The Old Ones

Long Live The King...
Carrowmore and River Lock, Day 64

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Upon awakening on a bare floodwashed hilltop the Diamond Dogs realized that their destruction of the great Dam had consequences: The entire Carrow valley was inundated and the town in complete shambles. The Diamond Dogs descended towards the town of Carrowmore and met Stumbleduck on the way, after she mercifully spared King Billy during a failed pickpocketing attempt.

In the town our heroes were met by travesty and destruction on a grand scale, and despite their brave efforts to save as many people as they could they still witnessed a rolling wave of death and strife. Children drowned, the hopeless killed themselves, while the truly desperate fought tooth and nail over the tiniest scraps of food. The indefatigable Diamond Dogs managed to save some children and set them up in the Ocular church, while learning something of the situation upriver. They agreed to search for a spoon relic with the powers to feed the multitudes, as well as bring the corpse of the fortuneteller to her family tomb in the North. Kunal met the Kantic captain Snail Shell Zarathustra and promised to scout a navigable path for the great riverboat in exchange for the usage of a skiff and a healthy sack of gold. Upon leaving the town the group witnessed the abuse of the mayor’s wife by another mercenary group, the Old Breed, and scared them off.

The Diamond Dogs loaded their skiff and set off upriver with new companion Stumbleduck and her wolverine, along with the scholar Tzani Spilios and a failed pickpocket with a chipper grin named Wit.

They encountered the floating sarcophagus of an ancient lord, mummified and cursed with eternal vigil over its treasures, which of course they fucking looted. Stumbleduck proved her bravery in the fight against the mummy. Wit and Tzani slowly realized what they were getting into after they ended up in a life or death struggle mere hours after departing the destroyed town. Tzani’s dreams of tenure at the academy were shattered when a wild magic surge swapped his own face for that of Joe’s…..

Further up the river attention was grabbed by a wizardly duel between two insane mercenary sorcerers. The Diamond Dogs demanded their money and moved in to collect, until a giant pike rocked the boat and the surviving sorcerer Koolhause launched a wave of water, launching those of unsure footing into the muddy floodwaters. King Billy was snatched by the fish and dragged into the depths, fighting with his shiv as the life bled out of him. Joe unleashed a wave of lightning destruction on the beastly fish, blowing it sky high into sizzling chunks, but it was all too late for King Billy….

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After this draining battle the group decided to search for supplies and rest in an overturned church on cliff-face, where they discovered the reanimated corpses of the arrogant Old Breed. While fighting against the hungering dead they came under deadly accurate fire from a hidden archer. The group was pinned down until a well-placed fireball ignited his tree, launching the sniper into the floodwaters. Upon examining the corpses it was noticed that each of them had a stylized crow carved into the forehead.

While attempting to rest at night the group came under attack yet again, this time by the corpses of the children they previously rescued from the floating sarcophagus. After dispatching the moaning shamblers they noticed that the corpse of the fortune teller was also missing, and Kristin made an interesting discovery….

DEATHS

Uncountable hundreds of denizens of the Carrow valley, men, women, children.

The Free Company “The Old Breed”, slaughtered twice.

Two emaciated children, killed and then killed again.

An embalmed Dambuilder lord

A giant river pike

Two dueling wizards

King Billy, street urchin and pickpocket extraordinaire, and lord of the Frog Fort.

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Hijacked!
Underground Rails, Days 62-64

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After reuniting with King Billy and receiving some vital supplies from the Clockwork Man, the group descended his great chain elevator past thousands of his previous corpses. At the bottom they reached the auxiliary train, and used the bronze disc to activate the controlling construct.

Without hauling any stock to slow it down, the locomotive rapidly caught up to the Geologists fleeing in the Clockwork Man’s stolen train. The tunnels have been unused for years beyond counting, so the double-decked trains were armed and armored for combat with beasts unknown. The ballistas mounted on top of the train cars were put to use in the battle, as the Diamond Dogs managed to shoot a spear into the back of the Geologist train. While spells and missiles flew the Diamond Dogs shimmied down the rope, battling mercenaries the entire way.

