Rise of the Dreamer

Episode 17: Enter the Dragon
or, Party Tiiiime! Excelleeeent!

This is Scarpa Lela with a special report on Questionable Company, who, as of this morning, were headed back to Alam…

…but before they were even in sight of the city, they were met by a welcoming committee of Githyanki! Tougher than the previous squadron, this group managed to split the party and two of them went after Karas, who was felled! Mehve held her own and the githyanki were defeated, but not before sweet Karas was beheaded. Intent upon his resurrection, friend and fellow druid, Chisisi, collected his remains.

One within Sending range of Alam, Mahshid received several invitations to parties celebrating the Alampics Preliminaries. No word yet on which parties she’ll attend, but this reporter has no doubt she’ll have a following of fans wherever she does go.

Her first destination, however, was *Ofier*’s residence, where she introduced Kind Man to the wizard, and left with him most of the loot they collected in Hamzarai. Ofier, in turn, offered to help the R*ed Dragons*’ cause, and cured Kind Man of his fish-skin disease (we’re back in business, ladies). He also shared some new spells with Kind Man.

While Mahshid, Chisisi and Mehve set out to prepare for their parties, Jarl headed to Mount Khorva to check in with his superiors. What he found upon arrival, however, was that the Red Dragons had been attacked and overrun by a new faction of freedom fighters – the Blue Dragons (as though there’s space in Alam for more dragon clubs). In addition to the Blue Dragons, Jarl also discovered some cultists from the Cult of the Dreamer – apparently not disbanded at all!!

After Sending a message to Kind Man, both the priest and Ofier visited the volcano to help Jarl. Together they discovered another mindflayer and a new soulstone machine, this time mounted more safely inside the caldera. A quick stealth mission resulted in an explosion and minor eruption that residents will have noticed, though it’s unclear whether Jarl’s fellow Red Dragons – or his half-dragon superior, Ren, escaped with their lives from Blue Dragon imprisonment.

This reporter can’t help but feel that the Company has taken a step backwards. How often can old factions be replaced by new? Can the party expect to work together with the Red Dragons, and how can they fight this new, Blue faction? And what will Mahshid wear to the parties?

With too many hard questions, this is Scarpa Lela, in Questionable Company.

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Episodes 15+16: Portals & Perils
or, I Am Not a Conjuror of Easy-Bake Ovens!

“Welcome to Hamzarai!”

At least, that’s what someone might have said thousands of years ago. This is Scarpa Lela on special assignment in Questionable Company, while the group explores what was once a sprawling metropolis. The company was joined in the early morning by Red Dragon member alJarl Reid, who claimed to want to help them in their venture. Willing to accept all the help they could get, the group welcomed him.

A short swim gained the group access to Hamzarai’s watery lower floors. In the company of an ancient, temple-dwelling Honoured Dead, Amin, the party investigated a dilapidated library as well as a room filled with wind and chaos – soon revealed to contain a portal to Pandemonium. While Chisisi, Mahshid and newcomer Jarl did battle with a hungry bullette, Kind Man investigated a room beyond the portal – revealed to be a laboratory.

Kind Man suspected the laboratory was once used to create magical ingredients – possibly for use in conjunction with the portal. However, any remaining ingredients had long since been destroyed by time. His attention was then drawn to a coldroom door, wherein he found a frozen – but alive – creature intent upon his demise!! Like the wise priest that he is, he fled. Meanwhile, further exploration led Mahshid to being magically afflicted by Dreamblight: her leg was overtaken by what was diagnosed as psychic fungus – all this around a portal connected to Pandemonium!

…or was it?

Upon reexamining the portal, it was discovered that a new plane lay on the other side: this time, a bright, sunlight plane.

While Mahshid took to (fruitless) meditation in order to calm her fears of amputation, Jarl and Kind Man continued their investigation of the coldstore and and portal, respectively. It was Kind Man’s actions which led to the sudden apparition of a dinosaur inside the temple, and the group was forced to come together in order to defeat the beast. It was mostly thanks to Chisisi’s powers of animal friendship that the dinosaur retreated to its previous plane.

With not much to show for their first day inside the temple, the company rested uneasily – least of all Mahshid, who was eventually convinced to give up her penchant for alcohol in order to be healed by Jarl’s gods. It remains to be seen if she can keep her promise (and her leg), but at least she was able to sleep through the night. The following morning, after raiding the coldstore for anything of value, the group passed through the portal into the plane of Shadows.

