from having been buried up to his neck in the middle of the road. He was happy to see the party (and their newest additions) and announced that he would be the party’s liaison to the Council while they were working out of Boareskyr Bridge.
The eponymous bridge turned out to be a monstrosity of engineering. Built of black granite and wide enough to allow two lanes of cart traffic, it boasted two enormous arches, one on either end, upon each of which sat a statue. On one, the statue of a warrior ready to strike. On the other, an infernal creature ready to pounce. The bard employed her considerable knack for history (take that, “when are we ever going to use this in real life!”) and identified the two as Cyric and Bhaal, and the bridge as the supposed site where Cyric, a mere mortal, slew Bhaal and ascended to godhood.
Unfortunately the encampment of the same name wasn’t anywhere near as impressive, being a haphazard mess of tents and carts and easily collapsable centers of opportunity that were the only sign of commerce within a few hundred miles. The party ended up at what passed for an inn, and took a few moments to rest.
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It’s been about two weeks since we’ve played, due to Various Reasons. It was a heck of a place to have left the action, though: Maccath had just burned down the inn room door to confront the party over her stolen property, with the party having been caught red handed.
As this was an off-the-books aside, I was a bit concerned. The party seemed rather smug in their decision to try and keep these books from Maccath, and appeared ready to fight her for them. Maccath-as-written was not a formidable adversary, and would have been an easy target for the party. However, there were a few considerations. First, I figured that after spending a few years soaking in the arcane knowledge of those tomes, there’s no way Maccath would be such a push-over. I contemplating jacking her up significantly, almost epicly, because she had to have gained some significant power from those books. But that was the Option of Last Resort, because Lerustah was present and while he wasn’t hired to be the group’s nursemaid, the Council had retained him to assist the party, so blowing up the town of Ironmaster — which is part of his livelihood, by the way — wouldn’t be in anyone’s interest. Lastly, the party really just wanted to let the Council decide what to do with the books, so even if they’d killed Maccath, the Council would have seen fit to return them to the Brotherhood anyway. The net result was that everyone would have gotten what they wanted in the end, except that the party would have gotten in a heap of trouble for striking down a student of the Brotherhood and potentially jeopardizing the alliance between the mages and the Council. Frume would have been pleased, but the rest of the Council would have had second thoughts on the fitness of the party to not go all Lethal Weapon on the situation.
We had a bit of an interlude where we worked with FG and the Party Inventory. The group had a whole lot of gems from Oyaviggaton, and they liquidated that for a heap of gold. A few folks went shopping for some minor upgrades, but overall everyone opted to save their pennies for retirement (I’m guessing).
As I was writing this post, I had to look up some info on the scenario and learned that the place where I dropped the players on the way to Boareskyr Bridge wasn’t the correct location. I’m not sure that it matters, really, except that my geography sucks, because the party will be moving on soon anyway to a place where there’s no ambiguity of location.