The party meets up with New Steve who gives them a gift of 10K gold worth of platinum pieces.
The party leaves to go shopping. Big Bad John returns and donates 3,000 gold to New Steve for whatever he wants. He offers up a favor for advice in the future. Big Bad John declines to take it at this time and the party reunites nearby at the Salty Baboon.
KB had been continually working the crowd with his performance arts.
The party heads off to dinner, seated among their many followers. They have a brief chat with Captain Ahab, New Steve, and St. Lucky Pete prior to Sir Davian Witchguard joining them. The conversation is light at best.
KB attempts to cast prestidigitation on the food of New Steve who promptly counterspells him before saying “I’m not sure what you think our relationship is, but we are not at the level where you can cast spells on what I eat.” He then leaves.
The party resolves to go solve the problem of the undead to the north, but first they squander nearly a week.
Gravier crafts for 4 days. BBJ plays sports with the locals.
KB performs for four days letting the whole world know what they’re up to.
Gravier secures a ship and sends his people to Beach Hallow to scout the area. They’re seeing how things are going and then return to the isle in order to let you know. The journey will take well over a week.
After settling their affairs the group decides to finally take the mission officially from New Steve to go put a stop to the undead menace. New Steve warned them that there was a good chance one of them would be turned to ice forever.
They convinced New Steve that they would not die. He gave the stick to Gravier.
Steve opens the portal for them. He gives more cryptic advice saying to give his regards to a friend of his. The party notices that there is a force interfering with the portal and they feel greasy from having gone through, but arrive in one piece outside of Wintermoor. The feel of evil was palpable in the air as they approached the town.
They approached Wintermoor, located a large crystalline greenhouse, and entered in. KB shifts out of his halfling form into his Dragonwrought Kobold form and people freak out. Gravier talks them down but tensions seem to be running very high.
While there they meet Trolis Vedal who proves to be most antagonistic. The help he does give is that he believes the one raising the dead is a Godsman. He indicates that he’s trying to save the town by reestablishing a food supply so he is unable to pursue the necromancer or necromancers. He also recommends the group undergo some sort of trial to become accepted, but he does not offer much help explaining it.
The party does inquire about the nearest Godsmen headquarters and Vedal explains he had a building on the far side of the lake. The party heads there and while searching the place discovers a letter addressed to “Friends of Steve” which says:
Welcome friends of Steve. I believe we should meet tomorrow afternoon.
There was room to respond in writing. A nearby owl took the letter somewhere and the party hunkered down, waiting to see what would happen.
The following evening (after an amusing moment where Miss Monroe became tainted and was subsequently healed) they heard a knocking at their door. Big Bad John opened it to see a figure growing a sickly green and silver. He was a hunched and doubled over Dragonborn of Bahamut that constantly scratched at his body underneath the rags he wore.
After a display of his etherealness he prompted the party with the question “whose side are you on?” The party dipped and dodged the question until he elaborated. He spoke on many things. He speaks of gods of death, he asks what side they’re on. He says he’s on the side of saving the world through whatever means necessary. To the servant of Wee Jas he says “I’m sorry for your loss.” He says “lots of things die lately. Gods. Men. Others.”
Any conversation about cleansing the taint was meant with “I’m using that. I need it.”
At one time when asked what the party would do to save the world from the rampaging demons they mistook Asmodeus for leading the demons. The figure exclaimed: “Wait, you don’t know who Asmodeus is?! You may not be who I’m looking for. Did you not reform the project?”
After the conversation led outside he gave Purifier Henderson a scroll that said “See invisibility” which the purifier used on himself and he saw over a score of skeletal dragons flying about the air watching what they were doing.
Ultimately the group seemed to decline showing any semblance of being on page with the stranger, who continued to portray his side in a positive light.
He instructs the party to head to a particular mountain range to visit a dragon in order to become accepted in the land known as Death’s Embrace. This causes no small amount of discomfort among the party as to the vagueness of his statement.
After leaving the party discusses all that was revealed. The proposal is made that Bahumat among other gods may be dead, which upsets purifier Henderson (a dragonborn of Bahamut). To test this theory they have the purifier cast Commune and he goes to address his deity directly.
(The following is a transcript taken by a family member as Purifier Henderson recounted the time he met his god.)
