Gloomhaven

Session 4
Inox encampment

We continued on in the Dagger Forest and began to track down the encampment using Jekserah's crude map.  It was well-hidden, but following the signs outlined on the parchment, we found a dense cluster of huts in a small clearing within the forest.  All that was left was to head in and make the requested example of them.

Upon making ourselves known to the Inox we were immediately attacked by guards and archers as well as a Shaman.  While most Inox stayed within their huts we did find that one heavily guarded cave entrance seemed to be their rally point.  Pushing our way into the cave Yuge was faced with a half dozen crying Inox children.  We had little opportunity to contemplate the implications of the development, however, as Yuge also found himself staring down the bows of several archers.  The only option was to continue fighting.  After laying out over 20 of the encampment's adult defenders we began to realize it was time to fall back.  Running through the forest, fleeing the smell of burning flesh, we found more than enough opportunity to contemplate our actions.  

How our actions sat with us must have been visible on our faces as we met once more with our merchant benefactor, Jekserah, this time in her manor.  She handed us our payment with a frown.  "They were thieves and murderers" she says blankly.  "They deserved what you gave them and that is all I will say on the matter.  I do have one more task I would like you to perform.  I require a diamond of considerable size for a customer, but I cannot find one anywhere in the city.  However there is a diamond mine in the southern mountains long since lost to the wilderness.  I've heard reports that it is now overrun with Vermlings, no doubt with some other more intelligent force behind them.  If you can fight your way in and grab the biggest diamond you can find I will give you a considerable reward.  Now leave me in peace."  Jekserah's two massive Inox bodyguards step forward, directing us to leave the manor.

Once outside, discussing our new task, a small voice drew our attention, "She's not looking for profit, you know?"  We turned to see a female Quatryl step out of the alley beside the manor.  She's clad in dark leather armor and holds a conspicuous contraption full of whirring gears and topped with a comical metal piece connected to a tube.

"Argeise, city guard." she says, introducing herself.  "I know I don't exactly look the part but if anyone isn't what they appear to be it's that Valrath you've been talking to.  Sure she's a merchant, but she's up to something far more sinister.  Shes's been trying to overthrow the military in Gloomhaven for as long as I've been here, and we're all very curious about what her current machinations are.  Look, you can go do her bidding like good puppies if you want, but if you'd rather actually help this town keep it's peace and not get overrun by the wilds, I have a different idea.  We'll get to the bottom of Jeksarah's plans and expose her for who she really is."

A great revelry is underway at the New Market when we arrive to purchase supplies.  Investigating further, we discovered the town was in the midst of a pie-eating contest.  A group of large sailors sits triumphantly at a long table on a makeshift stage, crumbs and bits of fruit scattered all around.  A man in the center stands and addresses the crowd.  

"Can no one best our pie-eating prowess?  Step up and test your mettle!"  Being in horrible moods given our conundrum with our benefactor the [[M.O.B.B.B.]] headed up to the stage.  The contest goes well for awhile as we matched the others pie-for pie, but soon our eating started to slow, and the sailors were still going strong.  Yuge let out a battle cry and we all continued to eat.  Pie after pie our willpower cannot be broken and eventually the sailors are forced to concede.  However we couldn't even stand to shake our foes hands.  Our legs were boneless and our stomachs felt worse than they ever had.  We earned the glory, and the prize money, but all we wanted to do is lay down and wait for the horror to pass…

 

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Session 3
Temple of the eclipse

On our way to the location indicated by the Aesther, dark clouds loomed over us.  A light drizzle began to fall as we approached a small temple hidden within the Dagger Forest.  The building seemed abandoned, but once we were inside, we were transfixed by a fascinating sight: an eternal twilight sky spanned over us.  Caught between night and day, the room was illuminated by a strange glow.  A quick survey of our surroundings however indicated that we were not welcome.  Demons of light and shadow set upon us.

After fending off the demons, and collecting a Crystal of Zenith from a hidden chest we breached a door at the far end of the hallway only to battle our way past stone golems that were supported by ancient artillery.  Avoiding poisonous traps and finding yet another wooden chest that contained a sphere of midnight we were able to uncover the entrance to inner sanctum.  

Opening the door to the chamber we found a room stuck between eternal darkness and blinding light.  Two huge demons flanked a Savvas whose chest pulsed with black and golden lights as it stood by an altar.  Savvas' normally cannot master those elements but by the look upon its face, we guessed doing so had driven it mad.  We fought our way into the room as the colorless Savvas spawned additional demons and were able to place the crystal and sphere we found in the outer chambers  upon the alter, which seemed to slow the Savvas.  

