As Toby Fare and Quispy pushed onward to search for Janma, the other adventurers spent a bit of time at the Laughing Goblin in getting to know each other and deciding what they wanted to next. Roscoe took a moment to as Fat Mar the waiter if he would want to sell the bar, however Fat Mar was not the owner and just gave Roscoe a questioning look and reminded him he was just a sweaty ‘ole waiter. The owner told him the bar was a family business and she would not sell right now, also with the rat infestation there was no way she could give that problem to a new owner. The new adventurers liked the sound of cleaning out some nasty rodents but the others who had barely escaped with life quickly told them how dangerous that would be.
Instead the adventurers, feeling rested and prepared, went on down the Iron Route to head towards Greenest, looking to catch up with their friend and help him in his quest.
Several miles outside of town the group ran into an ancient, rickety wooden bridge that was in terrible shape. They could year yelling and about halfway down the bridge an orc was dangling from twisted rope by one arm, holding onto a machete with the other. He was terrified and as the group looked down, they saw two crocs circling in the water, snapping up at the orc every once in awhile.
Rosce immediately took action, shooting one croc and wounding it. Seeing how effective that was Amadeus a shot at it as well and watched as it sank into the water. They shot the other croc as well, hoping to at least provide some safety to the orc who was just screaming away. Apparently he could not swim either so the crocs were not his only concern.
After a little chat about who should try stepping out onto the bridge, Barnstead took the lead, walking awkwardly until he got to the center near the orc, and then he slipped and caught himself with his massive weapon, using it to hold on until Roscoe could give him a hand. Lance and Amadeus worked on a plan to get rope onto everyone so they could pull him in while Roscoe danced lightly down to Barnstead, slipped and was lucky when Barnstead was able to grab him and toss him back up onto the bridge. Lance and Amadeus managed to get the end of the rope to the others and started to work their way across the bridge. Roscoe, forgetting momentarily that he was attached to the others leapt on down farther, yanking Amadeus and Lance forward into the rickety bridge.
Meanwhile Barnstead had managed to get up and pull the orc up whose arm was bleeding profusely. He said a little prayer, healing the orc and they continued across the bridge. Lance nimbly made it across most of the bridge until he came upon a large gap that happened to stretch over brush and promptly fell in, followed by Amadeus. Because of their tight quarters they could not see the giant crocodile standing in front of its nest and the other two were debating whether to attack or try to talk to it. The orc, having seen the predicament, ran off like a coward.
Tail twitching and anger in its voice, the croc asked why the group would have saved such an evil being as that orc who was trying to rob her nest. She had chased him out onto the bridge and her children were attempting to finish him off from the river and the group had killed them. She was not happy, but wasn’t really interested in fighting so when the group asked what they could do to make up for her loss she asked them to entertain her. Lance and Amadeus had climbed out of the pit by this point and no one was able to put on much of a show until Roscoe who sang a little ditty about baby crocs.
As he sang, the eggs began to hatch and the momma croc went over to it, and began eating the babies who were snakes as it turned out. The group was confused as to whether they should intervene and decided it was best to just move on.
Farther down the road in the chilly, damp weather the adventurers ran across a delightful looking old woman who was busy stirring some concoction in a cauldron. She seemed very happy to see the group and mentioned that Toby had passed through. She adamantly offered the group her special stew that was cooked “with a little of this, a little of that and a lot of love.” The guys were hungry after half a day of travel and the stew smelled better than anything they had run across before, so after thinking about it for a moment, Barnstead and Roscoe both went for some. It was the best stew they had ever had in their lives. As they finished and chatted some more, they began to shrink dramatically until they were no larger than an ant. Their gear and clothing left behind in a pile, the other two adventurers were shocked.
They questioned the old lady who appeared to have no idea what was going on, and then a little bug flew out of the cauldron and went for the grass. When pressed the old lady said maybe the bug was a fly or a wasp, she couldn’t be certain, everyone loves her stew. Lance went ahead and had a little, hoping to see where the others had gone. Amadeus continued to question the old lady for a few more minutes and after Lance failed to yell loud enough to tell him to eat the soup, Amadeus had just heard a loud squeak, he decided to go ahead and eat some stew too.
