Infiltrating Thistletop, part I
- Jargie Quinn, Owner of the Hagfish tavern and retired seafarer.
- Shalelu Shem Andosana, elven ranger.
- The Hinterlands, the mostly unsettled region around Borderpoint on the Battle Coast.
- Thistletop, a strange island populated by goblins.
- Tentamort, a cave-dwelling, bird snatching tentacle monster.
- Bruthazmus, bugbear ranger.
- Kaijitsu Tsuto, half-elven monk and thief.
- Nualia, semi-corrupted Cleric of Eclavdra.
9th day of Diamond, year 54 of the Age of the Great Invasion
- Lucius convinces Jargie Quinn, a retired sea captain and current owner of the Hagfish, to sail the group out to Thistletop. The plan is to infiltrate the island via the "tentacled bird snatchers" cavern and avoid the goblin fort entirely.
- After some initial tension, the group settles to wait while Jargie weighs anchor away from the island. An hour before sunset they move again. A fog has rolled in and it hides the ship from goblin sentries who might be watching the sea. Jargie and his crew navigate the fog and shallows expertly, bringing the boat close to the island.
- Maayan tries to climb up the slippery cliff to the cave but fails. Midge manages to make it, however, and sets a rope so the rest can ascend.
- Once everyone but Lucius, Shiphrah and Kaza have climbed up into the cavern, the tentacled bird snatcher attacks. It turns out to be only the size of a human, far smaller than anticipated. It is still large enough to grab hold of Midge, yank her into the air, and inject her with some sort of venom however.
- Lucius and Shiphrah hurry up the rope while the others fight the tentamort. Midge suffers the most damage but the group drives the beast into a retreat. Apparently it is more interested in surviving to eat again than dying at the hands of a potential meal. Zyindra heals Midge with her magic.
- After hauling Kaza up with a sling, the group begins exploring. They follow the maps they received from Risa towards the temple. They are surprised by a bugbear wearing nothing but a necklace of elf ears. One of those ears looks fairly fresh and is autumn orange. Battle begins. The narrow corridors make the fight a difficult one but a single bugbear, naked and armed with only a flail, is no match for the group. They put him down... but not before he brags about the elven prisoner being held in the jail cells. Immediately the group realizes it must be Shalelu, the elven ranger they had met before.
- The group heads south and then west. Shiphrah has to pick a lock along the way. They find Shalelu chained to a wall in a cell and missing an ear. Shiphrah frees her while Zyindra performs healing magic.
- Shalelu explains that she had determined that Thistletop was the source of all the most recent troubles. She had decided to sneak into Thistletop through an underwater tunnel, plant explosives made with alchemist's fire, trigger them and escape. However, as she was scouting out the best locations to place the explosives she was found and captured. They kept her alive because Nualia wanted to experiment on her. It turns out Nualia has contacted a creature buried somewhere in Thistletop. This creature has the power to make Corrupted, as evidenced by Nualia's new, monstrous arm. The plan to sack Borderpoint doesn't just involve destroying the town but capturing the population so they can be Corrupted as well. Shalelu had time to hide the explosives, though, before she was captured.
- The party hurries to retrieve the hidden explosives from the empty goblin nursery. The goblins, it turns out, have been too busy with Nualia's plans to procreate so there aren't any goblin babies in the small cages. At Nualia's suggestion, Lucius uses pitons to spike a door leading up to the surface so goblin reinforcements can't come down.
- They move north and then west, bypassing the temple and finding the secret passage that leads down to the second level. Careful exploration reveals the "chopper trap" exactly where Risa's map said it would be. Shiphrah disables it.
- When asked how she knows so much about explosives, Shalelu reveals that she had studied engineering and architecture before leaving Vesicule to wander the wilds. She uses Risa's maps to determine the best places to plant the explosives. Five locations in all: the vault chamber, the crypt, the room with the coin column, the entry chamber for the second level and the chamber the star key came from.
- Using her keen ears, Shiphrah determines the chamber the star key came from is occupied. The group plans to plant the rest of the explosives first, then to lure whomever is in the star key room out so the last explosives can be planted.
- Shalelu and Midge work to plant the explosives in the other chambers. Shalelu stays in the vault chamber, the furthest from the stairs, and tells Midge to whistle loudly when it is time to trigger the explosives. Shalelu plans to run after them, triggering the explosives as she goes.
- With the explosives set, the group works on the next phase of their plan. Midge hides to the south while the others hide in the entry chamber to the west. Lucius knocks on the door to the star key chamber.
- Nualia opens the door, sword in hand. Tsuto is behind her with his bow drawn. Somehow, Lucius briefly confuses Nualia into believing he is the bugbear Bruthazmus. She quickly sees through the trick, however and moves to attack...
TO BE CONTINUED
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