Veil of Whispers 5: I Can't Believe Your Adventurer Licenses Haven't Been Revoked

Posted on Feb 18, 2024 in Tales from the Table. Last updated on Feb 25, 2024.
Part of a series called Veil of Whispers.

Nessie finds her long-lost father. Rosa threatens people.

Date: February 17, 2024

Characters present:

Character level: 3

I Owe Myself Five Bucks

In the swamp there stood a cabin. Outside the cabin was a donkey. The party approached and said hello. The donkey responded, to the party’s surprise and the players’ complete lack thereof. The donkey was called Donkey and lived in the cabin with a goblin named Rex, who slammed the cabin door open to the tune of All Star by Smash Mouth. Rosa forcefully entered his residence, demanding food. The rest of the group asked the two where Connor Hall could be found since they needed his help to save the princess. Also, Monty had a letter for him. Rex called out for Connor, and a few minutes later a giant red dragon landed outside the cottage.

Nessie believed it might be her dad and had the group’s blood hunter do a blood test. Sorigash tasted the blood of both Nessie and Connor and determined them to be related. During the father and daughter bonding that followed, Nessie broke down in tears as she discovered that everything she knew about her father was a lie. He wasn’t a king who had to leave her mother due to important business. He was merely a promiscuous dragon who had abandoned Nessie’s mother for a donkey1.

After that trainwreck of a conversation, Monty handed Connor the letter he’d been given by King George of Emberfall. Connor put on a tiny pair of reading glasses and looked it over. He explained that he was a spy for Emberfall and that the letter had told him to tell the party what he knew, which turned out to be very little. He explained that Prince Valerian, the one the party knew was responsible for kidnapping the princess, was normally a very nice person but had been behaving strangely lately. Connor thought he might be possessed. The DM also told us that the king of Duskridge was called Reginald Duskrim and reminded us that we’d found a letter in the headquarters of the Shadow Serpents from someone called “RD”. I wonder what that could possibly mean.

The party insisted on staying for dinner. When night fell, they went to sleep inside the cottage because a homebrew rule prevented them from regaining all their hit points when sleeping outside. The next morning, Rex claimed he didn’t have any breakfast for them. The group ate some of their trail rations. Monty found three blind mice to eat. Then they headed back to Duskridge.

We Can Probably Never Show Our Faces in This City Again

Their first stop was the residence of the nameless botanist responsible for creating the giant mutant cow. Rosa was angry at her, of course. She demanded a reward. The botanist gave the group a basket of assorted potions. Then Rosa started destroying all the botanist’s research and trashing her house. Sorigash and Nessie joined in while Monty watched on with curiosity. Findus headed outside. The girls took some flowers and a book describing what they did when ingested. Monty wondered how these people were still considered adventurers. They were more like bandits. The group quickly fled the scene and headed for the bridge where the princess had supposedly been dropped off to Prince Valerian.

There were no clues anywhere near the bridge. Only a group of hobos. Monty gave them some gold and asked what they knew about the kidnapping. They told him they’d seen a group of thugs hand the prince a blindfolded lady, after which the two headed for the city gate. The party went to the city gate where they found an ice cream vendor. Rosa tried to get some ice cream for free, arguing that Nessie was sad and deserved ice cream. I’ve developed a Pavlovian reflex that lets me space out whenever they start arguing and threatening NPCs so I’m unsure what happened next, but I know they walked away with a huge bucket of ice cream.

There was a stable by the gate. The group approached and asked the stable boy if he knew anything about the kidnapping. He was unwilling to speak, saying that it could be dangerous if someone found out he talked. A few threats of violence later, he told them that the prince had bought a horse some horses and sent a few men and the princess off toward the city of Stormhaven. After some more threats, the party set off in the same direction with horses of their own.

On the road, the party was assaulted by a swarm of bees2. Nessie burned them to a nice, toasty crisp with her dragon’s breath. They also encountered a man running for his life, claiming that he’d seen the legendary owlbearcat. The DM told us it was a South Park joke. Nobody laughed. When it was time to make camp, Findus took the first watch and, lo and behold, encountered the legendary owlbearcat. It looked like an owlbear—a bear with the head of an owl—except it was also part cat. And it had wings. Somehow it spoke the language of cats and told Findus that he was hungry and wanted to eat his sleeping companions. After Findus woke them up, they reached a compromise where Monty fed the owlbearcat a goodberry, which would keep him full all night and day. In exchange, the creature would follow the party and kill whomever they needed killed. They’d gained a very powerful pet.

New City, Same Old Crimes

Stormhaven was a city much like the others. Its most notable feature was a gigantic stone fortress floating above it, tethered to the ground with a massive steel cable. Arriving at the city gates, the guards were unwilling to let the owlbearcat, now named Hoola, into the city until the party bribed them. They were told they still needed to get it registered, so Rosa and Nessie headed off to do that while Findus and Sorigash headed for the bar to listen for rumors of the princess’ whereabouts. Monty headed for the sky fortress.

Nessie and Rosa got the registration certificate they needed using their default strategy of charm, then deceit, then magic, and finally, after all else had failed, threats of physical violence. Sori and Findus didn’t gain any new information at the bar, but they spotted a familiar face on the way there: the Greasard. He left a trail of slime, much like a snail, as he slid down the street. Monty quickly discovered that the fortress was, unsurprisingly, fortified. Magical turrets took notice of his presence and fired giant arrows at him, but he was very swift and dodged out of the way. As he headed back down he spotted a group of airships parked at the very base of the cable that was holding the fortress in place.

Rendezvousing once more, the party shared their findings—or lack thereof. Monty had sworn to set the Greasard on fire the next time he saw him. The Greasard was a nasty man; without him, they’d have the princess rescued already. Also, Monty really wanted to know whether the grease was flammable. Nessie, for once, didn’t want to cause any wanton destruction and refused to cast firebolt on it. But Monty wasn’t so easily deterred. He took out a tinderbox from his backpack and made a spark over the slime trail. It ignited quickly, and soon there was a trail of fire running down the street toward the king’s castle. Hell yes. The party hurried away once more.

They headed for the parked airships, figuring the princess must be in the fortress and that the magical cannons wouldn’t fire at the ships. Approaching the most official-looking ship, they spotted two guards. Rosa used her newly purchased sling to fire sleeping berries into their mouths. Nessie had walked up and told them a joke to make this easier. One berry struck true and made the guard fall asleep instantly. The other missed, and Nessie had to force-feed it to the guard.

Hopefully we’ll have an epic dungeon crawl in the fortress next session.

  1. Donkey the donkey was a female, despite sounding exactly like Eddie Murphy. ↩︎

  2. As a joke I’d sent the DM a private message saying “send bees”. This was the outcome. ↩︎