The plane of Shadows showed Hamzarai in its prime: far from being buried in sand, the buildings towered overhead and there was even some faroff motion. More interesting to Kind Man, however, was a voice summoning him towards the water.

Under the surface of which was an aboleth. For listeners not familiar with this creature, picture a many-eyed whale with tentacles and the power to invade your mind. This reporter must admit that she stayed far away from this particular battle, during which Kind Man nearly perished.

After the battle, the group rested and then investigated the non-ruins of Hamzarai. Inside the temple they discovered the ghostly echo of a dead priest. Ilothtar revealed a memory of his formation by a priest in similar clothes, before the room was invaded and everyone slain by the B’heist. The plot thickened. Kind Man determined that the echoed priest existed somewhere on the material plane, haunted by his own shade – doubtless they’d find him later.

The Company wandered deeper into the city, into an area now completely covered in sand. Hints among the shadow populace led them to believe that these ancient B’heist and drow had been at odds with one another; however, little discussion could take place before a much larger aboleth was spotted overhead, and the party hid.

Not wanting to planeshift into a dune, the party was forced to flee, using shapechanging abilities to help them outrun the aboleth. Towering over them as well as destroying the ground under them, the aboleth nearly finished the party off – until a last-minute planeshift carried them to safety and sunshine atop the sand. Once free from the Shadow plane, they rested, but Kzz-Aah revealed that Kind Man was suffering from a dangerous affliction.

Said affliction has left him slimy, somewhat translucent and rather disgusting, this reporter’s opinion. Sorry, ladies.

The following morning, the group revisited the portal only to find that it had closed – probably permanently. What remained, then, was the rest of the temple, and especially the location of the Shadow plane’s priest. After a brief battle against a pair of chuul (and a feast that consisted of their eggs), they sought entry to the priest’s room.

Upon blasting open the doors, the group was assaulted by a fire elemental (quickly banished) and the priest’s shade, who revealed that it was the B’heist who murdered him. The party did battle, and after a final ricochet of Kind Man’s lightning off Mahshid’s shield, the shade was silenced.

The priest had been brutally stabbed to death by a ritual B’heist weapon. In his room the party discovered a magical tome outlining methods for harvesting, distilling and mixing souls into a powerful ambrosia, and it was presumed this research was what spawned the drow/B’heist disagreement that led to so many deaths and, possibly, to the destruction/abandonment of Hamzarai.

After quitting the priest’s chamber, the group discovered a room that contained a giant machine, filled with clanking and clearly meant to house a body – for good or ill. Hoping the machine might cure him, Kind Man boldly strapped himself in. While the injection of ancient souls seemed to have made some changes to his person, he was not cured of his fish-skin affliction.

Later that night, once the rest of the party had gone to sleep, Mahshid visited the machine as well. While it’s impossible for this reporter to determine exactly what happened to her, there is something of a glow about her – no doubt longtime fans will be pleased at the difference.

On the final day at Hamzarai (and after another chuul breakfast), the group looked into the final room, a chamber closed in by four ornate doors, one of which was especially elaborate. The chamber appeared to be some kind of ancient chapel, and contained the remains of several dead drow, also brutally murdered. Kind Man used his ability to speak with the dead, and it was revealed that these researchers were killed because someone (the B’heist?) thought their research was dangerous and sacrilegious.

Meanwhile, Mahshid wasted no time opening the ornate doors, and inside found a library and reliquary. Also inside was a long-hidden half-drow researcher named Mehve, still alive thanks to the magic of her long-dead lover. This is not an exaggeration, though this reporter would scarcely have believed it had she not seen it for herself!

After welcoming this time-refugee to the party, Questionable Company retreated to the surface and Kind Man made quick work of burying the machine under the sands, with hope of hiding it from future evil-doers.

But will Hamzarai remain hidden? Will the party ever tire of chuul-cakes? What knowledge can Mehve impart relevant to the party’s goals or the situation in Alam? More importantly, how will she handle life in a society that exists thousands of years after her own?

This is Scarpa Lela of Questionable Company, and I’ll have answers next time.

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Episode 14: Hints, Heralds and Hamzarai
or, My Panties for Gold Pieces

[[META: we shall assume these “episodes” are being published a week or so late (DM’s discretion); I’m going to post them on time (haha) so that we have a record if we need it.]]

This is Scarpa Lela on special assignment in Questionable Company. Since our last episode – Mahshid’s not-to-be-missed sexposé – a lot has happened! The Company has done battle with a dragon’s ghost, encountered their old assassin foe, attempted to silence the Eternal Voice and now they’re off to a new (yet unfound) temple!

