Blithering Geniuses

Apparently One Does Simply Walk into the Positive Energy Plane
A plan that worked out surprisingly well

The party returned to Verge with Melethon, promising to try to return him home without telling any lies. Elly sat out the attempt, as she was not willing to directly work against their assignment. Korin told Melethon of the Zern, in the hopes that shape-shifting race would be seen as the greater deceivers and be the first target if the Lumi in fact found a way to the prime material plane.

Jack scouted out the Intentional Chortles of Dimensional Portals bubble, in the process discussing math and philosophy with Blither F.I.R.N. and Blither Geriatric Salamander. By posing as someone inspecting security, he was able to get a good look at the portal to the positive energy plane.

The party then simply walked through the insane level of security, aciting as if they had every right to be doing what they were doing, and occasionally flashing their writ of investiture or telling technical truths. Melethon was about as helpful as usual. A researcher, Blither Jargon Proliferate, wanted to investigate Melethon using a glass lens that allowed her to see very tiny things. Korin and Jack kept asking her questions about her own research, so that they looked like typical Illumian academics.

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At the portal to the positive energy plane, they were unable to talk their way past while only telling the truth, so Melethon tried to force his way past the guards. Jack, unwilling to allow the Illumians to interrogate Melethon and thus gain information about a new plane to conquer, attempted to stab the entity in the back, not counting on how well armored Lumi Crusaders are. The guards attempted to grapple both Jack and Melethon, and in the confusion Melethon was able to escape into the portal. Everyone else was brought in for questioning.

After questioning each party member, it was ultimately determined that the party would be neither punished nor rewarded for their behavior. Korin’s attempt to pit the Lumi against the Zern was seen to outweigh any disobedience or lack of protocal. They gave a full description of everything they learned about the Lumi, and Jack convinced Blither Delveflight into a compromise where the party was agreed to have performed one of the seven services for this study, yet were not given monetary compensation. The Illumians sent out an embassador and a researcher to make contact with the Lumi. Eli had a great sandwich.

Once Jack was released, the party set off again to find their fifth creature. There was a delay where after a day’s travel Elly offhandedly suggested that the horses might have been replaced by Zern, which alarmed the rest of the party, especially Jemax. After having the SaneGuard check that the horses were truly horses, they travelled several weeks North to a remote mountain, where they found a door politely asking them to go away.

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Radical Honesty

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Our protagonists met up in Dawnshadow and took the stone road to Cadel, the capital city of the Codex Hegemony. They didn’t have too much trouble at the gate due to their letters of free passage provided by the Blither Majuscule.

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Except for Jack, who had been there before, they were awed by the enormity and crowded streets of the city. They passed through several Mongrelfolk neighborhoods, and only got pickpocketed once, and that unsuccessfully. At Jack’s suggestion, they acquired a building to stay in by paying the current squatter to leave. Jemax, Korin, and Jack ate canal fish, berry, and mushroom soup. Meanwhile, Elly stayed in a nice inn in the gnome district of the city.

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The next day, after Elly finally found her way back to the acquired building, they followed the seeker stone to a tall building with a garden on the roof. When they knocked, an eye slit opened, and those eyes widened as they recognized Jack, though the person behind the door referred to him as Esser. They party was ushered in and introduced to Spoonbreaker and Unbound, the leaders of a radical group of Mongrelfolk trying to undermine and eventually overthrow the Codex Hegemony. They talked a while with Jack, making Korin nervous as Jack’s heretofore secret alter identity seemed less than trustworthy, to put it mildly. Jemax spoke about gardening and self reliance at length with Spoonbreaker. Eventually, Jack was introduced to Mellethor, a Lumi from the positive energy plane who was deeply concerned about honesty.

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Mellethor wished to be introduced to Jack’s friends, since Jack/Esser was admittedly a deceiver. The party spoke to Mellethor, and most determined that it was unwise or morally wrong to turn this entity over to the Illumians. Elly misunderstood the consensus, and so was not (yet) upset. Mellethor did not assent to any form of deception or deceit in his transit out of the city, not even to save himself, making the plans of the party difficult. Eventually, they decided to have him feather fall onto Attah/Slurk, counting on everyone’s fear of offending the gnomes to keep people away. The guard let them leave the city without trouble, with the understanding that the party would be taking the Lumi to the Blither Majuscule at Verge. The party began the long ride back on horseback (or on a purple conjured mule, in Mellethor’s case). Jack explained his situation to Korin, and the party grew concerned about him as he continued to break his geas and suffer the accompanying sickness. The party is trying to work out their exact plans during the long ride back.

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Gnomes!

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Zimble Warbleclank met the party as they headed out of town and gave a letter to Elly telling her to report in for her evaluation. A few minutes later, the seeker stone abruptly changed directions and pointed towards Elly’s home town of Hagor. The stone road ship had already left for the day, and so the party had to wait until morning for that fast and easy transit.

