Cold Iron

light places salty swimming flock
A Session Summary for our Fifteenth Session

We have been walking for days relatively uneventfully since we solved the mystery of the murders in Shady Glen and sprung Grav from jail. The terrain has changed a little—we’re in a more densely forested area, and when we are on the crests of hills, we can see a large body of water, probably a very large lake, off to our left.

One night, while we are camping in the woods, we hear a noise and wake quickly to discover Nyix gone. The most perceptive of us see a bronze dragon flying off to the south. We make chase (on our way, Kitch fills us in on bronze dragons—they like ceramics, apparently), and as the sun rises we see that the dragon has landed at the edge of a sizeable cliff. Thanks to Nyix’s translation efforts (he is the only one of us who speaks draconic) we learn that the dragon’s name is Ember, and that she has had her egg stolen by an unknown evildoer.

She has kidnapped a member of our party in order to compel us to help her. When her egg was stolen, she tracked the thief to a nearby cave, but she is too large to fit in. There is some back and forth, but of course in the end we agree to help. Nyix is pretty excited about visiting with the bronze dragons anyway.

When we arrive at the designated cave, we assess the situation. Suspicious looking vines hang over the cave entrance.

DESCRIPTION OF DUNGEON CRAWL TO FOLLOW

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fire ran gleeful; realize riches
A Session Summary for our Fourteenth Session

Mark DMed this session

Our session opens on a quite upsetting scene—as the lights come up, our friend Grav is before us seated on a horse, his hands tied, and a noose around his neck. Apparently, he stands accused of killing Anna Farthing, a local woman who died last night under extremely suspicious circumstances. We think it’s a frame job of some sort, but we…well, none of us were there and we can’t be entirely sure.

Gathering our wits, we quickly assess the situation, but the crowd of 200-300 people amongst whom we stand—and the presence of Sheriff Tom standing alongside Grav—make it difficult to do much. Thankfully, when the horse is sent running and Grav is left hanging, he proves not to be a very hangable man.

Still, we have only 24 hours until the next attempted execution, and our friend is less likely to survive this one. We confer and decide: we will be the Hardy Boys, and we will solve this mystery and clear Grav’s name!

We run around the town trying to interview people (as sensitively as possible, since their friend/loved one has just died). We talk to Grav in jail, but he blacked out and remembers nothing. The Sheriff is a real asshole to us, but the deputy, Shelby, offers some assistance in our search. We check out the crime scene, the local saloon, and talk to the father of the victim, who is the saloon’s proprietor. Flint and Kitch speak to him and offer to go say a benediction over the body.

At the temple, they study the body (it doesn’t look like it was a person who killed her, but it is not clear what it was) and talk to the priest, who relates a legend of a sleeping giant under a nearby hill who makes malevolent stuff happen. 25 years ago, says the priest, a young man was killed in this town under similarly malevolent circumstances. We begin to suspect that maybe the sheriff just wants someone to blame so he can seem to have things under control.

Where next? We let the hand of fate decide. We have heard of someone named Django, an outsider like us, who is working as a ranch hand at a ranch outside of town. In the dwindling evening light, we follow the advice of the hand of fate and trudge out there to see if he can shed any light on things (or even will be a little less tight lipped than the locals about other possible leads).

It is after nightfall when we reach the house. The house is dark. We are suspicious. We sneak around, but there is nothing to do but go in, eventually. There is a pool of blood in the kitchen, and a trail of blood leading upstairs. It is not that we are excited about it, but we follow the trail. Upstairs is Django, who had been hired to track this thing. He is clearly experienced, probably a ranger, and still reduced to a terrified pile of terror by…whatever it was. He tells us there is a child upstairs with the thing and maybe we can save him.

We run to the attic, and there ensues an intense battle in very close quarters. It is close, and awful, and the child is already dead, but we survive it and kill the gross giant spider-like thing with razor legs (which is what it turns out to be).