A lovely little pixie admitted that she had shrunk them because she was in dire need of help, at which point Barnstead who was a little miffed told her she could have just asked while they were large and had their gear to help. Being a young kid, she had done only what seemed best at the moment though and there was no way to get big again aside from waiting for the potion to wear off. She lead the group to a large crack in the ground where she had accidentally dropped her pixie dust. Being afraid of the dark and claustrophobic, she could not go down to retrieve it and hoped the adventurers could help.
Barnstead tried climbing down and made it a few feet before getting stuck, Roscoe, Lance and Amadeus brainstormed about best options. Amadeus ninja slapped some grass and tried to use a blade to put down the crack and Lance used a little magic to light up the bottom of the crevice so they could see better. After a bit Roscoe grew large again and after the rest joined him at full size they decided to shrink him again and hand in a thread of the rope to let him climb down and grab the dust.
This worked although part way down Roscoe slipped and landed on his butt in the dirt. Having told them to wait a couple minutes before pulling the rope back up though he was able to grab the vial of dust and the rope in time.
They gave the dust back to the pixie who was so happy to have it back that she gave each of them just a little bit to enjoy and then flitted off to her family as it was getting dark out.
The group decided to set up camp in the clearing and as they were preparing, they were ambushed by a group of goblins and an orc! The orc blasted into the clearing and smashed at Barnstead immediately and Roscoe dispatched of him with an arrow while the other goblins ran into the clearing. Two were armed, making it difficult to get a clear shot but after some fierce battling they were killed along with a hobgoblin. Roscoe took some time to search through their corpses, finding a vial of red powder and a marble elephant along with 15 gp worth of gems while Lance inspected the goblin armor to decide if it was worth anything. When asked whether he had found anything of value, Roscoe said no, which Barnstead called him out on so he mentioned the elephant. The rest of the evening passed uneventfully although the group took turns watching out for more trouble just in case.
Evening is approaching as the group decides to go back through the other floors to make sure that they didn’t miss anything. Goober goes back to the room with the chessboard and makes the magical single move to put it into checkmate which opens up a drawer to release a skull. Having collected that and put it on the table the group takes another quick look around and after being confident all has been thoroughly searched, especially the picture of the moon in the dining area, they move up to the trapdoor to check out the attic.
Quispy checks out the space above the trapdoor, a small room with no windows and a single door. After determining there is no threat they all go up and see a table with a candle and a body that looks just like Rivana, the woman who has asked for their help. They go ahead and light the candle, preparing for an attack and are pleasantly surprised when it just lights the space up. After seeing her body Rivana remembers that she was killed by a monster with a pointed tail that poisoned her. Beside her body is a final skull that the group then immediately takes downstairs to put at the table. After a bit of rearranging the skulls are placed on the correct bodies which in turn opens up a secret hiding space through the picture in the wall that holds a small trove of treasures for the group to take.
They return up to the attic to continue searching the space and discover an imp hiding past the small room in a large, cluttered space. With Roscoe trailing closely behind the group blindly, they make it to the center of the space and put up the light ball to illuminate the room so they can have a better look. Quispy darts around searching for the imp who mocks the group, telling them they are going to die. After a search for evil in the room, the imp goes into the room with the body, not wanting an unfair fight.
They see a door at the other end of the room with a metal keyhole and just happen to have found a key in the safe that fits perfectly. The group sends Quispy in who sees a basic wizard lair with a bookshelf, chest and table with random ingredients laid out. There is a round table too. The group steps in and Roscoe and Goober attempt to open the chest and fail on the first round but Roscoe takes a second try and manages to get it open. Inside they find some goodies and as Quispy finds that there is nothing interesting on the bookshelf he flies towards the table, disappearing as he nears it to an ethereal plane where he sees an enraged, hungry zombie who is dressed like a wizard.