Elly spent the rest of the day with Zimble, playing brightbonk in the park and eating dinner on the SaneGuard tower, oblivious to his flirting. Jack tagged along and scared the shit out of Zimble (and that’s only not literal because he was paralyzed at the time), who was a perfect gentleman for the rest of the evening. Jamax and Korin ate lots of food.

Elly tried to explain to her companions that gnomish security was necessary for safety, yet somehow everyone else was not reassured. While walking through the Gnomish city on the way to the Dwarven town of Kashda, Korin saw children playing in front of the Home for Children of the Heroic Lost. Most of the children were fascinated by Korin’s bird, but one little boy screamed and accused Korin of being the one who collapsed the building on his parents. Jack was exceedingly diplomatic and so after some brief questioning everyone was allowed to continue on their way.

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Elly was excited to report in and give a FULL debriefing of her time earning favors. Jack posed as her bodyguard. They then visited Elly’s family, where they met her protective mother and racist grandfather, as well as a mass of cousins. Jack was taken to one of the illusion shows and several museums.

Meanwhile, Korin introduced Jemax to the concept of pie, and they bought out an entire stall of mushrooms, which they were excited to see fit into Jemax’s shiny new bag of holding.

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The next day, Elly met Attah/Slurk, the eager/disgusting ettin assigned to her. After some tests of Elly’s skill riding, charming, and illuding Attah/Slurk [SLURKATTAH!], she was told that she had passed her evaluation. A ritual bound the ettin to her and made her charm monster and major image on the ettin permanent. Elly hyperventilated from excitement, then went to show her family, who had a similar reaction. Jack’s ears eventually recovered. The family then went to a celebratory game of professional Brightbonk, which the home team won by a technicality.

Jemax and Korin went ziplining and visited a waterfall.

The party decided that it was time to continue on their quest and met back up in Dawnshadow, the Illumian city next to Hagor.

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!xoon's betrayal and the stressful return to Verge

Around dawn, !xoon (or someone imitating him to an impressive degree of accuracy) came into the camp, wondering how they had fended off the dragon. As soon as he was told that it was an illusion, he offered the party tea. Korin and Elly passed out, and Jack and Jemax, who until that moment had been hidden, attacked. Upon his death, !xoon reverted to Zern form. The party quickly left and pushed through exhaustion to return to Verge as quickly as they could.

In Verge, they collected a hefty reward, reported to the Sane Guard to let them know about the Zern attack, and rested. Over the next few days, they visited the library a couple times, ate obscene amounts of food, researched shaped regeneration, got Jemax regenerated, visited the Griffin Down Lodge and met its proprieter Gesellschein, trained the colorful bird, told wild stories to children, debated whether there had ever been a real wood elf named !xoon or if it had been a Zern all along, threatened guards, went shopping, and talked with Zimble Bomblir Glitzbender Warbleclank.

After they did all they needed to do in town, they set off to the North.

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Zern and Bismount

The party encountered two Zern Bladethralls dragging a wood elf in a net. The group defeated the monsters and talked with !xoon, who was grateful for the rescue.

On Bismount, the spire of bismuth crystal, they found bright red birds that shot out color spray when startled, an effect that was magnified by the shiny surroundings. The party collected almost 30 eggs, plus three adults, one of which Korin had befriended and wanted to train. They constructed some portable nests and took an example nest so that they could transport the collection back to Verge.

On the return trip, they were ambushed in the night while Korin was on watch. Four Zern bladethralls and two Zern attacked, rearranging the very flesh of the party members. The Zern were frightened off by an illusion of a bronze dragon, leaving the bladethralls to fight the illusion and be slaughtered. Elly was rather amused by having fooled everyone with the illusion. Jemax was less thrilled, to say the least, and stormed off angrily.

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Verge conversations

The party returned to Verge to bring back the smelly fungus. They described the behavior of the find to Blither Delveflight. Jemax was deeply disappointed that the extra specimens didn’t make the favor happen any faster, but the party was all rewarded with double payment.

They went to the baths, where they met Blither Yearns-For-Knowledge. Jemax utterly intrigued and befuddled Yearns, Jack made plans to meet up with them later to discuss more, Korin made some goodnatured jokes about Jack’s ‘date’, and Ellie stood witness in awkward horror.

They all went to the Drowned Ettin feasthall and pub, where they met Besser, the tanner. Jack gifted Korin with quality tea, then disappeared to talk with Yearns, while the rest of them listened to Besser’s difficult day taxidermying some bizarre creature. Jemax and Besser bonded over the difficulty of skinning animals and people’s willingness to help with the task as a measure of their friendship. Korin tasted Besser’s mead with whiskey without being tempted to actually drink any. Jemax and Ellie appreciated each other’s knowledge of creatures, in perhaps their first moment of mutual respect and understanding. Korin had the group leave before their drunkenness turned to property damage, and they investigated the taxidermied creature at Besser’s shop.

The next day, they visited the alchemist to identify their potions. Then Ellie and Jack went to the library to identify their magic items. Jack ‘checked out’ a book for Ellie about wood elves. Meanwhile, Korin and Jemax wandered the park, where they played a game of tag, and then the gardens on the outside of the bubble, where they met Krummholz.