Our friend’s name is cleared, and we head out on the road again, happy to shake the dust of this town off our feet.

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finally! boy touches, please
A Session Summary for our Thirteenth Session

(note: Mark was sick, so David DMed a one-off for the other players)

We are on the road! To Alden! With our new guide Kitchkennet! (Unless I am spelling her name wrong, in which case let’s just call her Kitch)

For the first few days, things are uneventful. With Kitch’s help, we stay clear of main roads, following mostly small footpaths and deer paths and camping at night. Occasionally we follow very small roads or find ourselves traveling through tiny hamlets or thorpes (look it up—I had to, and I learned that the word “thorpe” likely derives from the Old English word “dorp”).

After a few days’ travel north and west (to get away from the major trade routes), we start to travel on roads more and more often.

This morning, we find ourselves walking, under Kitch’s guidance, along the biggest road we have traveled on to date. We see the occasional farmer with her cart or travelers in groups of two or three, but at mid-morning, those of us with adequate perception scores see a cloud of dust in the distance that seems to suggest a much larger party is coming towards us.

When they arrive, we see what it is: a group of refugees from a nearby village. They are leaving the village and traveling in a strange way, with all the women in a large group together and all the men in another group about 20 squares behind. The women explain to us that their village has become a place in which women and men get boils if they come within a few feet of a member of the opposite sex. She doesn’t use the word “curse” because she doesn’t believe in arcane magic, but inside our heads we are all, “RUH ROH!” because we think we know what might be afoot here…

In the village, everyone is living apart, on two sides of a wide wide line down the middle of the village. The men and women take turns having access to public buildings. We try to get to the bottom of how this thing started, but it takes a long time. Was it the fault of Edgar Whack-a-mole, who was angry at Pliny the Elder and may have cursed him? Was it sweet young Halifax and Lurette, sweethearts who recently got engaged? People try to be helpful, but there is not much going on in a town this small most of the time, and none of it seems likely to have caused a weird boil-related plague.

Finally, we terrorize/cajole (it is all very good cop/bad cop) young Halifax into admitting that he might have had something to do with it. He leads us out to the woods, where he has, for quite some time, been meeting quite a beautful wood nymph. Evidently, Halifax has chosen his beloved Lurette after all, despite some dalliances with the wood nymph, and she (the nymph) has taken it out on the whole town. We have it out with her (using our words, although believe you me some of us would like to use more than that) for quite some time, and although she seems to feel she is entitled to the young man’s hand in marriage (having interpreted his, er, affections as a betrothal), we finally wear her down. She will take the curse off the town and renounce her claim to the young man, but only if we dispatch with some pesky wood gorillas that have been terrorizing and inconveniencing her.

We do. Mischief managed! Off we go down the road…

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stay salty; fortune killed peace
A Session Summary for our Twelfth Session

Leaving the Eastern Gate, we head into the northern area of the Willow Forest, known home to the Willow Tribe. As we make our way through the forest, we hear a voice telling us to drop our weapons. Having been advised about this, we drop them straightaway. Flint tells them the Spring Court sent us, and we are taken to talk to their chief, Nutecket.

We are taken to a very cool treetop village, with tree houses up in trees and rope bridges between them. In order to meet the chief, we have to climb a rope. We all manage it but Nyix, who fails the climb amidst snickers. He teleports up, and the snickers stop.

We meet the chief, Nutecket, in the main (and central) treehouse. There is a symbol of Corellon on the door. Later we meet the Corellan priestess, Allowat, who also comes in to Warden Springs occasionally to serve the Corellon worshipers there.

Later, we are introduced to a nice lady named Kitchkennet, who has some woodsy ways about her. She sports the emblem of Evandra, we notice. We are hoping maybe she will be our guide for our trip to…

OMG! A giant land shark just came up out of the ground!

A BULETTE FIGHT ensues, including some rather impressive work on the part of nearly everyone in the party and a some really cool swingy rope tricks to boot. Kitchkennet turns out to be pretty darn good in a fight, among her many delightful qualities. The bulette is finally taken out by a very punchy punch from Grav.

