Hmm. So. Last night’s game.

It was a combat-less session, so I have to try and convey some of the stuff that happened, what it was like. In a lot of ways, combat is easier. Like auto-pilot.

First things first: rather than starting with a warm-up fight, we had a little town event where a group of rich-looking (if harried) gnomes appeared in town with their hangers-on.

The gnomes primarily spoke with Lorik the druid, who was the highest-level character in town (all the others were in Gloomwrought, and I mean all).

They told Lorik they were from an estate near Silver Hollow and had avoided the events of HydraFest. (In part because they were too stuck-up to attend.)

The gnomes gave Lorik a trinket belonging to one of their missing cousins whom they knew had sneaked out to the festival, and asked the druid to find the boy and being him back: or to bring his remains back.

Back in Gloomwrought…

The party emerged from the Undercity dungeon and filled Lurch in on what they found. Darnek the fighter meet a chatty dark elf who called himself “The General,” though he had no former title.

Darnek learned quite a bit from the drow, including some information about the recent influx of dark elves into Gloomwrought.

Gayal the cultist (a warlock) wanted to hit up the City Conservatory to see if they could find information who could help them close a time portal.

And of course, to chase rumors about the Book of Vile Darkness.

Luckily they brought Akordia with them, and they were met by an old ally Quinn, who was watching the vaults and checking for dangerous items coming in from the ruins.

Quinn recognized Akordia, let the group in, and showed them the Book of Vile Darkness he’d had under his care for the last year: safe in the vault only he could open.

Gayal quickly demonstrated the Book was a fake.

Working together with Quinn, Akordia pieced together the events of the previous year, beginning with Kalarel’s attack on the city, the capture of several PCs, the subsequent exploration of Fellwroth Keep, and the discovery of the Book of Vile Darkness.

They eliminated from the list all the characters unlikely to have the Book, and arrived at the conclusion another force was at work.

Akordia supplied the theory: the drow working worth Drowski, Chandra, was the real mastermind. They ascertained the Book was likely beyond their reach, in the hands of the enemy.

During the conversation, Quinn dropped another bombshell: while the group had been distracted with Kalarel, Orcus had led an army of demons into the Shadowfell and murdered the Raven Queen.

Quinn had been there when the Red Sashes had defended the city from the demonic horde, and told the group Orcus had ultimately failed to take the Raven Queen’s place when he was driven off by her still-loyal Sorrowsworn.

As the party headed back to the Iron Maiden tavern to let all this sink in and plan their next move, they were greeted by Drowski, who waved them over to a table.

Moments later, the lady of the city and its new ruler arrived to greet the characters. She told them where they might be able to find the Cult of Vecna they were seeking — lurking in Kas’s vampire kingdom in the Shadowfell, and in a hidden enclave on Pandemonium.

The room was tense while she made pleasant conversation and offered advice. Akordia, who claimed to have been tortured by the woman and had sworn bloody vengeance against her remained silent for most of the audience.

In truth, the drow woman (who had dropped all pretenses of being Drowski’s servant) spoke primarily to Morgran.

As she arrived, so she left, and the audience ended. And that’s where we left off last night.