The party then all went shopping. At The Dancing Fortress, they talked with master armorer Blither Slambastion, who thought he could create some unique armor suited for Jemax. Jemax’s tattoos were discussed. At Incisive Advance, they spoke to the weaponsmith, Blither Yestermirror, who told Ellie about the reconstruction of the sword of the great Gnomish hero, Fizziwig One-name. She was fascinated by Jack’s sword and its history, leading Ellie to speculate more about Jack’s past.

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Tea Party and The Second Task

The party returned to Verge dragging the tusked beast. They were met outside the bubble by Blither Delveflight, who paid them and asked numerous questions about observed behavior in the creature. She then had to re-calibrate the seeker stone, meaning the adventurers had the day free.

They first went to the brightly lit and brightly colored temple of Torchsong, the Lightbringer.

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There they witnessed the resident cleric, Blither Embertrust, removing a curse from an adventurer, Blither BrainSquawker. BrainSquawker was upset that a curse she had received in the lower planes had affected her friends and family instead of her.

The party was kind enough to awkwardly wait during this conversation, then had Jemax’s eye regenerated. Embertrust attempted to make them feel welcome in the temple when things had not gone wrong, but this was not communicated well.

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Jack demonstrated his distaste for the Illumian god, then left quickly, as did Jemax. Korin stayed to talk with the adventurer, and Elliwyck stood by awkwardly. Korin managed to bring some comfort and perspective to BrainSquawker, who joined the party for food and drink. A combination of Sylvan tea, alcohol, and emotions lead to hilarity, including Korin being trapped in an illusion of a bean until he could correctly say Elliwyck Marigold Wilhelmina Cerisebean, which never occurred.

In the morning, the hung over group left for their second task, this time to the Southeast. They walked among enormous trees that were covered in giant mushrooms. Jack attempted to learn Jemax’s language, and the party discussed Myconids, the mushroom people.

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The party eventually came to a glade where the met several Killoren who demanded a sacrifice of flesh to tread on holy ground.

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Despite Jack’s valiant attempts at diplomacy, the Killoren attacked. Elliwyck had the unpleasant new experience of getting hurt in combat. Jack wanted to investigate the pit that emanated horrible smells, while Jemax insisted on taking a breather. They all eventually investigated the noxious fungus that the seeker stone was pointing to. It dissolved all organic matter that rested against it.

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Jack designed a cart, which Elliwyck lined with glass to transport the… creatures (?).

Elliwyck gathered a mole army to give the pit a sloped side, but this proved unnecessary as Jack had just finished lifting the fungi with a stolen spell of greater mage hand.

They all got sick at various points, then learned some coping mechanisms for the smell for the return journey.

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Verge and the first task

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The protagonists arrived in Verge, where they endured a long conversation with stablemaster Gast and had their horses stabled by Drek.

After passing by people playing odd games with bowls and balls, they met Blither Delveflight and received a seeking stone from her, as well as some clarification about the tasks ahead.

Korin and Jemax went to the market, where Korin tried to befriend the children and mostly came away realizing that Illumian children are bizarre. Jemax sought out all ways of incapacitating creatures.

Meanwhile, Elliwyck and Jack went to the library where they met Blither Tomehatch. Elliwyck read parts of several books of varying usefulness about the lands to the East, while Jack copied maps and acquired a book about how to inscribe scrolls that in fact contained fourteen spell scrolls.

They ate and drank at The Drowned Ettin, run by Rathskeller, then slept in the dorms and headed out the next morning.

After a long journey, they all arrived at the point where the seeker stone was pointing, and found the leg of an elk and a blood trail. There was some confusion for what to do about the horses, but eventually everyone made it to a branching in a large stream where a great tusked beast was eating the dead elk. Despite its remarkable agility, the party managed to pin it down and beat it unconscious. They fought well, though definitely not gracefully or attractively. Through a misplaced blow and incredibly bad luck, Jemax lost an eye during the battle. The other party members responded with varying amounts of thoughtfulness.

The horses were recovered and used to drag the beast back towards Verge, with Korin landing occasional well-placed blows to keep it unconscious without causing permanent damage.

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A Call to Adventurers
(Art by Rasmus Berggreen)

The Hegemony has put out word that it is looking for skilled adventurers to retrieve living and intact examples of unusual creatures outside the borders of the Hegemony so that they may be studied. Divination will be provided to locate the creatures, but the adventurers’ ability to devise safe transport for the creatures is as important as their ability to subdue them, and to be able to protect themselves and their living cargo as they traverse potentially hostile lands. The Hegemony will pay 200 platinum per adventurer per creature safely retrieved, and the contact in the Blither Majuscule on the Hegemony’s border may provide bonuses for quick retrievals, extra specimens, or other examples of exemplary service. In addition, the adventure’s have the opportunity to earn the Hegemony’s favor.

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