In the end, our help with protecting the village from the bulette speeds along some negotiations that end in an offer from Kitch to come with us on our road trip to Alden as our guide. This is great because we like her pretty okay, she is useful in a fight and (this is really the big one) we will now be able to find our way to Alden effectively without taking the main road, and therefore hopefully without being detected by any of the enemies we seem to be accumulating or other persons interested in us.

Some of us stop by Warden Springs to grab a coupla things or to make cryptic goodbyes, and then we are on the road!

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clever greased finger gorgeous waste
A Session Summary for our Eleventh Session

Recall: We are with the Radical Faeries in the Willow Forest, all waking up after having stayed with them the previous night. We all went off to sleep wondering if these nutballs had any connection at all to real faeries, but came to no conclusions. We thought we’d sleep on it and try to figure it out in the morning, but it turned out there was no need to wait for morning…

Also recall: At the Radical Faerie Sanctuary we all have different names. Scout is “Cloud Fly”, Nyix is “River Rose”, Flint is “Panty Tweet” and Grav is “Crystal Bell.”

Grav, Scout, and Nyix woke up remembering some strange dreams, dreams that at first seemed like the product of some hallucinogenic mushrooms, but later started to seem a little too real. They were escorted by Whisperhiss to several (three) different styles of battles, supposedly as practice. See summary of that session here.

Flint, meanwhile, woke up remembering a night spent in a “love clump” of faeries. Radical faeries. It was a good night, with a lot of the kinds of activities Flint has really been missing since leaving Alden. But there was one moment that stands out to her. During a short break in the activities, Crumpet Sprite (the faerie who brought her into the love clump) stops and asks her about the faeries. Flint brushes it off. Then Crumpet Sprite says, “that’s funny, you know, you almost smell like the Autumn Court.”

In the morning, everyone is still turning things over in their heads. Flint goes to talk to Crumpet Sprite some more. Grav takes someone up on an offer to play pansy ball. Nyix and Scout are invited to a muffin picnic.

Nyix and Scout’s muffin picnic is a bust—although Wild Barry and Olive Twirl say they are from faerie, they turn out to be full of shit. Nyix does seize the opportunity to stuff his bag of holding full of muffins and faerie crap. Jeez he is into that thing. We all picture him rummaging around in there at a key moment somewhere down the road: “Wait, what’s this? Lacy underwear? Strap-on wings? A winged strap-on?”

Grav does well at pansy ball, which earns him some respect and is a lot of fun, but it doesn’t get us any more information.

Flint, though, has a careful diplomatic conversation with Crumpet Sprite and learns that in fact, the Radical Faerie Sanctuary is also the hiding place of the Spring Court. Dun dun DUNNNNN! She sets up a meeting with them later that afternoon.

Later that afternoon, in the Enchanted Glen (a giant willow tree under whose branches a worship space has been set up with a statue of Corellan surrounded by flowers, juice, and other offerings), we meet the remaining members of the Spring Court: Flint’s friend Crumpet Sprite, Willow Dew, Bramble Pearl, and Clyde Periwinkle. We ask them about many things. They are somewhat wary, but in the end very forthcoming.

About the horrors, they tell us “the free faerie folk have been at war with the horrors since before what you call the Faerie War.” The horrors’s goal, they say, is enslavement—they want to rule faerie, and to crush it. One of them wonders aloud: “I wonder sometimes how unified the horrors really were.”

About the other courts they tell us that the autumn court is too serious, the winter court is too detached, and the summer court is “liable to get us all killed” because they are not very concerned with subtlety (adds another voice, “or fabulousness!”).

About the next phases of our journey, and any advice we might be able to use, they tell us that the Alden Guard at the Eastern Gate is under a Lieutenant Stone. They also mention that we might talk to a young man named Lloyd who is employed there. It is rumoured that he possesses some sort of unexpected gift. We also ask them about the Willow Tribe, and they give us only one piece of advice, that if a Willow Tribe guard requests that we drop our weapons, we should do it. Immediately.

