Sunday, July 21, 2019

D&D 5e [Princes of the Apocalypse] Session 10: My dear guests! Welcome to Feathergale Spire!

Tempest, Blue Dragonborn Cleric Trickery-Domain (played by Jojo, 14yo)
Folax Huntreouss, Human Gunslinger (played by Evan, 12yo)
To-be-named, Aasimar Wizard Divination-School (played by Mummy)

Warning: This adventure contains a lot of references and spoilers to the ‘Princes of the Apocalypse’ campaign. If you have yet to play through the campaign, be warned that you’re likely to come across the same stuff we did.

As I fire up the laptop at the start of this session, Jojo is trying to get Mummy to accept a spork from her character. “Why do I need a spork?” asks Mummy quizzically.

“It’s… a gift! My dragonborn hands out sporks to all her friends! Here, just take it!”

“Riiight. Thanks,” says Mummy as Jojo writes it into her character sheet for her.

I go through the motions of getting everyone to answer ‘Who are you? What can you do?’ and then tell everyone, “So, I take it that you’re all going to Feathergale Spire?”

Jojo says, “Yeah. Oh, where’s Zoey anyway? Is she coming with us?”

“Ah yes, Zoey,” I reply. “Well, you haven’t seen Zoey in over a week. A day or two after the events at the sinkhole, she told you that she’s worried about those Mirabar trade bars you guys found on the Black Earth Cult priest. They look like the ones from the Mirabar delegation that she used to work for, and some of the delegates were her friends. Anyway, she’s gone off to see if anything has happened to them.”

Jojo is disappointed that the half-orc caravan guard isn’t going to be with them. Evan, on the other hand, is more interested to know if his wagon has been retrieved from the sinkhole. I tell him that the humans and dwarves managed to lift out the heavy wagon using an elaborate system of pulleys and ropes. Thelorn inspects the damage to the wagon’s rear axle, and tells Folax that he can get it fixed in the overnight shift. The adventurers agree that they will leave as soon as the wagon is ready the next day.

The next morning, Tempest is on her way down from her room at the Swinging Sword Inn, when she is stopped by Kaylessa the inn-keeper. “I heard you’re going to Feathergale Spire,” she says with a worried tone. “I was just wondering if you do me a favour and..”

Jojo says, “Oh, I’ll check on your niece for you. Don’t worry about it.”

Folax and Mummy are already waiting outside the inn when Tempest joins them. Thelorn approaches them from out of his store. “He looks a little apologetic,” I tell them. “He says, ‘Ah, Folax, we’ve fixed your wagon, but there’s one slight problem.’”

Evan winces, “Oh no. What is it?”

“Well, we didn’t have any more wheels of the same type as the front ones of your wagon. So we’ve fitted another set of back wheels which are larger than the front ones.” Thelorn profusely assures the gunslinger that although the wagon looks strange, it still should drive fine.

“You mean, my wagon now looks like a hot-rod!?”

“Um, pretty much, yes.”

Folax unpeels his tongue from the roof of his mouth and rasps to Thelorn, “It’s perfect!” He tries to stick the Wand of Magic Missiles to the back to the wagon to act as a booster, but the others dissuade him. Thelorn has his workers hitch the wagon to a horse that arrived from the farm the day before.

Jojo exclaims, “We now have a horse!? What’s his name?”

“You can name him. He’s a workhorse, you know, the kind which pull heavy loads. A very nervous-looking workhorse, that is.” They decide to name the horse ‘Mervus the Nervous’. Soon, the adventurers are on their way out of town on their odd-looking wagon.

“Who’s driving?” I ask them.

“Not me,” says Evan. “I’m going to sleep in the wagon! Mummy can drive!”

Mummy says, “Aren’t I your customer? Why should I be driving!?”

“You hired the wagon! It’s like Uber!”

“That’s not how Uber works! If this was Uber, you’re the worst Uber driver ever!”

In the end, Tempest drives the wagon while Mummy sits next to her. I tell them, “You follow the road into the Sumber Hills for several hours, and then come to a turning which looks newly cleared, with a make-shift sign that says, ‘To Feathergale Spire’. You turn into a recently cleared dirt road, and already, you can see Feathergale Spire in the horizon.”

