The Motley Too received intel from Jandove and Delphine's Gnome Gnetwork regarding a Dwarven Blacksmithy that can provide the coldsteel weaponry they need to fight Crulicar. The Smithy is in Rowan Dee, so the group sets out, heading generally East and South.
First Encounter: A man claiming to be part of a merchant caravan asks the party for help. The group agrees, but it turns out to be an ambush by Orgothic shock troops, apparently a rogue element of the Orgoth government.
Second Encounter: A strange gnomish creature (actually a fey dwarf) is found crying on the top of the hill. Asks the party to put his shoes on. Jandove agrees to help. He tells them to "tell the thorns" his name - Glumby - and goes on his way.
Third Encounter: An old woman asks Theodore Dobbins for his Staff of the Wasp in return for a freshly baked apple cake. She declines alternate proposals for help in lieu of the Staff. Dobbins refuses to give up the staff.
Fourth Encounter: Outside of a small town, another fey dwarf asks for help paying off his exorbitant bar tab. The party refuses.
Fifth Encounter: A troll demands payment for the use of his bridge (actually just a log). Adarra tricks the troll into demonstrating the worth of his bridge, allowing all of the party to cross.
Sixth Encounter: Another fey dwarf hurries the group along in a panic. "Please. The situation has changed and we desperately need your help. Forget the test. Tell the toys my name, Bumby."
The Motley Too come to the town of Avery and find that their main source of income, a salt mine, has been overrun by goblins. Knowing that after Crulicar's Upheaval, monsters can't be beaten by sheer force, the party concocts an impressive plan to take advantage of the goblins' strange interest in protective footware, but then immediately abandons the plan in favor of a frontal assault that fails and nearly gets them all killed. Luckily, the group eventually figures out that the goblins are vulnerable in their feet (c.f. The Princess and the Goblin), and win the fight.
The party nears the location given to them by the Gnome Gnetwork, and finds a sudden shift in the landscape, where the air is fresher, the grass is greener, and a nearby stream tinkles magically. Obviously an area where the fey energy is particularly strong. Jandove samples some delicious berries found growing in the bushes along the way. As they approach the location of the Smithy, they are approached by a Dryad. The Dryad looks the group over and disdainfully announces that none of the men are handsome enough for her to bother charming away. She instead offers the group a gift: rose pedals that will remove the curse that was recently placed upon the party by the Naiads. The group happily accepts. They approach a thornbed and say the name "Glumby", and enter the Dwarven Smithy.
Inside an impressive smithy, the Motley Too see signs of a recent battle. Dead Ogres and Golems frozen in ice clutter the marble corridors. The group negotiate their way through traps (using Bumby's name to get past one) and fight ogres and golems.
Eventually they make their way to the center of the smithy. A waiting Covey of Hags murders the blacksmith, Themroula Steelbender, before the party's eyes. The party engages in a difficult fight with the three Hags - Aris, Depraysei, & Bellatrix - and their Ogre minions.
The death of Themroula Steelbender was a roadblock in the Motley Too's quest for coldsteel, but in a party with more than one member with necromatic talents, it did not seem to be an insurmountable one. However, before the group could work out the details, the three fey dwarves arrived. They looked grief-stricken when they saw Themroula, but brightened when they were told that the group may have a solution.
Glumby: Thank you for that. Your kindness makes it that much harder for us to tell you what we have learned.
Mumby: But you must be told. It seems you accepted a gift from Apricis on your way in. The rose pedals?
Bumby: Also, one of you ate some fruit.
Glumby: Accepting any gift from fey folk, while giving nothing to reciprocate, puts you under their obligation.
Mumby: Alas! If only you had brought some cake to give in return!
Bumby: The good news is that Apricis herself wants nothing to do with you.
Glumby: The bad news is that means your obligation has been passed up the chain.
Mumby: I'm afraid you are now under the geas of... *gulp*...
All Three: Empress Titania!
You are brought deeper into the Fey land - and find yourself unable to resist - and brought to an outdoor thronerooom. Huge trees, seemingly made of ivory, hold magnificent braziers whose green flames light up the glade and allow shadows to play and dance where the branches of the trees intertwine, forming an intricate ceiling. A towering throne of silver sits in front of a large carved stone.
A maroon rug runs down from the throne and marks the closest spot people can stand when they address her royal highness while pointed banners with emblazoned tapestries decorate the surrounding area. Between each banner stand representatives of all the creatures of the world of the fey. There are elves, of course, although they are elves of such severe and noble feature that they appear distinct from the woodland tribes that you know.