Soon after the group made it onto the train the runaway locomotive collided, causing a great shuddering crash that unleashed some of the Clockwork Man’s sealed experiments further ahead, causing chaos amongst the ranks of the defenders. The Diamond Dogs split into two groups – while the lower team battled through mercenaries and a spreading pustuluen ooze on the bottom decks the upper team tangled with doppler ambushes and betrayals in the darkness.

A doppler claiming to be a friend tricked the party into entering a sealed water-filled train car containing a horrific tentacled beast, which though dangerous proved no match for Joe’s newly acquired electric powers. The fight was not so simple though as at this moment Starovich returned for his revenge, chanting an incantation that burst forth Ash’s parasitic twin from her own neck. Meanwhile Kristin clung to the roof of the train battling giant arachnids as well as Della von Vayle’s remaining men.

Ultimately Kunal broke into the steam filled engine room and foiled a doppler ambush before sabotaging the train and setting it on course for a high speed explosive derailment. The battered and bloody Diamond Dogs grabbed Della’s corpse and drank the escape potion, as their voices harmonized into a protective bubble that brought upon a limp, lifeless sleep……

Deaths

Cordelia von Vayle, drained of blood by a giant cave arachnid.

Starovich, the “Burned Man”, lieutenant of Kutzunov the Geologist, backstabbed by King Billy and his clockwork pest.

2 Giant Cave Arachnids

A tentacled horror, caged in a sealed traincar.

A black sentient ooze of unceasing hunger.

Ash’s parasitic fetal twin, brought to a gross parody of life by the Aboleth artifact.

3 of von Vayle’s Lightbringers

4 Geologist cultists, dead in a ritual suicide

3 Dopplers

11 Mercenaries and thugs, hired by the Geologist guild.

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Those Who Cannot Remember The Past....
Clockwork Sanctuary, Days 61-62

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The Diamond Dogs wracked their brains attempting to move through the bronze innards of the Clockwork ruins as ancient rusting machinery creaked, hissed, and lurched into motion after ages of entropy.

The barbarian Kunal discovered his talent for spatial reasoning as he bypassed many of the dormant security systems, easing the group’s passage through the labyrinth. Joe discovered his own latent energy could provide electrical power to an ancient energy storage rod, allowing him to shock and electrocute his enemies at close range. Ash also uncovered an ancient glasswork blade of Dambuilder make, preternaturally sharp. Kristin sprouted feathers. We can’t all be winners.

After some close calls during a fevered skirmish atop massive grinding gears spewing boiling steam, the group managed to enter the sanctum of the Clockwork Man. His processes were barely functioning after the assault of the Geologists, but with the application of the Deep Energy gems he was restored to a semblance of functionality. From him, the traitorous Old One, the group learned much:

The Clockwork Man was once a man of flesh and blood in the distant past, a researcher at the Deep Carbon Observatory – an immense structure built into the underside of a crater formed from celestial impact. In their studies of the Veins of the Underdark they found traces of advanced civilizations and their ensuing extinctions, going back cyclically to deep time immemorial. In the darkest depths of the bowels of the earth they discovered the Aboleth.

“We give a name to a thing, and the name limits it. There are creatures before names. We are foolish to think they are limited.”
-Clarence the Chronomancer

When all was done and even the nightmares seemed to fade, all that was left of sentient life were the few chosen ones who survived through submission and collaboration – they became the Old Ones, maddened servants of the Aboleth simultaneously blessed and cursed with a form of eternal life and the knowledge of what they had to do to earn it. Their bodies would age yet their minds could parasitically take over a fresher, younger host. In this way did humanity go forth and multiply, their history pulled and prodded along puppet strings by the eight old ones who work towards an unimaginable future that distorts the walls of reality itself.

It was this order of ancients that was shocked to the very core by the Lightbringer paladin who slew The Voice, Octavius Bloatfoot, leaving seven Old Ones panicking at their newly realized mortality. While the paladin did not long survive her triumph, her dying words convinced the algorithmic logic machine at the center of the Clockwork Man to change his allegiance. He used his own mind-trawl on his millennia of memories in an effort to both protect his secrets from his compatriots and to spread knowledge to those who would fight against the Old Ones.