I pull open the Random Encounters chart in the PotA campaign book, and roll the d20 to see what fate deals to us today. A 13. I look up the result, and say out loud, “How’s that going to happen!?” I had the urge to re-roll, but decide to adhere to Tina Fey's First Rule of Improv (Say Yes), and stick with it.

“As you guys go along, you suddenly hear the faint sounds of arguing! It sounds like it’s coming from off the side of the road, beyond some trees!”

The adventurers shrug. “It’s just people arguing. Let’s keep going, but maybe send someone to check it out.” As they look through their character sheets, Mummy says, “Can I cast ‘Find Familiar’ and send my familiar to check it out?”

“Oh, that’s a great idea! The problem is that ‘Find Familiar’ takes an hour to cast!”

“What!? I didn’t know that! I would have cast it way before now!”

In a magnanimous gesture, I reverse game time by several hours to allow Mummy to cast her Find Familiar spell so that she has her familiar at this time. Yes, DMing your wife is a good way to score brownie points.

“What sort of creature is your familiar?” I rattle off a list of potential creatures from the PHB. Jojo laughingly suggests ‘Octopus’, but in the end, Mummy chooses a weasel. Her weasel familiar pops into existence and leaps off the wagon to check out the sounds.

“While you’re seeing and hearing from your familiar’s eyes and ears, you can’t see or hear yourself,” I say. “In fact, it says here that you can even cast Touch spells from your familiar!” We muse that having a cat familiar rub itself against someone and casting Shocking Grasp would be quite entertaining.

Mummy’s weasel makes it way through the trees, and eventually comes to a hidden clearing where there is a large group of about a dozen people. “These guys look weird! They seem to be armed with strange saw-toothed swords, and two of them are these big, blue-green skinned humanoids arguing with another guy in a tattered blue priest’s robe. “It’s been three days since we last saw water!” growls one of the big guys to the priest. “I say we turn back NOW!” I lift up the PotA campaign book to show everyone how the big, blue-green skinned guys look like:

“Water cult,” surmises the kids. By now, they'd figured that they'll be encountering cultists from all four elements soon. “Let’s keep moving!”

Mummy says, “Are you sure? Maybe we should-”

“No! Look at Dad’s face! Let’s keep moving now!”

One of the saw-toothed sword-bearing guys glances up. “Shh! I think I hear someone on the road!”

Tempest snaps the reins to speed Mervus up, and eventually they leave the band of suspected Water cultists behind. I tell Mummy that she can just make her familiar vanish back to whatever realm it came from until she re-summons it again.

Eventually, the road ends at a cliff-edge. “You guys have made it to Feathergale Spire!” I read from the campaign book: “Feathergale Spire rises from a pillar of rock high into the air, the tallest point for miles. Built from white limestone and embellished in marble, the spire resembles a gleaming sword that pierces the sky.” I describe how there is a drawbridge that is currently up. Between their cliff-edge and the spire is a gap of twenty feet which span across a drop that is several hundred feet to the bottom of the canyon. “Near the ledge, a brass bell hangs from a wooden post.”

Mummy rings the bell, and a small window opens. “Welcome!” calls out a female voice, “What brings you to Feathergale Spire?” Mummy replies that she is a guild representative and states her business. At once, the drawbridge is lowered, and the adventurers roll their wagon across. I tell them that they seem to be in an impressive white hall that has twelve-foot-tall doors at one end. Most distinguishingly is a large eagle carved from timber suspended from the far-end of the ceiling, its head fashioned with steel.

“Nice,” says Jojo. The woman who greeted them joins them, and they see that it’s Savra, Kaylessa’s niece. The young woman introduces herself to Mummy, and says that she’ll bring them to see Lord Thurl, her lord commander. She leads them up a large spiral stairway, going up several floors until they reach the very top. I read from the campaign book: “At the apex of the tower, the stairs terminate at a round stone gazebo that continues upwards in a needle-like minaret. Beyond this enclosure, a small lawn grows upon the top of the tower. Four paths paved with white stones point the directions of the compass, each path ending in a pointed stone crenellation. At the pinnacle’s edge is a spyglass on a tripod, pointed downward.” I describe the supreme view of all the whole nearby canyon and the Sumber Hills beyond.

