Workin' on a Mystery

(Callum is away at school still, MC and Michael couldn't make it)

I heard it through the Grapevine
After returning from the storm giants' court, the party again questions the oracle. Who ordered the queen's death? The queen's daughter's aided and prodded the murder. Where was king Hecaton when the oracle last saw him? Where the queen was killed. The party knows she was killed on the Red Rock islands. Where can we find Tholtz Daggerdark? On the Trackless Sea. What are the name of Kraken Society members in Neverwinter? Albus Fabircus and Folvia Vita. Why was king Hekaton kidnapped? So his daughters could make a bid for power. Who knows where the king is? The daughters have some idea.
The party debates on their next move. Sir Conlan wants to inform the harpers of recent events then travel to Neverwinter to investigate the Kraken Society. Skamos suggests visiting the dwarves at Citadel Felbarr. Since the dwarves are only a few days away by airship, the party agrees. They travel to the dwarven citadel and present their letter of recommendation from Ghelryn Foehammer in Triboar. The party is shown to guest quarters and given a chance to clean up before seeing the king and queen. The party is presented at the royal court and pass over the letter. The king and queen present them with a pair of golden lion Figurines of Wondrous Power as a reward and ask them to carry out a quest for the dwarves. Fire giants are active in the mountains nearby, their ruler, Duke Zalto may be trying to reopen a mythical magic forge to created weapons for the giants' war, will the party help? The royal couple offer to build a tower stronghold staffed with ten of their guards as a reward. The party asks for time to consider the request and the party is dismissed. They visit the merchants, selling some loot and buying equipment. Alaric sells the golden puppet show from the hill giant's treasure trove for 8,000 gold, which is split between the four owners. Skamos sells his warhammer for a more powerful one and Sir Conlan buys a two handed sword for when he must return the giant slayer sword. After some discussion, the party feels they are not up to dealing with fire giants, and they already have a mission for queen Serissa. They return to the royal court to turn down the quest, but tell the dwarves the mission they are on may benefit the dwarves as well. The party leaves and returns to the giants' temple and questions the oracle again. Who is holding the king? The Kraken Society. What are Imryth's goals? To provoke a war between the giants and small folk and take control of the Wyrmskull Throne. Who killed the queen? The Kraken Society was hired to kill the queen and kidnap the king by the royal sisters, Imryth was the contact between them. The party saw Imryth visit the oracle, what did the oracle tell her? The oracle refuses to answer. Wkere is the key to the Wyrmskull Throne? Imryth has it on her person. One of the clues queen Serissa gave them is a wood coin or token with a golden goose design, what is it? It is a gambling token from the Grand Dame riverboat in Yartar.

Rolling on the River
With more answers, the party will head to Mirabar, then use the Harpers' teleportation network to go to Everlund. There they brief the Harpers' agent on recent events and new information. The Grand Dame is a casino ship that makes long night cruises from Yartar carrying local wealthy patrons. The party teleports to Yartar, gets some finery and plans to go aboard the ship. Skamos and Alaric pose as wealthy merchants, Erza and Astrid as high class courtesans and Sir Conlan dresses as a ne'er do well nobleman with Talik as his bodyguard. Valfir loads the party's weapons and equipment in his Bag of Holding and turns himself invisible. He sticks with Sir Conlan and Talik. At dusk, the party presents themselves at the Grand Dame's dock and talks their way onboard to the ship's captain. Once aboard, they meet the owner, Lord Kasper Drylund, who has a pet octopus riding his shoulder. He meets Sir Conlan, but when Sir Conlan says he is travelling through, Lord Kasper loses interest. Alaric approaches next. He notices Lord Kasper seemed uninterested in Sir Conlan as a traveller and spins a wild story about being puppet show crafters planning to open a factory in Yartar. He introduces Skamos to Lord Kasper. Later, Erza approaches Lord Kasper and also spins a tale, talking about Lord Kasper's obvious superiority, but drops the name of Tholtz Daggerdark which Kasper visibly reacts to. When questioned about their relationship, Erza says he is her greatest lost love, the one that got away. She hopes to reconnect to him. Lord Kasper asks if she has proof, she says she has a letter, but wants to talk in private. Lord Kasper agrees to talk to her privately upstairs, she begs a moment to compose herself in the ladies' powder room. He agrees and she heads off. Sir Conlan sends Valfir to follow them. Alone, Erza retrieves her forgery tools and writes a letter from Tholtz. They return to Lord Kasper and accompany him to his room. He drops his octopus in its aquarium and asks for the letter. Erza tries to cover it up by spilling wine on it, but Kasper insists on seeing it. Erza hands it over, but something is wrong, Kasper questions her about it. When he says he knows Tholtz's handwriting she tries to deflect his suspicion, saying the letter was dictated by Tholtz. He asks what color Tholtz's eyes are and Valfir decides time is up and strikes him twice, trying to stun Lord Kasper. He quickly surrenders and they begin questioning him. He admits to being a member of the Kraken Society and Tholtz is holding king Hecaton on his ship, the Morkoth. He gives up the secret recognition code the Kraken Society uses, "the deep always rises". At that point Kasper convulses, spits blood and dies. They search the room, taking the papers in Lord Kasper's writing desk and his bejewelled rapier. Underneath the table is a locked chest with a poison needle trap. Erza disarms and unlocks it and they grab gold and a bag of gems. Erza and Valfir return to the casino and Valfir moves around briefing the party. They lay low for the rest of the night, waiting for discovery. If neccesary, Astrid and Skamos can start a battle with spells while Valfir passes out weapons. In dire circumstances, no one is wearing heavy armor, they could swim for shore. The cruise finishes without incident, although some of the staff seem to be wondering at Lord Kasper's absence. When the ship docks, they make their way calmly ashore. But as the guests are breaking up, the crew raises the alarm, Lord Kasper's body has been found. The guards round up the party for questioning and a search for concealed weapons. Since the visible party members are unarmed, they willingly submit to a search to throw off suspicion. Once the party members are released, they split up and meet up back at the building holding the Harpers' teleportation circle and compare notes.

Silly Quotes and Smart Remarks
Discussing Astrid's alignment and attitudes, Chmiel says she's a hot mess, Jim says more Chaotic then Good or Evil.
Lee "Chaotic Hot Mess is not an alignment"
Chmiel "It only gets me in trouble most of the time"

Trying to find out Tholtz's location from the oracle, they can learn where he is now, but not where he will be
Lee "Heisenburg's Prophecy Uncertainty Principle"

Lee describes the dwarven citadel as similar to the Mines of Moria, but clean and populated with dwarves. It has been conquered by orcs twice and reclaimed by the dwarves
Kevin "There's still a balrog somewhere"
Jim "We're not taking a sidequest"

Getting good clothes out to visit the dwarven court
Chmiel "I'm scrubbing out the mustard stains"
Lee "Is that what we're calling it now?"

The PCs leave the dwarven court
Lee "All right, all dicks have been sucked"

Talking to the oracle again and discussing where the answers lead to
Chmiel "Follow the metal rails through the forest…"

Lord Kasper Drylund is the owner of the riverboat casino
Kevin "Sounds cool, <he> probably has a fez"

Mike's made up history for Alaric and Skamos introduces himself as Erky Timbers, a puppet maker like his father Gepetto and his mother Pinochio, which lead to a lot of puppet puns.