The group sees Quispy disappear and takes a closer look at the table which is holding a wand that looks kind of like a unicorn horn. Goober picks it up and as he does, all the magic in the house related to the wand disappears. Even Quispy reappears in the space no worse for wear. Having cleared out the magic, Rivana has disappeared and the gang decides to keep the house for themselves so they don’t have to continue staying at the inn. They immediately head back to town as the rhino also has disappeared where they hire some help to clean the house and maintain it for 40 gp a month (per player).
Goober heads to the Cracked Crown Inn, surprised that nothing has been heard from his contact, the innkeeper seems to think she is deep undercover or dead and recommends he head out west to check on her.
The others head to the store to trade in gold for goodies and sell their junk. Roscoe then takes a moment to check in with Robin the Hood to find out that a young boy ran off with some dust of dryness that needs to be returned to its owner asap. The kid was last seen going into the Laughing Goblin Inn.
Meanwhile Barnstead takes a moment to pop by the temple where the priest tells him about an old ruin several days west of town that may have items of interest for his temple and war on orc kind. He also says he could use help in restored some of the older parts of this temple to get it back into pristine shape which Barnstead says he would be happy to help with.
As they meet back up, Barnstead points out the fliers they have been seeing where Yovir has been needing some help at the graveyard but Roscoe says they need to stop at the Inn first. The barkeeper tells them that she hasn’t seen anyone however they are welcome to go downstairs and see.
They send Quispy down the trapdoor and he doesn’t see anything concerning so the whole group heads down to be ambushed by a gang of hungry rats of a variety of sorts. It is dark but Roscoe manages to aim true based on the sound of scurrying rats and gets a good shot in here and there. Goober uses his wicked Eldritich blast to show some rats a thing or two and after enjoying a rat meal himself, Quispy finds himself on the teethy end of a rat entering his stomach in chunks. Barnstead gets off to a rocky start with some hits coming up short and a couple rats take advantage by trying to eat his head. He threw them off easily however and finally gets some smashing success, helping to clear the small area of the vermin.
In the thick green lighting, Goober decides to get a closer look of the giant statue standing by the altar. It is in the pool on a stand that makes it appear to be floating but blood had gotten into the water and touched the bottom of the statue. On inspection the group determines that the statue is actually made from jade so it is very valuable but weighs about a ton so taking it with them is not realistic. They go ahead and continue down the cave pathway to a closed door that Goober’s quasit had located on a scouting mission. It appears to have collapsed on itself a bit and the group has to go through some effort to get a hole smashed in to see what is on the other side.
After meager attempts by Barnstead and Goober, Roscoe ninja kicks a hole big enough for them to crawl through. Barnstead peeks his head through the doorway and sees a couple guards and an altar. Determining that it is safe, they all climb through to chat with the guards who appear to work for the Black Fist. Among them is Sergeant Grim who has been missing. They all are clearly starving and were resigned to dying in the room as the collapse had made it impossible to get out. With help from the adventurers the soldiers get out of the room and wait for them to lead the group out of the temple.
The group takes a quick glance around the cavern the soldiers had been stuck in and they see two more of the large statues of the demon figure although these are made from stone rather than jade. In the center of the room is an older altar that has a representation of Tyr on the center. There were also a couple of bags full of trinkets left on the ground that the group decides not to take along. They spend a bit of time destroying the demon figures in an attempt to remove the evil vibe from the temple. They successfully get the guards out of the cavern, Barnstead even gives them some food since they were starving.
The group determines that the guards should be turned over to Leila at the Black Fist for debriefing so they all hop onto the ferry where Karst the ferryman was waiting for them. As the ferry hit the midway point of the journey the beacon at Sokol Keep suddenly turns on.
Leila is very appreciative of the adventurers success although none of them can say how they got the light working again. Sergeant Hurn appears to grab the guards and leaves with them in tow. Leila offers the adventurers gold for their work and sends them on their way.