“A man turns from viewing the spy-glass when you arrive. Tempest and Folax recognise this man! It’s the same guy who you met in Session 1 with the owlbear, and then again when he brought Savra to visit Kaylessa at the inn!” The man has white-grey hair, and is wearing armor with feather patterns. “The kids won’t know this,” I tell Mummy, feeling inspired. “But this guy looks a lot like that white-suited guy from that 80s TV show ‘Fantasy Island’!”

Mummy laughs. “You serious? Is there a short guy looking out and calling, ‘The plane! The plane!’!?”

Jojo says, “I don’t know who this guy is, but he looks dodgy!”

Lord Thurl gives the adventurers a low courteous bow. I try to give him a Mexican accent. “My dear guests! I am Lord Thurl, the lord commander of the Feathergale knights! Welcome to Feathergale Spire!”

Lord Thurl listens intently to Mummy’s description of what sort of decorative armour her guild can craft. “Ah yes, I’ve heard of your guild while I was in Waterdeep. I recall your guild making the decorative horse armour for one of the merchant lords.” Mummy affirms and offers to show Lord Thurl some armour designs, but the commander lifts his hand. “Of course, but perhaps this can wait till morning. We must celebrate the arrival of our guests with a proper feast! Let’s go below to the grand hall.”

And with that, the adventurers are led to a large, semi-circular feasting hall. “There are about twenty feathergale knights here, all feasting and chatting loudly. You guys are given guests of honour seats next to Lord Thurl who is very courteous and conversational. Do you guys want to ask him anything?”

Jojo says, “So um, Lord Thurl. I’m not sure if you recall, but we’ve met before. You were attacking an owlbear, and we happened to be there as well.”

Lord Thurl frowns, and then smiles. “Ah yes, of course! The dragonborn who lightning-breathed the owlbear before we carried it off.” He laughs. “What a night, eh?”

“Don’t you think going around attacking animals is wrong?”

Lord Thurl replies, “We were hunting, and hunting is a gentleman’s sport. The owlbear was a dangerous creature anyway, so we dispatched it.”

Jojo frowns. “Gah! I don’t know if this guy is evil or not! I wish I prepared my ‘Detect Good and Evil’ spell!”

Just then, the doors of the feasting hall burst open, and a sentry from the pinnacle enters. He shouts, “Manticore! It’s on the move!” At this announcement, the Feathergale knights rise as one. Lord Thurl says, “We should take this opportunity to slay the monster! A prize for the one who brings me the beast’s head!” He removes a golden ring and holds it aloft.

The kids and Mummy are excited now. “A manticore!? Isn’t that a lion with wings?” I take the opportunity to look up the Monster Manual and tell them some information on manticores. “Yes, a lion’s body, dragon-wings, and a tail with spikes that shoot out! They’re super evil, and like to torment their victims.” I tell them that the Feathergale knights would lend them hippogriffs to fly on if they wanted to join in the manticore hunt.

Somewhere between the announcement of the manticore, and me showing how dangerous this creature was, Evan had a change of heart. “I’ll stay with my wagon,” he says. “You guys go.”

I shrug, “Sure, you can stay behind.” I did have one ace up my sleeve though. I tell him, “Folax follows Mummy and Tempest down to the hippogriff stables which are located at the lowest level of the spire. Four knights are getting mounted on their hippogriffs, while Mummy and Tempest are being shown a couple of hippogriffs which they can ride. And then, you hear the most awful screech you’ve ever heard coming in a barred stable!”

The gunslinger turns and sees a giant vulture in the stable, flapping its black wings and making an awful racket with its screeching because of all the excitement. “Folax, it’s the most beautiful creature you’ve ever seen!”

A passing knight tells Folax, “We’re starting to bring these giant vultures in. This is our first one, and it’s very, very temperamental! No one has tried riding it yet!”

Evan says, “I try approaching it! Is there food? I try feeding it!” The gunslinger finds some scraps of meat, and approaches the giant flapping bird. I get Evan to roll an Animal Handling check, and he succeeds! “The giant vulture snaps the scrap of meat from your hand, and gulps it down in one go!”