With all our strength we drove our weapons deep into the Colorless' chest shattering its core.  Suddenly the unnatural light and darkness was pulled toward the gapping wound, gathering inside it before bursting the creature apart.  The empty body of the Colorless dropped dead to the floor.  The twilight of the inner sanctum returned to normal as we gathered loot, including a helix ring, and left the dilapidated temple behind us, taking the time to stare up at the ceiling, marveling at the impossibility of the place.

Not far outside of the temple we looked up to see a large bird flying overhead.  Something was odd though, its movements were jerky, and there was smoke billowing out of it.  Then we watched as it plunged suddenly into a nose dive and crashed to the ground to the east.  We rushed to the scene to find a limping, soot covered Quatryl kicking a giant winged contraption made of leather and metal.

"Curse the wretched thing!"  He yelled in frustration.  "I thought I'd worked it out, but it suddenly lost pressure in the piston chamber!"  He looked at us " You there!  Wonderful timing!  Help me get this thing back into the air.  There is no time to waste!"  Sharing a look of confusion betwixt us we did as the Quatryl asked, setting the wings and banging out a few dents while the engineer repaired the pressure problem.

In under an hour the creature declared the contraption airworthy and jumped into the cockpit.  We stood clear and watched in awe as the thing began to flapping wildly, sputting forward and lifted off the ground.  Unfortunately, the flight was short-lived, and the second crash wasn't nearly as forgiving, we found Quatryl dead on impact.  Seeing there was nothing more to do for it we harvested the machine for valuable parts.

Being as we were already in the Dagger forest the choice was made to raid the Inox encampment that Jekserah had asked us to look into so we set off in the direction that was indicated by her map.  The merchant wanted to make an example of some caravan raiders, which seems reasonable enough.  For the right amount of amount, almost anything can be made reasonable…

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Session 2
The Barrow lair

The stench of death and rotting flesh got thicker as we kicked past the corpses of our foes and headed deeper into the underground burial site.  Guided by the muffled sounds of conversation, we found our way through the maze of crypts and burst into a small room full of hard-faced bandits, all with bows at the ready.  They were clearly guarding something, we must have found the right place.

Battling through the the four archers we broke through the door they were protecting, which opened to a large crypt littered with coffins.  At the back stood our quarry.  He fit the description, but there was something previously unnoticed in his eyes – a dark otherworldly force.  "Who are you to think you can interrupt the work of the "Gloom?"  A dark energy engulfed his hands as he spoke.  "I will show you what you are dealing with!"

After a prolonged battle with the bandit wizard, in which he unleashed living skeletons and corpses in addition to his archer body guards on us, Krunk was able to finally end the wizard.  Sifting through the carnage left by the battle, MOBBB found a cache at the back of the room containing the scrolls we were hired to collect.  The team couldn't help but rifle through them a bit, but found that the writing upon them was in some unknown archaic language.  One thing that did jump out at us, however, was a map of the northern countryside.  A bend in the Still River is clearly marked as a point of interest.  Contemplating whether we wanted to find out more about this so-called Gloom, we noted the location having decided that the spot could be a point of interest.

But that could be forgotten for the moment.  We packed up the papers and headed back to Gloomhaven to collect our reward.  Meeting Jekserah once again at The Sleeping Lion, we handed over the papers and were paid the agreed-upon amount.  "You know," she whispered to us softly under the bustle of the tavern.  "If you are interested, I may have another job for you.  A tribe of Inox in the Dagger Forest have ransacked a couple of my caravans headed to the capital.  I told the militia, but they have done nothing," she spits.  "I can point you in the direction of their encampment.  If you can make an example of them, I will pay you even more."  She places a crude map of the forest on the table and stands up, her jewelry clinking with the movement.  "Come find me when it is done."

Taking advantage of being back in Gloomhaven we went to the market to purchase additional gear.  "Please, something of interest, sirs."  The words come through in chitters and hisses from an alley in the Ward of Scales, turning to the noise a Harrower dressed in crude robes and a mask emerged.  It held a piece of parchment.  "Something for sirs.  Very powerful.  Just five gold."  We could tell the parchment had designs for something on it, but still – we had heard of this Harrower and it was known for trading in disreputable goods.  We couldn't tell where the parchment came from, and if anyone saw us dealing with it…well, they might get the wrong idea.  Intrigued by the parchment, we quickly make a decision to buy it off the Harrower.  The exchange was very quick and we went upon our way, hoping no one saw us.  Once on our own we reviewed the parchment and found it held the blue prints for a Dampening Ring which we provided to a local merchant to craft for Gloomhaven's Available items.