Immediately after leaving the office Roscoe tells the group he needs to take a walk and goes in search of his contact at Robin the Hood. Olisara Lightsong happily takes Igan’s journal mentioning that it will be returned to the rightful owner, even though Igan is dead. Roscoe then heads back to the Laughing Goblin Inn for some ale, conversation and sleep. Goober takes advantage of the group separating to stop by the Cracked Crown Inn to see if Jamna Gleamsilver had left any assignments for him. The proprietor of the inn let him know that she had not and had actually left town for Greenest on a mission so she would be gone for awhile. He decides to stay for the evening, heading back to the Laughing Goblin Inn in the morning after a morning visit from the Cracked Crown proprietor for entertainment.
Barnstead used his free time to head out to a small temple in town that worships Moradin. The temple had a couple of acolytes praying, some clerics cleaning and the priest up front worshipping at the altar. The temple is pristine but the majority of the visitors appear to be dwarves. After a bit Barnstead heads back to the Laughing Goblin Inn to meet with the group.
As morning breaks the group stops by the magic shop to find out about the wand they found of Igan’s. It turns out to be a wand of magic detection so they decide to keep it. The shopkeeper asks Goober about Janma and seems concerned that she left town without stopping by the shop first. Goober relays the information to the inn as the group heads back to the Laughing Goblin in and then meets them to decide what they want to do next.
As they sit back and drink ale Goober notices a lovely bard singing in the corner and goes over to say hello. She tells him the house she had been staying at has become unsafe and asks if he would be willing to go and clear out the magic stuff so she could continue living in peace. He heads back to the table with her and convinces the other guys that it wouldn’t take too long as Barnstead wants to go visit Yovir at the cemetery. So they all head south for about an hour to come across a fantastic three story manor.
The house has a stone wall surrounding it that has been overgrown with vines but the group makes their way to the front door that when tapped with the magic detection wand lights up, leading the group to believe that it may be tricky to enter. From behind them on the path they had created they hear loud snorting and feel the ground vibrate as a giant black rhino stomps angrily.
In a panic they open the door, finding out that it was not locked or blocked by any magic after all. They close the door behind them to keep the rhino out and take a look around. A loud booming coming from a room under a stairwell draws attention and they go over to try to open up the door. With each attempt the door is slammed back shut again until they finally get a good grip and yank it open. There was nothing in the room except a skull that on close inspection had a symbol carved in its head that represented the waxing crescent moon. Goober goes ahead and picks it up to take it with them and heads across the space a small parlor with a jar of glowing violet liquid set on a table. He takes a sip to see if it is good and his tongue glows for a minute. Roscoe pours the rest of the liquid into his flask to save it in case they need it. Goober sent his quasit ahead to scope out a couple rooms, he finds a dining space with headless skeletons, a parlor with a chess game going and a room with lovely butterfly decor including a jar with three live butterflies that also held a luxurious looking yellow gem. The group takes a closer look in the dining room where Roscoe grabs up some cutlery and candelabras to take back to town and they uncover eight platters, all of which are empty except one that had a skull with a third quarter moon symbol on it.
They continue on to glance at the room with the chess table that appears to have an active game going on but the only other thing of value in that space was a large black vase that was empty. The group heads to the butterfly room to see about taking the gem and as they lift up the jar, trying to contain the butterflies while getting the gem, the butterflies slide out and begin expanding to about four feet each. They immediately attack and the group has to defend itself against vicious proboscis attacks. The butterflies impale Goober’s quasit only to end up smashed to smithereens.
After checking to make sure all the butterfly atrocities were completely laid to rest Roscoe and Barnstead take a more in depth look around the room to make sure there is nothing of import. Goober and quasit go to have a sit down in the chess room for a bit. Upon inspection Barnstead locates a wand that looks like a generic stick to both him and Roscoe but they take it along anyhow.