Well this was a day full of mysteries, I must admit. We traveled into the far north only to find that it has been covered with Taint. The earth itself is infected with it, throwing it up like a man spewing bile. Only the purest of souls among us are safe from its wretched touch. Even then, the air feels thick and oily and only my time in the Godsmen test has made me feel prepared for it.
When we arrived at the barbarian camp we were sent to find, I discovered that most of the people there were infected with Taint as well, enough that the sheer numbers among them alone could keep me busy for months as I healed them along with the other cleric of Bahamut I met. When I get the chance, I hope to try to create a place of hallowed ground so that they may at least sleep without fear of Taint.
I really must start recruiting more Purifiers before much longer or we well never stand a chance at stopping the veritable flood of Taint now flowing into the world, but I digress.
A Godsman already among them found us and guided us towards the former Godsmen base in the area, which we left for soon after. I was never more glad for my Endure Elements spell as I was then, as I had no winter clothes and I’m sure I would have frozen to death long before I reached our destination without it.
Once we arrived, we were met by another Dragonborn, Caden Ras, an enigma if I’d ever seen one. Our party determined that he was quite evil, yet he remained Dragonborn. He was also covered with Taint, yet when I tried to save him from it, he withdrew and claimed he was using it. An impossibly, of course, as Taint can only destroy these it comes into contact with.
He claimed that we were covered with the scent of evil, then went on to ask how we wanted to save the world. He threatened us with over a score of dragons that he only allowed me to see, then left once he had a wisp of a promise from us that we would consider helping him. Truly a thing full of contradictions.
This, of course, is where things began to go wrong.
The party decided that since Caden Ras was evil, Bahamut must be dead. Blasphemy, of course, but I could not convince any of them of that. In fact, they went on to try and convience me of their theories with talk of how they knew that their own their own gods were dead and how they were fine with that.
I decided that the only response to this could be to pray to Bahamut for answers.
At first I only wished to peace that Bahamut yet lived, but upon further discussion we created several questions that we hoped could bring comfort and guide our way.
The next morning, after I’d prepared myself with the aid of my teammates, I went into a meditative state and went to speak with my god.
I immediately found myself in a massive tree, and on a nearby branch was the unmistakable form of my god. I thought about how this answered my own question, but realized that this might not be Bahamut, but instead a creature in its form, so I rallied my courage and spoke with it.
“Are you alive,” I asked first.
“I yet live,” replied the creature in Bahamut’s form. At the time I assumed that this meant that it was Bahamut and that of course he was alive, but I now realize that this might have just been an exact answer, if not a true one.
“Are there any new undead gods?” I asked next.
“There are no new gods,” it replied, which, while interesting, wasn’t what I wanted to know.
I rephrased my question. “Have any of the gods turned undead?”
“Some gods have turned, not undead, it replied. Looking back this too wasn’t quite as helpful as I would have liked, but I decided to go on.
“Are either Pelor or Wee Jas dead?” I asked for my friends whose gods they were.
“They live, in a fashion,” was his cryptic response. Still, alive was alive so I asked no more about them.
I thought about the land around us and how filled with Taint it was and asked “Can this land be cured of Taint?”
He shrugged and said “That remains to be seen,” which I suppose is the closest a god will ever come to saying “Fuck if I know” to a mortal. Disheartening.
I confirmed that Caden Ras was a Dragonborn, then asked if there was more than one traitor asking the Godsmen, as KB suspected.
“You are all traitors,” was his reply. Ominous, cryptic and, yet again, unhelpful.
My last question, a more personal one, was if my niece was as much of a whore as the party served to make her out to be.
“Tend to your family,” he said, and my eyes narrowed as I began to prepare myself to awaken to an unhappy talk.
Before I awoke, though, it had one last thing to say and advice, freely given, from the gods, was not something to ignore.
“Stop helping Asmodeus.”
Then I awoke and relayed all I had learned.
Relief and excitement filed the room as I gave my answers, cryptic as they were, until I get to the final thing he said. Then a heavy silence fell over all of us as we took in the fact that we, a party of good-aligned folk, were apparently now actively aiding Asmodeus, Lord of all Devils.
Yes. Curiouser and curiouser.