“Right! I’ll feed it a few more scraps, and then I’ll try mounting it!” With a few knights watching curiously, the gunslinger manages to put on a saddle on the vulture which is still busy devouring its food scraps. Then, he gets on. “One of the knights pulls a lever that opens the side of the stable into the open, and with a great flap of wings, the vulture is off! With you riding on its back!”

The gunslinger is soon joined by Mummy and Tempest on their hippogriffs. The four other Feathergale knights join them. “We’ll form two teams,” suggests one of the knights. “That way, we can search a wider area.”

I tell the kids that the canyon beyond Feathergale Spire is called the “Sighing Valley” because of the peculiar wailing sounds that the wind makes as it blows through it. “It’s night-time now, but there’s a bright moon. Below, you can only see clouds of mist which cover the valley floor. Here and there, some rocky pinnacles poke out of the mists, and above is the clear night sky.” I tell them that flying out in the night is exhilarating, and for a moment, you can see why some people would want to stay with in Feathergale Spire.

The group splits into two, with the one knight with the kids and Mummy in one team, while the other team of three knights fly off in a different direction. I roll a few d20s and tell them, “You guys fly for about 20 minutes, but you don’t see any sign of the manticore. Then suddenly, you hear a blaring horn coming from somewhere to your left!”

“They found it!” declares Jojo. Their group hastily flies towards the blaring horn. “Suddenly, out from the mists, a terrifying manticore lunges out towards your group! You can see some arrows already sticking out from its hide! The manticore snarls, ‘I will tear your skin off your flesh!’, and flings its tail spikes at you!”

Everyone rolls for Initiative, and the manticore gets to fire off a wave of spikes at the group. Tempest hits it with a Guiding Bolt, while Folax grazes it with a rifle shot. I get everyone to roll for Perception which the kids fail, “The manticore suddenly dives into the mist, and Tempest and Folax lose sight of it! Mummy and the other knight, on the other hand, pursue it into the mist!”

I tell Mummy that she’s following behind the other feathergale knight, and she can see the manticore flying away in front of them. Mummy casts Witch Bolt, but it misses and hits a rocky pinnacle. The manticore dips and turns around the pinnacle, and the knight follows, only to be surprised when the creature springs out from behind the pinnacle and claws him off his hippogriff! “You see the knight falling away! It’s too late to turn your hippogriff around to save him, but you might be able to save him by diving down with your own wings!”

Mummy says, “I’ll do it! Jump off my hippogriff and rescue the knight!” So the aasimar wizard leaps off, and her wings spread out from under her cloak. I tell her that she can see the knight trying to spread his arms out along his sides, “He seems to be trying to activate something on his suit, like wing flaps from a wing-suit, but these are torn by the manticore! You swoop down and catch him under his arms! You can see that he’s actually a young teenage boy under his helm!”

Meanwhile, Tempest and Folax are trying to find where the others have gone. I roll a d4, and tell them, “Unseen by you two, a dark shadow passes in the mist beneath you! Suddenly, the manticore lunges out and attacks Folax on his vulture!” The manticore scores a bite on the gunslinger, and its rear legs claw at the vulture viciously, scattering black feathers everywhere. Struggling wildly, the gunslinger points his rifle point-blank at the manticore’s head and pulls the trigger.

I tell them, “From a distance, Tempest can see Folax and his vulture struggling with the manticore, and then there’s an explosion of red. Very slowly, the manticore’s headless body falls down, turning the white mist into red as it vanishes below!”

“Evan! You were supposed to save the head! How are we going to present it to Lord Thurl if you’ve blown it to bits!?”

Evan snorts, “Well, he can pick the bits of its head off my armour!”

The group returns to Feathergale Spire, and (despite not having the manticore head) Folax is gifted the golden ring prize from Lord Thurl. Then, the young knight who was rescued by Mummy whispers to Lord Thurl, who looks at Mummy in surprise. “I have been told that you have been hiding a wonderful secret from us! Is it true that you have wings?”

Seeing no point to hide them now, Mummy reveals her wings, and the Feathergale knights gasp as one. Lord Thurl himself gets down on one knee and tells her, “My lady, we are honoured to have a champion of the air amongst us!”

Adventure Notes:
Yeah, it was good to have the manticore hunt to end this session. It's important to give my kids some motivation, and I had a hunch that showing Evan that vulture would do the trick!