The Diamond Dogs arrived on the scene following the attack of Konstantin Kutzunov, the Old One known as The Hedonist. With the unwitting aid of Cordelia von Vayle he destroyed the Clockwork Man’s base of power and learned the location of the Deep Carbon Observatory, knowledge that in the wrong hands could usher in an age of suffering and transformation.

Our heroes stand at the verge of a great precipice, as the weight of their newfound knowledge threatens to pull them down into its abyssal depths. They have learned the identity of new allies and enemies fighting this ancient invisible war that rages in the unseen places of the world.

But first things first – they’ve got a train to catch…..
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The Spirit Games
Pembrooktonshire and Clockwork Ruins. Days 52-61

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Justice in Pembrooktonshire was under the charge of Tiberius, Brother of the Knights of the Conduit. He decreed the guilt of the gypsy caravan in the death of Jessica Reuter. In two days time they were to be all burned at the stake.

The town was quite eager for justice to be served and for Tiberius to move on, for then the somewhat religiously unorthodox Spirit Festival could begin. The Diamond Dogs set out investigating the crime which involved drunken interrogation, invisible burglary, lakeside trysts, copious spitting, bribes, and much examination of erotic literature. They eventually discovered the true culprit was the Knight’s squire, Faustius. The Knight Tiberius was convinced of the squire’s guilt and beheaded him in front of the entire village.

Pembrooktonshire has no walls, and has never suffered even the smallest invasion. The residents all claim this is due to the protection of the mountain spirits, whom they repay by choosing a Spirit Bride every ten years through the week-long games.

The young couples of highest standing send the hopeful grooms to compete, with the winner being the first to die. His bride is then sent off into the mountains laden with gold to be the Spirit Bride, never to return to Pembrooktonshire. This year’s games were extra special in that two men died in the second day. Two deaths is an extremely good omen, bringing tidings of great harvests to come for the ensuing decade! To complete the games in such a year would require the death of all husbands but one to give thanks for such great tidings. Unluckily for the local lads, the barbarian Kunal competed in seven days of deadly games, coming out on top with the surreptitious help of the cleric Ash and their blood god Macinfex.

It turns out that the maidens were not sacrificed to appease any spirits – nor did it seem the spirits existed at all. The Dungeon Dogs witnessed throats being cut by dopplegangers in a steam-filled cave, filled with baroque machinery meant to mimic a dragon’s breath. After leaving the surviving brides outside with King Billy, the group descended into broiling steam filled tunnels, getting deeply lost in the mountain caverns.

They came upon many signs indicating the passage of the Geological Expedtion, complete with bodies bearing violent wounds. Many hours later in the twisting darkness the group discovered the entrance to the Clockwork Sanctuary, guarded by arcane machines of brass and steam….

DEATHS

7 Grooms of Pembrooktonshire
5 Sacrificial Brides
2 Dopplers
3 Clockwork Automatons
Faustius, Squire of the Conduit

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The Great Northern Road
Wilds and Pembrooktonshire. Days 37-52

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The Diamond Dogs set out on their northern expedition with King Billy in tow, passing crowds of merchants and farmer caravans attempting to get into the sealed city of Flotsam. A certain traveling clothier seemed to take exceptional interest in their journey….

Passing out of the lowlands the Diamond Dogs traveled on a forlorn ancient Dambuilder road to the Titan’s Causeway, a vast bridge over mountain canyons, created with architecturally expertise far beyond anything built in modern Vornheim.

They stopped to help a young Geologist push his wagon out of the mud, only to realize too late it was an ambush. Arrows flew out of the forest while the wagon itself burst open, disgorging armored thugs and the warlock Starovich.

The Diamond Dogs were pinned down in cover by fusillades of missiles, but not before blasting the young geologist into oblivion as he attempted to sprint into the forest. The thugs were brought down with the help of King Billy’s backstab, which saved the life of the bleeding unconscious Ash.

Starovich beat a hasty retreat upon being horribly burned by Joe’s magic, which lit the forest itself on fire, flushing out the young archers. Kristin cornered one but his devotion to his cause was too great as he cut his own throat rather than be forced to talk.

