Original Game Date: July 6, 2019
The game resumes in The Jaunty Apothecary where Fortune’s Irregulars is dealing with a Doppelganger Plot. Olbryn Barrowshield (Diplomatic Representative of Mithril Hall, but really a doppelganger in disguise) has accused King Harbromm of trying to kill him and two sets of dwarf guards are poised on the edge of battle.
Another One Bites the Dust
The chaos grows as the doppelganger brings magical darkness down upon the room. Switching forms and attempting to flee, Fortune’s Irregulars are ready and take him out before he can flee, his body reverting to its true form.
King Harbromm explains to the stunned company from Mithril Hall what has transpired and presses them into service keeping quiet the disappearance of Olbryn Barrowshield so as not to tip off any other doppelgangers. In the meantime, Fortune’s Irregulars will press on with their investigation. Vorai knows that one of them headed into Southbank and the party decides to start there. They are joined by War Cleric, Arnn Hardrubble, an old friend of Kenrik Hardrubble who wants to see to his friend’s safety.
Tracking the Doppelgang
Exploring the quiet residential streets of Southbank, Ander is able to use his divination to locate the person of the real Olbryn Barrowshield while Aarn does the same to locate Kenrik Hardrubble.
Eventually Ander tracks their quarry to an unassuming cottage with a warm apple pie cooling on the window sill. A cellar door around back is firmly sealed. The doppelgang use a quiet home in Southbank in a residential neighborhood, owned by an elderly human couple, Naomi and Quill Trottimer (both replaced by doppelgangers).
Altogether there are 10 doppelgangers remaining in the gang, 4 are out in the field, 2 are the Trottimers and 4 stay with the prisoners and swap out regularly. There are also 6 cultists in the basement guarding the prisoners (Kenrik Hardrubble, Bryma Bouldershoulder, Olbryn Barrowshield, Graven Larsson (best friend of Darvik Warcrown), Layna Comstock (human female who works for Osman Moonfinger)).
The cultists are lead by a red half-dragon veteran named Volzek, who has two Red Guard Drakes, in addition a female drake guards a youngling in an adjacent room. The half-eaten remains of a few other hatched eggs nearby.
Volzek has a private room, though even he lives rough in the basement. He has a lockbox that contains 50 platinum, a ruby worth 500gp, and an old folded parchment
The Doppenlgang is tasked with ensuring war. They are about to enact a plan to assassinate Mediator Aurum using Layna Comstock’s doppelganger; they want to remove him from the board because his mind has been impenetrable. The plan is to poison his ‘night cap’ of spiced pomegranate wine.
Fortune’s Irregulars fight their way into the home against fierce resistance, particularly from the Cult faction, with the Doppelgangers being held in a reserve position guarding the prisoners. Eventually the Doppelgangers hold knives to the throats of the prisoners when they are the last ones standing and attempt to cut a deal.
The Quicksilver Cabal
Their paying patrons seeming unlikely to fulfill the bargain, they have no particular loyalty to the Cult. In exchange for safe passage they are happy to answer any questions the party has.
They are called The Quicksilver Cabal, and they were hired by a Calishite human wizard named Severin Silrajin who bore a red dragon mask. At their request, they show the party what Severin looks like.
They confirm that a plan is in motion to poison Mediator Aurum, though their leader will try to recall the assassin. Then the Cabal will leave and trouble the dwarfs no more.
The deal is struck and the hostages freed. Saul takes the Guard Drake youngling to try to keep it as a pet.
They soon learn that their attempt to stop the assassination attempt failed, but had been unsuccessful in the end, with Mediator Aurum fending off and killing the assassin. Laeral Silverhand thanks Fortune’s Irregulars and also tells Aesar still be attending the banquet in Roark Kincaid‘s honour at Herald’s Holdfast, she was quite fond of his work.
The Quest Unveiled
Aesar returns to the Heart Room and spends the evening and most of the night reading through the journals.