The random encounter roll was a band of water cultists - but there was no water around, I was initially stumped on how and why these guys were there in the first place. But I’ll probably be able to use them later. I did ask Mummy and the kids why didn’t they warn the Feathergale knights about the water cultists so close to their spire, and they replied that they simply forgot!

It'll be interesting to see what they now come up with given that Mummy seems to have the Feathergale knights enthralled...

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

D&D 5e [Princes of the Apocalypse] Session 9: It’s pronounced “AYE-si-mar”, not “Ass-si-mar”

Tempest, Blue Dragonborn Cleric Trickery-Domain (played by Jojo, 14yo)
Folax Huntreouss, Human Gunslinger (played by Evan, 12yo)
To-be-named, Aasimar Wizard Divination-School (played by Mummy)

Warning: This adventure contains a lot of references and spoilers to the ‘Princes of the Apocalypse’ campaign. If you have yet to play through the campaign, be warned that you’re likely to come across the same stuff we did.

During a weekend away, I managed to convince my wife to join in our D&D campaign after showing her this article ( about a grandma who plays D&D. So when we got back, I excitedly announced to the kids this piece of news. I was somewhat surprised by the half-hearted reception.

“What’s up, guys? I think it’s a great idea!”

Evan says, “Well, it’s just that.. It’s mummy! She’ll tell us stuff like, ‘That’s too dangerous!’”

Jojo adds, “And things are going to get harder now! She’ll probably need us to rescue her or something!”

“I’ll be starting her on Level 2. In fact, I’ll go create her character sheet right now.” So laptop in hand, I settle myself in front of my wife who is knitting on the futon, and start asking her questions about what her character is going to be. “I want a character that has some ability associated to sight or vision,” she replies while casting on a yarn thread. “Is there something like a seer?”

I flip through the options from the PHB, and eventually find the Wizard Divination School. “Well, this sounds pretty cool. With the Divination school, you get the ‘Portent’ feature. It allows you to roll two d20s after a long rest and record their values. Then, later on, you can spend and use these Portent values instead of making a d20 roll. That’s actually pretty awesome!”

I then pull up my favourite Fast Character Generator website ( to quickly generate a Level 2 Wizard of the Divination school. “Hmm. What race do you want?” I scroll down the list of races, and am surprised to see ‘Aasimar’ as a selectable race. Further investigation shows that this is an ‘example’ race that is supplied in the DMG, but is fully playable. Sort of like an inversed Tiefling; instead of having infernal blood, an Aasimar has celestial lineage. My wife liked the idea of having angel-blood, so we now had an Aasimar character. As a character background, she chooses Guild Merchant.

My wife asks. “If I’m an angel descendant, do I have wings?”

I frown. “There is something I read from the ‘Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide’ about letting Tieflings have bat wings in exchange for their Infernal Legacy trait. I suppose we could do the same, and let you have wings in exchange for your Celestial Legacy trait. At Level 2, that means you can’t cast Light as a cantrip.”

Jojo, who had come around to see how things are going, injects here. “Do it, mom. You’ve got darkvision, so who needs light cantrips!?”

Now that we had a generated Level 2 Aasimar Wizard (Divination) character, there was something else I wanted to try. “I’ve been reading up on this character background random generator from ‘Xanathar’s Guide to Everything’. It’s looks pretty cool! Let’s use it to generate your character’s background.”

This is a cool book!

And so, after a lot of dice rolls, here’s her background: Born to a family with four siblings, she inherits her aasimar heritage from her mother’s side. The family lived in a large, but ill-maintained manor, likely a place that belonged to her mother’s side which has seen grander days. Tragically, her mother is devoured by a monster (we did not decide what) to save her children. Her father brought the four kids up as best as he could, but times were generally tough. One other incident of note was when she got lost in the woods, and was rescued by a hedge wizard who recognised her innate magical ability, and taught her the rudiments of magic. Eventually, she leaves home to join a guild specialising in decorative armour as an apprentice, determined to earn enough to keep herself out of a life of poverty. But recently, a falling out with a dangerous adventurer (who was a guild client) has forced her guild mentors to send her away on a ‘business trip’ to keep her out of sight.