Upon looting the wagon the Diamond Dogs discovered that these geologists were part of an expedition headed to Pembrooktonshire – and these men were left behind to stop the Diamond Dogs at all costs.

After slightly torturing a poor itinerant skald about the road ahead our heroes moved onto the mountain village of Pembrooktonshire, a place of proper manners and upright human folk. They settled in at the “Last Stop”, the only business in town that would serve mongrels and heathens alike, and learned of a bridge gruesomely murdered on her own wedding night….

Deaths

The Geological Expedition, 2nd Wagon:

-4 archers
-2 thugs

Jessica Reuter, the Pembrooktonshire bride.

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The Tower of the Chronomancer
Widow's Watch, Leviathan's Wake. Days 25-36

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The Diamond Dogs found themselves in the rotting flooded cellars of the Widow’s Watch. They gathered up the bizarre parody of wedding clothes made out of human skin and prepared a plan to acquire fruit from the orchard to cook the wedding feast. Things went awry after Ash and Kristin were felled by the exploding corpses of rotted drowned dead.

A deal was made with the Nothic to bring them back to consciousness, for the price of arcane artifacts and the blood of sacrifice. No sooner were the ladies on their feet then they pulled together an A-Teamesque plot to recover the necessary rotten plums while avoiding the hordes of dead. Ash called upon her holy wisdom to turn the dead while Kristin made a headlong sprint for the orchard. Kunal used his barbaric strength to put the escape boat in place as Joe destroyed the remaining bridge with sorcerous fire.

The wedding feast was prepared and our brave party ascended the tower where they came face to face with the withered corpse of the pregnant Hollow Bride, Leliana Ashbury. Upon beginning the ceremony her possessed spirit lashed out in pained rage, resisting their efforts to put it at peace. The Diamond Dogs kept their cool by holding off the wraith and performing the macabre Kantic wedding as dozens of guests tried desperately to scale the tower. When Kunal kissed the bride the ceremony was complete and the land was purified as all the restless souls were tormented no more….

The long journey back to Flotsam was uneventful until their arrival, where they discovered the local burghers forming armed militias to destroy taxed cargo. Flotsam’s independent-minded townspeople chafed under new Imperial duties as well as the Camorra’s dispersal of incriminating documents revealing links among the Felltergrubb ruling class to organized criminal elements in the city. The Diamond Dogs attempted to get some rest at Shelly’s but it seems they had some visitors while they were away – the place was ransacked and Shelly herself tortured and killed. Someone was looking for the Diamond Dogs. Someone wanted their artifact back. Someone was willing to kill to get it.

Not wishing to stay in the town, the Diamond Dogs crossed Leviathan’s Wake with the smuggler Johnny Sausage to find out what happened to Joe’s father Clarence at the Chronomancer’s Tower.

It appeared some sort of experiment with time went wrong, as different floors of the tower were experiencing chronology at varied rates with wildly unpredictable effects. Our group managed to make it to the top of the tower, suffering many paradoxical deaths. It appears that the mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none truly exist….

At the tower’s summoning circle the Diamond Dogs were confronted with two Clarences, both of different times, both desperate to stop the other from completing their task…

When the dust and balefire cleared only one remained, who related to the group the true nature of The Old Ones and those they serve….

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The Dead Wedding
Flotsam and Widow's Watch, Days 17-25

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The Diamond Dogs began constructing a series of Home-Alone style traps in their new forest stronghold, while Kunal and Ash set off for Flotsam to fetch King Billy and Egwene. On the way they encountered Tiberius and his squire Faustus, both members of The Knights of the Conduit. Even though it rankled Tiberius to offer his thanks to non-humans, women, and heathens, his chivalric code forced him to honor the achievement of the Diamond Dogs in killing the woods-wizard Ahmed Noakes.

After gathering supplies the Diamond Dogs set off from Flotsam for an expedition to the East – the Widow’s Watch. The tower’s infamous name was earned after dozens of young hopeful brides watched a whaling boat packed full of their betrothed capsize within sight of the tower with no survivors. The young maidens as a group jumped into the sea, joining their beloveds in death – all except for Leliana Ashbury, who remained watching and waiting…

Crops began to fail, pregnancies miscarried, and servants told terrible tales of what was happening in Ashbury’s tower. Soon the surrounding villages were all abandoned, and no one entered the Widow’s Watch with the exception of the young Kantic men dragged or tempted there to fulfill Leliana’s wedding wish.