Book 1: The Last Will & Testament of Bartholomew Boniface. The will: To his ungrateful daughter, he leaves his fortune, may it finally bring her the joy she feels she so rightly deserves. To posterity, I bequeath this story.
The testament: A famous and cocky treasure hunter, recruited by a Dark Sphynx to participate in a Great Contest. The sphynx explains the tale of Acererak, a powerful wizard/cleric of Mask, whose pursuit of power continued into undeath. A malignant being, who in a game of chance with his deity, won a fragment of his divine essence and thus became that rarest of creatures, a Demi-Lich. Mask saw in that moment the byzantine plot that Acererak would unfold and that his madness would threaten all of life itself on Faerun. The mad Demi-Lich had hidden himself away in one of his network of Grand Dungeons, daring any to come and find him. And so Boniface was chosen with the promise of much treasure to be found along the way. Along with his trusty sidekick Heralt the Brave, they dungeoneered and conquered one of Acererak’s Grand Dungeons and procured the first of the Enigma Stones.
Book 2: The Legacy of Heralt the Brave. Already quite old by the time of Bartholomew’s passing, Heralt founded a Holdfast within the town of Silverymoon and with Mask’s help, hid a secret chamber within known as the Heart of the Quest (Heart Room). He made it a school and tried to gather the finest historians and scholars of the day. The Heart Room is a permanent part of the Holdfast, though the current Questor can move it at will to a new random location (though it does not always end up where intended). From among the scholars who came to the new school he chose an apprentice (which became a key part of the geas), a half-elf man named Lorilos. On their first true mission together, the journal cuts off abruptly when they enter a lair said to belong to a beholder.
Book 3: The Brief But Successful Chronicle of Niles Greentree. A young halfling adventurer and bard who found the Heart of the Quest after a divine intervention of Mask, and took up the cause. Along with this apprentice, Desiree Silverlace, discovered the second Grand Dungeon and retrieved an Enigma Stone.
Book 4: The Brazen Adventures of Desiree Silverlace. Many adventures, good monster lore, but found no Grand Dungeons. Apprentice was a half-elf named Robin Longfellow. The book ends sudden and abrupt while the duo is investigating the lair of a dragon.
Book 5: The Exciting Exploits of Artifex Strange. Discovered the Heart Room and gained access after divine intervention of Mask. Artifex was a relentless adventurer who burned through apprentices, sometimes recklessly costing them their lives. However is ambition does lead him to find a third Grand Dungeon and retrieved an Enigma Stone. His last apprentice was Corrin of Oghma, a young cleric who takes care of Artifex as he miraculously survives into old age. The book ends with and Artifex, reflecting on his life in a most poignant manner that brings tears to the eyes. There is a last personal message to Corrin, encouraging him to take up the quest, assuring him that he will perform admirably, though he knows Corrin prefers books and research to adventure and dungeon crawling. The amount of leads that Corrin has gathered should keep him and his apprentice busy for some time.
Book 6: ?? MISSING ?? Stolen by Maximillian de Rigueur.
Book 7: The Life of Roark Kincaid. Took over the Quest after being Apprentice to Corrin of Oghma. Many adventures and attempts to find the right Apprentice. In his youth he is rather haughty and proud, though brilliant and clever, demanding of his would-be apprentices. He recounts treasure hunting with Maximillian De Rigueur, his longest lasting apprentice, as well as his time with Zora Fel and Vosz Draken. Together they found a fourth Enigma Stone.
Roark tells of Max‘s later betrayal, how he had somehow gained access to The Heart Room and stolen one of the journals.
The last pages are a message directly to Aesar where he apologizes, but explains he saw something in Aesar that spoke to him, though perhaps it was the damn compulsive nature of this quest. Roark gives the location of a safe deposit box “containing all four Enigma Stones” in a bank in Baldur’s Gate. He broke off the number on the key (#3481), which hopefully Aesar has, if not, he’ll need to get more creative. He says that Corrin of Oghma had found his passion in books and had done meticulous research into potential locations of Grand Dungeons. He must retrieve it, but Max is dangerous, be careful.