Next, wizard spells. Gosh, this was a long list, but eventually, we pick spells like ‘Minor Illusion’ (to help her during sales pitches), ‘Find Familiar’ (who can say ‘No’ to a magic pet?) and ‘Witch Bolt’, which works a lot like the Emperor’s lightning bolts in Star Wars. We also agree that she needs to cackle when she uses it.


“And lastly, a name. What is your character’s name?”

My wife thinks. And thinks some more. “Um, I don’t have a name yet. Can we start without one?”

I shrug. “Yeah, sure. It’ll be hard, but I think we’ll manage.”


That weekend, we gather together for our first session together with Mummy.

“She’s an ass-what?”

“An AYE-si-mar,” I reply primly. I explain about the celestial heritage, and the kids are somewhat impressed.

“What’s her name?”

“She hasn’t decided yet.”

“Then what are we going to call her? A-S-M-R?”

“We’ll manage,” I reply through gritted teeth.

Jojo declares. “I’m calling her Fred.”

“I don’t want to be called Fred!”

I roll my eyes and turn to Mummy. “I think since this is your first session, we should start with how you get to the Dessarin Valley. We’ve already established that you were sent away from your guild headquarters for your own safety because of a ‘falling out’ with a dangerous adventurer. Now, let’s figure out where exactly is your guild headquarters. I think I have a pretty good idea where though.”

I trace a finger along a westward road from the Dessarin Valley map. “As we know, following the Long Road south brings us to Waterdeep, the City of Splendors. Well, there’s this road towards the west, which leads to another city. This is Neverwinter, the City of Skilled Hands. I think that’s the perfect place where your guild headquarters is located, because it’s a city of merchants and craftsmen.”

I fill them in on some background history of Neverwinter, a half-ruined but bustling city still recovering from a catastrophic earthquake that ripped open a chasm to the Underdark. “Aside from your home village, and the city of Neverwinter, you’ve never really been anywhere else. As an excuse for your business trip, your mentors tell you that they’ve received word that there is a group of very wealthy wannabe nobles from Waterdeep who have established a ‘flying club’ in the Dessarin Valley. Your mentors want you to make contact with this group, and offer them services to create specialised armor, perhaps with winged motifs.”

The kids exchange glances when I mention the ‘flying club’, but don’t say anything.

“Can I fly there?” asks Mummy.

I shrug. “Flying is about the same as walking. It’s not advisable though. There are plenty of monsters that fly, and you’d draw too much attention to yourself if you fly. It’s probably best to travel in a group, like with a caravan that’s heading the same way.” I relate how mummy’s character arrives late at night in Red Larch on a caravan coach. She checks her tired self into the Swinging Sword Inn, and goes straight to bed.

The next morning, she comes down and meets Kaylessa the inn-keeper for a proper greeting. “Hi! I’m Kaylessa - I checked you in late last night. If you have anything you need, just let me know!”

“Thanks,” says Mummy. “Um, do you know where I can find the ‘flying club’?”

Kaylessa immediately goes quiet. “I.. don’t have much to do with the ‘flying club’,” she says hesitantly. “What do you want with the ‘flying club’?”

Mummy explains that she’s a guild representative looking to contact the ‘flying club’. Kaylessa seems dismissive. “Guild representative? Are you part of the Lord’s Alliance? If you are, you might find some help across the road at ‘Tarnlar’s’. He sells clothes, and deals with the Lord’s Alliance as well.” I explain to Mummy that she’s definitely heard of the ‘Lord’s Alliance’ - it’s a loose conglomerate of merchant lords who formed an alliance to protect trade. Her own guild is recognised by the Lord’s Alliance.

Mummy thanks Kaylessa again, and heads outside. Just as she leaves, Kaylessa calls out after her, “Oh! And mind the large sinkhole in the street! It turned up about ten days ago!”

“I didn’t see it when I arrived last night?” asks Mummy.

“It was late at night, and you were tired,” I reply. “Thank goodness you didn’t fall in!”

The large sinkhole in the middle of the street now has ropes around it to keep people away. There seems to be a team of humans and dwarves discussing things near the sinkhole. Mummy skirts around the sinkhole and crosses the street.