Arriving at the forlorn tower at dusk, our heroes crossed the treacherous bridges, drawing attacks by the bloated corpses of drowned maidens. They reached the interior of the manor where they began to prepare the wedding ceremony, all while dodging the attacks of the long-dead bridesmaids. They acquired the Kantic wedding music and recipes from books, the bard Kristin set to playing it on the organ. The music calmed the many former grooms, all skinless and suffering in screaming agony. Our session ended when the group was swarmed by rats and decaying servants in the flooded basement, only to come face-to-face with the Clockwork Man’s former apprentice, The Nothic.

Deaths… For the Second Time

4 Bloated Drowned Corpses
2 Skinless Grooms
3 Bridesmaids
6 Skeletal Servants
Hordes of cannibalistic rat-kings.

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Showdown with Ahmed Noakes
Flotsam and Surrounding Forest, Days 13-16

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The Diamond Dogs hastily abandoned the headquarters of the Tenebrous Hand, its members all dead or mutated into horrid creatures trapped in the cellars. After splitting the loot with the street urchins and examining many secret documents, the Dogs informed Lucky Haribold of the demise of his rivals. Our bloodstained mercenaries returned to Shelley’s giant crab and allowed Grandma Rags to tap into the memories of the Clockwork Man. They saw through his eyes over countless years as he killed hundreds, thousands, in flashing moments and disconnected dreamlike memories:

Clockwork Man’s Second Memory Shard

You see your hands……

drowning a child as water spews through holes on a sinking ship amidst a fiery sea battle

disembowling a feathered priest over the rim of a volcano, while thunder and lightning strike a furious staccato, illuminating hundreds of masked figures

garroting a bejeweled merchant in a crowded tavern, as others look on with hard stares

stabbing a wide-eyed lover, during an embrace

spearing a wounded squire, crying over his dead horse on a snowy battlefield

beheading a man covered in tattoos, and tasting his blood on your lips, as the arena crowd cheers your victory

burning a line of crones at the stake, while a hooded chorus chants over their screams

charging on horseback into a crowd of hungry rioting serfs

pushing a pregnant woman off the back of a rushing wagon, into the blinding snowstorm

punching and pounding an eldery sage with clockwork hands, while colorful birds look on and water trickles from a garden fountain

More recently…..

stalking down a hallway, dusty with motes crisscrossing the sunbeams blazing through the Lightbringer motifs, smashing skulls and eviscerating worshippers who die with prayers on their lips, eventually coming upon a paladin clad in holy armor, striking her down with lightning fast blows from a glowing dagger clutched by brass made animate

Very close now…

You look down at your clockwork hands, and tuck a knife deeply into your jacket. Osbald Felltergrubb, Margave of Flotsam, looks on you with resigned sadness. “Despite my great respect for you, after this day, we will be enemies.”

He embraces you, and his expression freezes as your dagger strikes into his back. You begin digging a grave as a blank-faced man moves onto Felltergrubbs corpse and begins rubbing his hands over it…

The Next Day…

Upon recovering, the Diamond Dogs visited the Imperial Geologists, wherein they found that the geologist himself had set off for Pembrooktonshire on urgent business. While meeting with his assistant, the Merchant Barnabas, Kristin became very uneasy due to his overly welcoming manner and the mysterious smells overcoming the expensive perfumes. The Dogs agreed to return an ancient idol (already in their possession) but pleased ignorance to its location.

They then set off for the tower of Ahmed Noakes, in the wilderness near Flotsam. Upon approaching his forest trail they discovered a sheep clutching a “Speak With Animals” scroll. After a bit of interrogation they heard some baaaaaaaaaaad news: The sheep was the actual wizard Shinebright, and his apprentice Ahmed Noakes had transformed him and their assistants into his animal slaves.