Finishing our shopping in Gloomhaven the MOBBB opted to further investigate the Temple of the Eclipse in the Dagger Forest.  While traveling we found the route to our destination was less direct than we had hoped, and we ended up taking a shortcut through a small forest.  There we happened upon a family of deer.  They were still a ways off in the distance and hadn't noticed us.  We approached cautiously and opted to watch the deer for a little while instead of shooting one.  We were enjoying watching the animals graze when an arrow flew out and hit the largest of the deer in its chest.  It bolted away but didn't make it very far before collapsing.  Then we saw a large Inox emerge from the brush and turn towards us.  "I thought you were going to do something stupid there for a second.  Thanks for not scaring away my quarry.  Allow me to share some of the spoils with you."  After taking a portion the Inox blessed us and we parted ways as we continued to the Dagger Forest

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Session 1
Black Barrow

Returning to Gloomhaven with our latest haul of treasure, we approached the market in search of a good trade.  Unfortunately, there were only a few visible stands around that were not yet packed up for the day.  

A robed Savvas caught our eyes.  It had a few strange artifacts on display, but we approached with no great expectations, hoping our goods would fetch a decent price.  The Savvas silently nodded as we approached.  It picked through our haul and lifted up a single item, holding out a small bag for us in exchange.  Pouring out the bag's contents a single rectangular black-and-white coin drew our attention, we accepted the strange coin as payment.  Calmly we assesed that the coin may posses much more value than it first appeared to have and decide to research it further.  Heading to the university hours were spent looking through old records to no avail.  We ended the day at The Sleeping Lion, easing the frustration with a drink and loud laments about the coin.

"Those markings are very interesting."  Looking up we saw an Aesther standing over us.  "They describe a special meeting place."  The being drew us a map to the Temple of the Eclipse.  As we thanked him Jekserah, a Valrath woman wearing a red cloak and enough gold jewelry to keep us fed for a decade, approached and offered to pay us 10 gold each to track down a thief and retrieve some stolen goods, it seemed like as good an excuse as any to sober up and start paying off your tab.

"This thief has taken some important documents," said the red-skinned merchant, her tail whipping about in agitation.  "I don't care what you do to him.  Just bring back what is mine."  Based on Jekserah's description, it was easy enough to knock around a few alley thugs and get a location on the thieves' hideout.  You don't find yourself as a mercenary way out in Gloomhaven without knowing how to crack a few skulls.

The bandits hideout was easy enough to find, a short journey past the New Market Gate and we found the Black Barrow jutting out on the edge of the Corpsewood, looking like a rat under a rug.  Moving closer we found the mound was formed from black earth.  Its small, overgrown entrance presented a worn set of stone stairs that lead down into the darkness.

As we descended, we gratefully noticed light emanating from below.  Unfortunately, the light was accompanied by the unmistakable stench of death.  We were left contemplating what kind of thieves would make their camp in such a horrid place as we reached the bottom of the steps.  Here laid the answer, a rough group of cutthroats who didn't seem to have taken very kindly to our sudden appearance.  One in the back matched the description of our quarry.  

"Take care of these unfortunates," he said, backing out of the room.  We were able to vaguely make out his silhouette as he retreated down a hallway and through a door to his left.  "Well, it's not every day we get people stupid enough to hand-deliver their valuables to us," grinned one of the larger bandits, unsheathing a rusty blade.  "We'll be killing you now."  Joke's on them, if we had any valuables, we wouldn't be down here in the first place.

Clearing out the first two rooms we breached the door on the left that the bandit's boss had ducked through.  As the door opened we found ourselves face to face with the reason these bandits chose this particular hole to nest in: animated bones-unholy abominations of necrotic power.  In total we subdued 9 bandits, 7 archers and 4 living bones while avoiding 2 separate traps.  With the last Bandit dead we took a moment to catch our breath and steel ourselves against the visions of living remains ripping at our flesh.  Among the some treasure piles in the last room Krunk found old writings of the mad mystic Morsbane.  The rambling pages spoke of some great treasure he had locked away that would only grow more powerful and valuable with time.  

Staying on task the the target, the bandit boss and the merchants' papers, were not among the dead.  We braced as we descended deeper into the catacombs below… 

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