They decide to go check out the kitchen at the end of the hallway which appears to have a door that leads into another room, along with a staircase to the second floor and an exit from the house. Amongst all the dusty and old food items laying around they see a bowl with three vibrantly colored apples that look enticing, however they are a bit concerned about taking them. While thinking about them the adventurers take a look around finding some interesting potions and some jars of jam and preserves. They check out a pantry to find that it is pitch black and they can’t see inside at all.
Roscoe makes an attempt to push Rivana through the doorway after an arrow disappears, forgetting for a moment that she was a corporeal being. Around this time Barnstead sees a shelf with some jars that a skull is hiding behind so he pulls it out to see if it is one they are looking for. Goober comes back in with quasit around this time, catching up on the activities. He volunteers to run the skull to the dining area and takes a peek into the room next door only to see that it is a dining room. Each of the adventurers decides to check out the room more closely, finally noticing that there are about a dozen rat statues hanging out around moldy food.
As Quispy the quasit enters the room, the rats transform to life and go into immediate attack mode as they are so hungry! After a smashing first round ending in the crushing of a few of the rats, the adventurers begin turning to stone…..with each continuing round of attacks random groups of rats and heroes turn to stone, making it a little trickier to get rid of the raging rodents. After a close call at the very end of battle everyone slides through while maintaining their human form. They decide then to head upstairs and see what other magical adventures they may find.
As the group gets to the hallway they feel a bit of a breeze and Goober sends Quispy on down to check out what is down there who makes it about halfway before he finds that the wind has picked up and blown him all the way back to the staircase. After a couple extra tries and no success, the adventurers decide to take a look in a different direction to see if there is anything they can use to get down the hallway.
Barnstead confidently walks into what appears to have been a bathroom that water is coming from the ceiling through like rain though it isn’t accumulating. As he goes to look closer there is a tub full of water that a massive frog leaps out of, unleashing a pink gooey tongue in an attempt to suck Barnstead in, but misses. Roscoe immediately puts an arrow through its head killing it instantly and then leaps over to grab the frog and slice it all the way open to see if there are any goodies inside. There is some currency so he grabs it and leaves the frog corpse prone on the floor. Barnstead and Quispy notice a skull in the tub that they pull out to add to the collection.
They then enter what looks like to be a dressing room with a lovely table holding a mirror and Goober excitedly grabs a fantastic looking cloak, draping it around his shoulders he looks into his shimmering reflection in the mirror and promptly goes blind. Roscoe assumes that the mirror is the reason and tells Goober so. Fortunately Quispy can see for him so they work out a team system to get to the next space. They see a small closet and Barnstead heads right in, seeing a pile of small gems that Goober scoops up real quick as his vision has recently returned. Barnstead then takes a couple good wallops to the wall and breaks a hole to enter another closet. As he steps into this space he feels something crawl over his foot and Goober, Quispy and Roscoe see Barnstead completely disappear from sight. He can still be heard and doesn’t seem to be hurt or anything so the others join him, each disappearing in turn as well.
They leave the closet from the doorway and enter a guest style bedroom where Roscoe notices a large globe lighting up the room with what appears to be a firey inferno. He grabs a blanket to pick it up after determining that it was super hot and the group decides to take it down to the pantry and see if it can light up that space. It works effectively and they find some regular pantry items along with a barrel of beer and a gem.
They then head back upstairs following the path they were on before and head to the next guest room space and find that as they cross the room they become 1/12th of the size they were before. Quispy checks out a chest as a giant centipede slithers out from under the bed, hungry and ready for a snack. He fails to get a bite in and gets crushed! Barnstead and Quispy manage to drag the chest out of the room so they can open it up and after successfully picking the lock they find another skull in the chest. Upon lifting the skull, a bunch of gold falls out too.
The group crosses into a library and takes a look around, Roscoe investigates a massive desk with three drawers while Goober keeps an eye on a set of armor in the corner, staying ready for anything. Roscoe finds some interesting goodies including another skull and a magnifying glass while Barnstead decides to put on the armor so he can be seen. Goober nicely helps cram him into it.
The group uses pitons to get past the rest of the crazy windy hallway and decides to take a short rest before moving up the stairwell to the next floor.