The Dogs fought off Ahmed’s half-orc lackey Guz and his trained wolf-people, as well as two giant grizzly bears. They decided on an all out frontal assault on his tower while Kristin used invisibility and knowledge of secret passwords to infiltrate his treetop fortress. Wolves were incinerated and giant mountain lions battled in a the great treetop skirmish. After being ambushed by Kristin, Noakes himself used his wand of transmutation to give a parody of false-life to his own bed, creating a monstrous wood-splinter breathing flying abomination.

A wild magic surge of course resulted in almost ten thousand frogs spewing out of the beasts wooden mouth as it flew across the treetops smashing our heroes at every turn. Ahmed Noakes was knocked off his steed and finished off by Kristin’s knife – it interrupted his stage of transformation, leaving him a pile of boneless skin and organs. Kunal the Barbarian and Joe used everything in their arsenal to bring down the bed while Ash sprinted across frog-guts-strewn branches to reach Kristin before she bled to death.

The tower was secured, and through searching the wizard’s library Joe learned the true story of the painting he was constantly envisioning

He discovered that he was of The Line of Arnolfini

Despite trying his best, our sorcerer failed to transform the wizard Shinebright back into his original body, instead turning him into a disgusting pulsating mass of flesh. Good effort, though! For his troubles he suffered under another Wild Magic Surge, leaving him only able to quack like a duck when fiercely enraged.

DEATHS

Gaz, the Half-Orc berserker, brought down by a thousand blows.

8 Man-Wolves, two of them with jaws snapped by barehanded rage, the rest slaughtered in various gruesome ways.

2 Giant Grizzly Bears, burned and acid-melted.

1 Giant Mountain Lion, shattered by a thousand splinters.

1 Fucking Abominable Flying Wooden Bed-Dragon. What the hell?

Ahmed Noakes, his interrupted spell turning him into a puddle of sludge.

The Wizard Shinebright, proving the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

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Forgive Us
Flotsam: Days 11-12

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The Diamond Dogs made a connection with someone to fence their ill-gotten goods at Harvand’s House of Cheese. They bought a plethora of breaking-and-entering equipment and moved off in the rainy night to infiltrate the headquarters of the Tenebrous Hand.

The entire block of businesses in the Chokewarren was barred up and locked, doors and windows both. The entire complex of the Hand’s “legitimate” businesses had been locked up for days, but Kristin drank Pilliwick’s Shrinking Solution and rode her mouse carefully under the gates into the courtyard, narrowly avoiding a pack of emaciated and viciously hungry guard dogs. She made her way into the carpenters and opened the door for the rest of the Diamond Dogs, with street urchins King Billy and Azzo the Red in tow.

They explored the complex, discovering secret doors and taking daring ladder routes across the rooftops. In many places they found bodies of Tenebrous Hand members, all of them dead of self-inflicted wounds. Everywhere there was signs of struggle, and rancid black ooze. Upon entering the tavern “The Dog and Bastard”, Kristin descended down into the bar to find a group of mercenaries torturing a wounded gang member. In the ensuing wild tavern battle royale, spells were thrown and furniture smashed while combatants fought for their lives. Ultimately it ended with Joe winning his first wizardly duel by both dissolving and freezing the enemy spellcaster, while the rest of the crew battled a Vornish knight, a Kashviri fencer, and a Kantic ghoul. When victory was assured the group came to actual blows over Kunal’s brutal execution of an unarmed fingerless man. The surviving two mercenaries were tied up. Ashley cleverly used magic to trap the ferocious dogs inside a locked building. King Billy got over his string of horrible luck and opened the Guildmaster of the Tenebrous Hand’s private room, discovering a map indicating that they recently robbed the Imperial geologists. The gang-leader had apparently dashed his own brains out on the fireplace, leaving a note behind to his wife describing how they have tried to contain some great evil… in the basement.

Naturally, the Diamond Dogs descend into the cellars, the scene of a wild last stand. They open the vault to find more riches and treasures than they can carry, but are swarmed by tentacled pale-fleshed suppurating creatures that were once members of the Tenebrous Hand, trapped down in the vaults by the last surviving thieves, in a desperate attempt to contain them. Perhaps the mass-suicide taking place afterwards was the most selfless thing the Tenebrous Hand ever attempted.