We also ask whether the radical faeries might take the Boxen family in, if need be. They seem willing.

We bid our farewells to our radical faerie friends and head out through the woods toward the Eastern Gate. We kill a deer in the woods and Grav carries it to the gate (we learned that this was what the gate had been wanting, and it is giving out emeralds in exchange). We also get a little silly and fun in the woods, and by the time we approach the Gate itself, we are all singing. We ask about the gate, and Lt. Stone, and the boy/young man Lloyd. The guard we talks to wonders why we would ask about someone like Lloyd:
Guard: “Why would you want to..”
Grav (tuskily, but insistent): “We wish to speak to Lloyd!”
The rest of us: peals of laughter

First we go to the gate and trade in our deer. There is very little fortification at the Alden Guard camp, but the gate is heavily fortified. As we stand in line, we watch what others are doing. At the center of the gate, there is a cold iron ring, into which we place our deer and from which we receive our emeralds. Nyix is made nauseous by the ring, but he holds it together.

We are told to speak with the blacksmith, a man named Blackstone, in order to find Lloyd, because Lloyd works for him. We talk to Lloyd, and probably weird him out a little. He indeed has some arcanely magical powers (he took us out in the woods and showed us), but is also pretty unassuming and tame, personality-wise. We tell him to play it safe, conceal his gift, and go talk to the radical faeries if he has too much trouble from rumours or whatnot.

We plan to head to the Willow Tribe next, but that will have to wait for next session.

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glancing water, anal fortune (aka hallucinogenic dream sequence day)
A Session Summary for our Tenth Session

Alix was in Mexico, so the rest of us practiced combat thanks to what we at first believed to be a hallucinogenic dream sequence induced by some kind of radical faerie mushrooms.

We meet a more (that is, entirely) lucid Whisperhiss (Is she younger, before she went mad? Is she not actually mad when she is in Arcadia?), who is standing in front of a table at which are seated approx 10 unusual looking persons. There is, for example, a tall slender woman all in blue, with cold coming off of her. There is a man with the head of a lion. There is a man with green skin and rows of leaves around his face. Etc. We only catch a glimpse. They are hearing from Whisperhiss, perhaps some kind of report, or interrogation?

She comes and speaks to us, telling us she wants us to be prepared as a fighting unit to deal with different types of combat. She mentions to us that some combats include everyone fighting one big enemy, and then we are whisked off to…

COMBAT 1:
An underground cavern, full of glistening pools. We look around and see, rising out of one of the pools, the head of a black dragon.
(Trembley: “Fighting a dragon in a dungeon, eh? Oh, I get it! So that’s where that comes from!”)

COMBAT 2:
Whisperhiss brings us to a more familiar type of location, outdoors on a road with grass and dirt about. We fight two gnoll archers and three earth elementals.

COMBAT 3:
Whisperhiss has a final combat/training for us, in which she reminds us that in some battles, one enemy is more important than the others. We are back to a bizarre location, a giant, perhaps abandoned, temple, with unusual decorations and artifacts. We find ourselves fighting a giant bear and all his diverse and bizarre worshippers. Once we take out the giant bear, all the remaining worshipers flee.

In the end, we see Whisperhiss again, talking to her council or whatever it is. We begin to sense that maybe this is more than just a dream sequence, and just as we are about to try to ask her whether she is having us do some kind of dirty work for some kind of faerie council rather than simply teaching us combat skills, she is gone and we are waking up.

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my girl looks travel silly
A Session Summary for our Ninth Session

(We didn’t get to play last week, so some of us went to see Sucker Punch instead. We all took psychic damage equal to our level.)

Wrap up of stuff with the Autumn Court. We got some rewards etc.

There was a whole incident with Nyix messing with a teleporter. Flint was pissed.

We finally started walking toward the Willow Forest.

