We arrive in the little town without any further attack from the fish people, and leave our boat and crew there. Our objective is Tessa the Mystic, one of the people on the list of those we need to rescue.
The locals point us toward the local jungle and we make our way through the ominously growling undergrowth following a vague trail. Upon reaching the inevitable cottage, some quick talking is required to stop Jaros killing two tigers that are obviously guarding the place we’re trying to get to.
In the end we put one to sleep, and summon a rat for the other one to chase through the undergrowth. The guardians passed without bloodshed, we are welcomed by Tessa, who proceeds to give us EXPOSITION. At last we have an idea of what’s going on! Oh, and she can also turn into a giant talking tiger.
Turns out that there were once 5 awesome heroes who have since become evil, well, 4 of them became evil. For simplicity and my inability to recall names, let’s call them the wizard (Deceased), the dwarf (imprisoned but scheming), the druid (free and scheming), and the silent one (unknown, presumed deceased).
Wizard went around making people into monsters in the end, Tessa is working on helping some of the afflicted, Dwarf somehow got himself trapped in a Prison Plane, but is working “to destroy the concept of honour”, which ooc I figure is related to the church of heironius(sp), and the chap who attacked Jaros. In character no one knows Jaros has the helm.
Druid is the one trying to capture all the “creatureborn” like skit, snake-man, tiger-lady Tessa, and friends. There’s a specific order to it, two already captured, then snake, bird, shark, rat, and tiger. Shark boy is in the city that’s currently at war.
The silent one “sought to create the most valuable gems ever known, imbuing them with the very desires of the mind.” Apparently they mess with peoples’ heads.
We’re introduced to one of the wizard’s creatures on the way out, a woman who turns into a clawed ravenous beast at the sight of blood. Jaros once again has to be restrained from killing it (he’s bored, the jungle is boring, people turning into tigers is silly).
We move onward and leave the jungle, and meet a couple of NPCs that Skit recognises from the previous party. Apparently the previous party stranded the chap by leaving in a ship without him, but he’s doing okay. The city where sharkboy is at is rioting, nothing is ever straightforward.
After Jaros (with his usual diplomacy) negotiates us past the guards at the city gate, we head towards the temple of heironius, with one of the gate guards unconscious being carried. We get to the temple, aaaand… roll will save. Sevastian our sorcerer fails.
The situation in the city is dire, madness seems to have taken hold of everyone and no longer is it people vs fish people, but seems to be devolving rapidly towards everyone vs everyone else. (Oho! Mind altering crystals you say?!)
We have two objectives:
1. Get sharkboy out of the lower city and to safety
2. Try and do what we can to stabilize the city.
Good? Excellent, let’s go. Wait, where’s Sevastian?
He’s wondered off, that can’t be good, but with the situation so volatile time is critical. We hurry to the lord’s manor, which… is on fire. Without a central authority Aarnel doesn’t see this getting resolved any time soon, the first objective is suddenly more urgent and the latter less likely.
And that’s when Sevastian, who has managed an impressive diplomacy check, arrives with a small mob of people behind him. He orders us aside so that he and his people can search the (burning) manor, and when Jaros tries to reason with him, magic flies. Skit roots the crowd in place, but misses Sevastian who fires a sleep spell at the 3 of us. Guess who gets KO’d? Yep, me. Fully armoured cleric asleep on the ground in the middle of a burning rioting city.
Surprisingly Skit pipes up and offers to help Sevastian, who accepts. Quite frantic, at this point, she dashes INTO the burning building.
Jaros wakes me up with a quick (spiked) boot. Thank goodness for the armour, but still.
Sevastian runs into the burning building whilst this goes on, drawn by a directionless craving for something. He doesn’t know what, he just needs it, and damned if he’ll let someone else get it.
Frustrated Aarnel runs in to try and rescue the crazy people running into the fire (which, on reflection, probably includes him). As usual he completely fails to rescue anyone, but escapes unharmed. Sevastian declares he’s going elsewhere to search. Jaros, seizing the initiative, knocks him unconscious, whilst Skit squeaks about how she knows what’s going on.
Turns out this happened before when she was in a city, which tore itself apart over the course of about a week. The source? You guessed it. A crystal. We fail to persuade sevastian that he’s under the influence, and instead persuade him that the best opportunity to go and get the crystal is in the morning, as it is night by now.
We retreat (grumbling in Sev’s case) back to the temple. He immediately starts scanning maps for likely locations for the (presumed) crystal. Myself and Skit spend our remaining spell slots healing the wounded in the temple, which is when an unexpected turn of events occurs.
The most gravely injured is a half-orc, who upon receiving light healing jerks awake in a panic, and immediately demands his possessions. Someone is sent running for them whilst I attempted to placate and calm the half-orc. His name is Krosh, he was outside the temple standing beside a statue, that’s the last thing he remembers before it all went black. He questions “which side” I’m on, to which I bemusedly reply I’m on no side at all, just want the crystal contained again.
He rakes through his possessions and finds an empty container thing, which an insightful Aarnel realises was what held the Crystal. A passed intelligence check deduces that with the container discarded, whoever attacked him intended the crystal unleashed, with no intentions to reseal it. Whoever did this didn’t plan on holding the city hostage, or have further plans to transport the crystal discretely.
Further deductions imply that given the rebellion started in the fish-people district, it was probably taken there and the effect slowly radiated out from there. We instruct Krosh to rest, and that we will go forth in the morning to secure the crystal.
An exciting end of session #3!