The group battled fiercely to hold the gate, while a blazing inferno burned but did not stop the horde of ravenous creatures. The Diamond Dogs rocked the teamwork gang by managing a fighting retreat through the narrow corridors and pit trap, ultimately sealing the creatures into the basement while a battle raged against the recently escaped prisoners.

The Diamond Dogs stand victorious, laden with treasure including another memory gem, a map, and incriminating documents. The things are trapped in the basement… but for how long?

DEATHS

Aggarwal the Kashviri, lightning-stabbed in the spine by Kristin’s magic dagger.

and his gang:
-Feldhaus von Vornheim, frozen and smashed.
-Rossart the Magnificent, acid-burned to a leaking sack of organs
-Ferguson the Ghoul, stabbed in the back of the neck by Azzo the Red

-The Tenebrous Hand torture victim, head smashed in by Kunalic rage.

-Five tentacled horrors, destroyed by the word’s of Ash’s god and the raging lantern-oil inferno.

-Kurt MacReady and many more members of his Tenebrous Hand, transformed into pustulent cetacean abominations or died at their own hands.

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Picking Up Her Trail
Smuggler's Cave. Days 8-10

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The Diamond Dogs were approached by some trackers in the forest. Kunal bravely cut his own palm before shaking hands with “Reiter the Deserter” – this only made it easier for Reiter to apply the slow-acting poison into his blood.

It turns out that Reiter was working for Serevard the Snitch, a rival bandit in these parts. He was hungry for a pardon, and his only way to get one was by turning in the head of Stuttering William to the Legion in Flotsam. The Diamond Dogs had 3 hours to return with William’s head, or Kunal would die thrashing in pain without an antidote.

The crew decided to infiltrate the cave quietly through the bottom cargo entrance, only to end up blasting fire magic all over the ceilings which were littered with carnivorous piercer-slugs. This alerted William’s gang and a running battle began in the cave. After a bout of false negotiation, the Elven hedge-sorceror Daunton descended from his advantageous position to engage in a wizardly duel with Joe. He did not expect Kunal the Barbarian to enter into a frenzied rage and chop him in half with two rapid blows. The archers at the cave entrance were sandwiched between the Diamond Dog’s and Serevard’s arrows, and the remaining archer was stabbed repeatedly in the face by Kristin’s lighting fast dagger.

While controlling the cargo winch in the upper caverns the party was ambushed by the survivors of William’s gang, including Lesgrove, the Blistered Lightbringer knight. He was unstoppable in battle, but his brain could not handle Kristin’s psychic assaults combined with Ashley’s Word of God. The final survivor, S-t-t-t-t-tuttering William himself agreed to negotiate, but the talks were cut short by Ash’s violent ambush and another instance of Kunalic barbarian rage.

Upon liberating the witch Grandma Rags from the cavern, the head of William was exchanged with Serevard for the antidote. The party returned to Emsfall on foot the next morning, while Grandma Rags told them the origin of Kunal’s Spancel – said to belong to the Hollow Bride at Widow’s Watch. After exchanging the remaining bandit-heads for coin with the Legion, the Diamond Dogs noticed Serevard and his crew hanging from the great gallows “Six-At-A-Gulp”. It seems the Legion does not forgive or forget.

Grandma Rags performed a ritual to read the Clockwork Man’s memory gem, where it was revealed that he is a member of an ancient group of ‘immortals’, beings who live onward yet constantly need new hosts to replace their aging bodies. It appears that the Clockwork Man has taken a scientific approach to his own immortality and replaced his own weak flesh with biomechanical parts.

Finally, Lucky Haribold of the Camorra requested the Diamond Dogs presence on a most-secret mission: To infiltrate the headquarters of the most powerful gang in Flotsam – the Tenebrous Hand.

Deaths:

Four piercer-slugs

Stuttering William and his gang:
-Sir Lesgrove, a Blistered Knight
-Kepler, his squire
-Harvin the Fervent
-Marileth, elven scout
-Domingo the Gold
-Daunton the hedge-sorceror
- Yellow Bert
- Karl von Vornheim, squire

Serevard the Snitch
his lover, Lady Bulwyn
his muscle, Reiter the Deserter

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