“What about your wings?” I ask Mummy. “Do you show them openly, or do you hide them beneath a cloak?”

“I hide them,” decides Mummy. “Since my childhood, I’ve found that being stared at very annoying.”

At the clothes store, there is a signboard of a well-dressed lord and lady in front. I tell her, “It’s such a surprise to see a shop like this here! Red Larch hardly seems like the sort of place to have a nice clothing store!”

Jojo says. “You mean, I’ve been in Red Larch all this while, and I didn’t know about this clothes store!?”

I reply, “Your dragonborn’s passed this store many times, but Tempest wasn’t that interested to check it out.”

Mummy enters the place, and I describe the racks of well-made clothes. A portly man introduces himself as Helvur Tarnlar, the store owner. “Ah yes, a pleasure to meet you, my lady! And where might your guardian or chaperone be?”

“I’m here by myself,” replies Mummy.

Helvur tsks. “Oh, but of course! It must be very… liberal… where you come from!”

Just then, a young woman appears from the backroom, carrying a few new clothes. I get Mummy to roll a d20, and explain that this is a Charisma roll. Mummy opts to use her Portent roll of 18. “This young woman gasps when she sees you! She calls you out by name, um-mmh-rmm” I mumble something indistinct.

Jojo says, “I TOLD you this would be hard without a name!”

An old room mate!

It turns out that Mummy knows this young woman from her early days in Neverwinter. Maegla, or just Meg, used to be her room-mate when they were both looking for apprenticeship in various guilds. Eventually, Meg was accepted into the Clothiers Guild, and moved into her guild living quarters.

“Meg brings you to the backroom, and you both catch up on what’s happened since you’ve both seen each other. Apparently, Meg’s family arranged a marriage for her to Helvur Tarnlar, and she’s been here in Red Larch ever since. ‘The Tarnlars were in the wagon-building business,’ says Meg. ‘But their business was going down the drain. They couldn’t compete with the quality of Thelorn’s wagons, nor the price of Waelvur’s wagons, so it was a losing battle. In the end, I dropped a few suggestions that perhaps the business should change to this clothing store, and here we are!’ She gives a proud nod. ‘We are the only quality clothing store for miles around, and I figured that once wagon-drivers and caravaneers have had enough of driving around in the rain, they’d appreciate good, sturdy, trendy travel clothing!’”

Mummy nods approvingly. “She’s got good business sense!”

I reply, “Yes, and in fact, you soon figure out that Meg is the brains behind this whole operation. Her husband Helvur struts around pretending that he’s in charge, but he’s just a pompous snob.” Meg is soon inspecting Mummy’s boots, and insists on giving her a pair of new travel boots. In return, Mummy insists on buying a new cloak as well.

“Have you heard about the ‘flying club’?” Mummy asks.

Meg shrugs. “All I know is that they can be found at Feathergale Spire. Apparently there’s a clear road to get there now, although it’s still dangerous to travel there without an escort. Perhaps you can try asking some of the local heroes if they can help get you there?”

Mummy asks more about the ‘local heroes’, and Meg fills her in on all the juicy details about how ten days ago several townsfolk were found to be part of a secret society who have murdered innocent travellers in ritual sacrifice. Waelvur and Melli have been arrested and Constable Harburk is escorting them to Waterdeep to stand trial. And Landro, one of the tavern-keepers, has disappeared, along with Grund the half-orc simpleton who used to live at the fairgrounds selling pickles.

“What? Landro’s gone!? That sucks!” complains Evan. “Where am I staying then!?”

“You’re still staying at Landro’s tavern,” I reply. “There’s police cordon rope across the doorway, but you just duck under them and sleep on the couch!”

“As for the local heroes, you should be able to find them at the Helm at Highsun,” says Meg. With that, Mummy thanks Meg again and promises to drop in again soon. As she leaves, Helvur starts with, “Oh, nice boots! I hope that Meg gave you a good discount-” and quietens when he sees his wife’s scowl.

I describe the Helm at Highsun to Mummy as she arrives at the tavern. “The place is bustling inside with lots of people. You make your way to the bar counter, and a friendly bar-tender introduces himself as Garl to you and takes your order.”

“Hello, Garl,” says Mummy. “Would you know where I can find the local heroes here?”