There are dwarves, and halflings, and gnomes. And there are the, perhaps expected, representative from communities of satyrs, dryads, pixies, and similar truly fey creatures. But then, surprisingly, there are also orcs, and kobolds, and goblins. Even some ogres and giants stand among the throngs. Empress Titania herself appears to be something of an elf, but even more severe and noble than the other elves here, and the greenish-blue of her skin says that she is not merely an elf. She turns to you.
Titania: You have accepted the gifts of this kingdom and given no gifts in return. By the rules of my kingdom, you are now in obligation to me until I release you.
We have been considering the recent actions of Crulicar. The world of man, especially in these Northern Kingdoms, has been cruel to my people. Thus I would see Crulicar trample them under foot. But I do find some of her methods and goals to be distasteful. Many in my court, including many of those shunned even in the more tolerant south, have argued in your favor, saying that you could perhaps provide an alternate solution.
Thus I shall give you an opportunity. It is upsetting to me that the elves of your world have been warring among themselves for many a year. End that war, find a way to unite them, and I shall release you from bondage and may even throw my support behind you. Fail, and you shall serve me forever, and Crulicar will have her way with your world.
Titania sends you back to your world. You look around and realize that Kurtis is missing. In his place, you see that Titania has sent with you a champion that will fight alongside you but also judge you as you engage in your task (and make sure you don't try to escape your geas).
You regret that you never manage to collect your coldsteel weapons, but then instantly know: having been put under the geas, you are now creatures of the fey. You will be able to hurt other fey creatures, but you now also have their vulnerabilities to cold-wrought steel.
Regarding the elves, there are three obvious solutions, but you have been given the freewill to resolve the civil war in any way you see fit (including one not shown here):
- Side with Queen Morwyn
- Side with Eldric
- Complete the Pini Quest
Side with Queen Morwyn
Queen Morwyn Nara-le once ruled all the elves of Chumera until the civil war. With regard to human relations, she maintains some ties with Lord Phantar and has supported him in threats to their shared contest, but she has mostly maintained isolationist policies. Morwyn's army includes the famed Griffin Riders, a rank that Alana achieved shortly before her merging into Vain. The Motley Too currently holds Morwyn's staff in a vault in Gelfini. Morwyn's kingdom included the houses of about 2 dozen families, eight of which broke away with Eldric at the start of the war. Morwyn rules from Nara Forest.
Helping Morwyn would probably involve being airlifted to the top of Eldric's tower, where the party would have to fight its way, commando-style, to Eldric and capture or kill him. Morwyn would want the party to fight in as non-lethal a way as possible in order to facilitate reunification (killing Eldric himself might not be a problem).
Side with Lord Eldric
Eldric was the head of one of the larger families before convincing seven other families to break away. Eldric's declared complaint is that Morwyn's rule has been tyrannical, with less input from the families than had been traditional. Critics say that Eldric's rebellion is simply a power grab and also point out the misogynistic language he uses when attacking Morwyn in statements. Eldric denies all of this and claims that he will form a more democratic government, with input from all families. Eldric has also promised a more active relationship between elves and humans should he win the war; this has not resulted an any support coming from Lord Phantar. Against the misogyny claim, Eldric points out that he has formed a loose alliance with a clan of Drow (which are female-led). In fact, Lieralyn joined the original Motley Crew because she was fleeing an arranged marriage between her and a Drow lord. Wileu comes from one of the other seven families that are allied with Eldric.
Helping Eldric would probably mean engaging in guerilla tactics, raiding key resources - caravans, supply depots, defensive forts - until Morwyn was forced to surrender. Eldric is probably less concerned about being non-lethal than Morwyn.
The Pini Quest
Timmain Pini is a figure from elven folklore; she is said to be the elf who established the kingdom in Chumera many centuries ago. The details of her disappearance (and presumed death) are unknown but it came at a time when the elves were battling both a sect of druid giants and the emergence of beholders on the continent. In the written law of the elves, it has been said that any elf who retrieved the Amulet of Pini would immediately become its new ruler. Bringing back this amulet would effectively end the civil war and all elves would be forced to unite behind its bearer. Few have sought the amulet since the last known location of Timmain Pini had been lost to time. However, Empress Titania has placed the location - in a deep dungeon beneath Malta Forest - in your minds. Malta Forest itself is ridden with trolls. And you know the dungeon to be populated with dangers much more risky than siding with either of the two warring factions.
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