First guy we met was a radical faerie, Crystal Violet. He took us to the radical faerie settlement, called a “sanctuary.” We all got radical faerie names, which was a hoot.

Other things happened. Flint got some…and how. We thought these guys had to do with real faeries, then we didn’t, then…oh…we did again.

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clear prick, baby, precious grace
A Session Summary for our Eighth Session

This was the day with the three fights in the sentinel stump

1) Kobolds like crazy
2) Some weird fungi
3) Some duergar and a teleporty thing (also the Autumn Court tied to the wall)

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feeling clear grace, consume science
A Session Summary for our Seventh Session

(We missed a week of this campaign last week when Alix was sick—we played Monsters & Other Childish Things instead)

We wake up at Baron’s House (apparently he is not an actual Baron, just a guy named Baron).

Already by morning, a lot has happened. People had those dreams—is the winged lady in the basement?!?! Scout had a quite informative conversation with a gnome named Trembley—major revelations include 1) that Baron Hauser’s biological mother is fey, a fact that was covered up so thoroughly by his parents that even he doesn’t know about it and 2) that she lives in the basement and that’s what makes his crops so good. Oh man! Crazy times chez Hauser!

The day wears on—Nyix and Grav work on some minimal training for Roxen Boxen. Scout finds Trembley on the roof and has a further chat with her. Flint flirts with Baron Hauser, taking a tour of his mansion and acting real impressed by all his paintings. We have a strategic conversation with him over lunch, make some plans about the kiddo, and plan to stay for another night.

Later that afternoon, through various means, we end up chatting with the winged lady. I don’t remember all the details, although I do remember that we are hilariously bad at finding trapdoors—low perception modifiers, anyone?

In our conversation with the winged lady, we learn that her name is Tarel, she is from a part of Arcadia called Kaldaria and remembers the Blue Towers. She was young (teenagey) during the Faerie Wars, and ended up here in the bound world. At first she was trapped in this basement, but now she is happy there. She feels safe. She cares about us and hopes to help us further. She is happy with all the things we think she might need rescuing from—she wants to be in the basement, she wants to help with the crops, she wants the Baron not to know that she is his birth mother. She gives us some prophecies about ourselves.
“Scout, you will walk with gods.”
“Nyix, you will be a leader.”
“Flint, you will find great love.”
“Grav, you will be great.” (the rest of us remember the more detailed version of this little prophecy)

At this point, it’s time to head out (we’ll go to the stump-o next, then the eastern gate)

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empty riches grace science, sucker
A Session Summary for our Sixth Session

We finish up our conversation with Tallis, and have a conversation of our own. Grav and Scout look like they may not be able to remain in the same party, thanks to a strong disagreement about allegiance to the Blue Daggers (Grav is faithful to the Blue Daggers, Scout now counts them among her most dangerous adversaries) but ultimately a workable consensus is reached.

In the morning, the first snow of the year has fallen. We head to Baron Hauser’s land, where there are rumours of a little girl with magical powers.

We meet that plaid guy, we go to the little girl’s house (the Boxen family, including Roxen Boxen, the little girl, Foxy Boxen, her older sister, and two parents whose names I forget). There is a mob. We are not jazzed about the mob. There is a fight, during which Scout speechifies about radical inclusivity and being kind to our neighbours the whole time.

In the end, we talk to Roxen Boxen, who can indeed do an impressive amount of magic for a four-year-old. The Baron invites us all (our party and the Boxens) to his house for dinner/protection.

Dinner is lovely, and very feasty. Baron Hauser says he hopes to talk about the situation, but let’s leave it for the morning. We roll a lot of insight checks, but he seems like a good guy. We head to bed, planning to chat in the morning.

In the night, we have dreams about that same winged lady who has spoken to us in our dreams before. In Flint’s dream, she sees the lady, goes up the stairs, and she is IN BARON HAUSER’S FOYER!

OMGWTF!

Tune in next time, for the morningtime fallout of it all…

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