The bartender grins. “Ah yes, of course, the person you’re looking for is here! The Helm at Highsun, of course, is well frequented by our local heroes!” He points at a table. I tell Mummy, “There are a number of people at this table, but they all seem to be paying attention to one particular individual. This individual is a notable-looking dragonborn wearing a cleric’s robe. But most notably, she is also wearing... a whole necklace of sporks!” Jojo hoots in laughter and gives me a high-five.

Garl proudly tells Mummy, “Yes, our local dragonborn hero loves her sporks. I introduced them to her, you know.”

“How interesting,” says Mummy. She thanks Garl and finds a place at the dragonborn cleric’s table. I let Jojo and Mummy introduce themselves to each other in character (a real feat for Mummy’s character who still has no name), and when Mummy asks about the recent events, Jojo tells her all about her adventures in Red Larch. Tempest also takes out S'il-vous-plaĆ®t and introduces the spectral sword to Mummy. The spectral apparition in the blade says, “Hi! You can handle me any time!” A brief pause before he realises what he said and he blurts, “Um. Bye!” and vanishes in an embarrassed swish.

“Well, I was hoping that you could help escort me to Feathergale Spire,” says Mummy.

Tempest replies, “Oh, that place. Well, there’s a problem with that place. Rumours are that once you go to Feathergale Spire, you don’t come back.”

“Really? Why?”

“No one knows. Only that when people go there, they chose to stay there instead of coming back. Why do you want to go there anyway?”

Mummy says, “I sell decorative armour, and my guild wants me to try to sell these to them. In fact, if you’re interested in some decorative armour yourself, I’d be glad to-”

I interrupt, “Someone else cuts in! A young woman dressed in gleaming leather armour from head to toe! She declares angrily, ‘If Tempest is going to buy any sort of armour, it will be Chansyrl armour!’”

I tell Jojo, “You know this young woman. After the events from ten days ago, everyone has been celebrating you and Folax as ‘Red Larch’s local heroes’. This woman Chansyrl owns the leather goods store in Red Larch, which includes leather armour. Chansyrl is a walking advertisement for her store, with the ‘Chansyrl’ logo stamped on all her gear. She’s been trying very hard to get you to wear her armour, particularly if you can display the Chansyrl brand logo prominently, and perhaps mention that you use Chansyrl armour when you are in battle.”

”I might be Surprised and Prone, foul beast, but I also have Chansyrl’s leather armour!!”

Tempest rolls her eyes and tells Chansyrl, “Look, I haven’t agreed to wear anything of yours, so go away!”

Chansyrl’s face takes on an almost puppy-eyed look. “But.. you’re Red Larch heroes! And I run a store in Red Larch! Don’t you want to support Red Larch business!?” This however does not change Tempest’s mind, and the young woman slinks away.

I say, “Just then, the tavern door bangs open, and an excited but ugly-looking human wearing scale armour comes in. ‘They’re getting my wagon out!’ he states loudly.’They are going to use some sort of contraption to lift it out!’” I explain to everyone that the town authorities have decided on plans to build some sort of underground street in the chambers recently discovered under the town. And they have to remove the wagon because it was in the way.

Tempest introduces Folax to Mummy who offers to buy Folax a drink. Folax immediately requests for Hag-fish brew, the most expensive drink in the tavern. Mummy offers to buy him a beer instead. “I hate beer!” retorts the gunslinger.

I intervene. “Actually, that’s true. Since Landro disappeared, Folax has been coming here to the Helm on Highsun for drinks. And ever since he complained to Justran, the brewer who works for Garl, about the quality of beer here, Folax has noticed that every beer he drinks here seems worse than everyone else’s.”

Evan declares, “That’s it! I’m not drinking any beer from here! Urgh!”

Adventure Notes:
It felt right to kick off the next ‘season’ of our adventures through the introduction of Mummy’s character. Although the kids did not participate much, they were quite entertained all the same.

This session was definitely a ‘setup’ session. Plenty of potential plot hooks, and I took the liberty to introduce a whole host of new NPCs from Red Larch, namely Helvur Tarnlar and Maegla (Meg), Chansyrl of ‘Chansyrl armour’, and Justran the beer brewer. Let’s toss them into the mix and see what comes up.