Upon leaving the drow pyramid and entering the jungle, Kind Man found himself followed by the ghost of a previously-encountered dragon. After a confusing battle whereupon both Mahshid and Chisisi briefly turned against the B’heist priest, the ghost was vanquished – to experience a proper send-off later.

Upon exiting the forest the party encountered two messengers – both of whom were already dead thanks to Zera, the party’s longtime nemesis! Before disappearing, Zera offered them these cryptic hints:

We both know what she wears on her head, yet you are free. Answers can be found at the temple of Hamzarai.

It seems that the party has another ritual to unravel before it’s too late: the summoning ritual that was thought to have been completed on the Queen’s Birthday has not yet finished after all! But would they follow the advice of the assassin Zera?

While Kind Man worked with the B’heist to liberate the dragon’s soul, Mahshid and Chisisi, traveling undercover, visited Lord Ofier to share the spoils from the drow temple, and to ask about the temple of Hamzarai. For those listeners who don’t know, no adventurers have yet died at Hamzarai… because no adventurers have ever found it.

Still, Mahshid seemed intent upon discovering more, and she and Chisisi have formed some wordless pact to help one another. Chisisi, of course, needs help with something entirely different: she wants to build a githyanki silver sword. Aided by Mahshid’s absorbed memories and fragments of knowledge provided by the party’s githyanki ally, Karas, Chisisi is finally making some headway – though what she intends to do with the sword is still unknown to this reporter.

While Mahshid visited her room at the Frowning Dolphin only to find it filled with obsessive fans, Korva Dae investigated the plants growing on the side of Khorva’s Peak, and Kind Man visited the city’s sages – drow and thieves alike – only to be diagnosed with a curse that has caused him to forget his protector, Majd!

You heard that right: Kind Man’s memory of Majd has been slipping for some time, and he eventually discovered he couldn’t recall her at all.

Another new discovery for the priest was that all of Alam knows his name.

While this reporter can’t imagine why anyone would be displeased with that fact, Kind Man was, and sought out the leaders of Eternal Voice. Astute listeners should guess how his quest turned out: while Kind Man was able to contact me, I’m still on special assignment in Questionable Company, and will continue to deliver news of these adventurers to you, the people of Alam!

Following his visit with my superiors, Kind Man worked with Korva Dae to eliminate his curse. Using the efreet taken from the drow pyramid, Kind Man made three wishes – one of which was to sat Majd’s soul free. Kind Man’s memories returned and Dae’s work was completed in Majd’s liberation: he shortly afterwards left the party to pursue more enlightenment.

Ofier, meanwhile, was able to collect information as well as supplies to take the party towards Hamzarai. With little to no idea where they were headed, the party left Alam – where many are dubious of the volcano’s activity but many more or only obsessed with the Alampics. Aided by their thri-kreen guide, Kzz-Aah, the party learned that the temple – nay, city – of Hamzarai was once great, famed for an ambrosia-like drink, but disappeared mysteriously into the sands.

After a brief but harrowing altercation with some sand scorpions (from which the party was forced to flee), as well as some digging, magic and swimming accomplished by Chisisi, Kind Man and Mahshid, respectively, the party found its way into the top of a Hamzarai building – or so they believe. Guarded by what appeared to be ancient B’heist Honoured Dead, Hamzarai will doubtless hold other dangers – at the top of the list: structural collapse of the buried city.

Will our heroes make it out of – or even into – Hamzarai alive? What does the temple have to do with the B’heist? What meaning in the ancient Honoured Dead’s eight-pointed-star tattoo? And will the party make sense of anything before it’s too late to stop the ritual in Alam?

This reporter can only hope…

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INTERLEWD: Mahshid SEXPOSED!
or, Pleasures of the Piebald Protector

Hello listeners! This is Scarpa Lela with a new episode too explosive to keep corked: today we’ll take a break from our usual special report to interview Mahshid – Piebald Protector of the notorious Questionable Company. She’s half-drow; she’s got daddy issues; she’s magma-hot – and so is this sexclusive interview! That’s right: today, only on Eternal Voice, Mahshid shares all her juiciest secrets – you won’t find this in MAGMA Magazine!

Unfortunately for her fans, we can’t offer a visual at this time, but I can tell you that Mahshid is looking hot and bothered. What’s the matter, Mahshid? Don’t tell me you’re nervous?

MAHSHID: That was a pretty sensational introduction.

SCARPA: For a sensational guest.

MAHSHID: I don’t have daddy issues.

SCARPA: Mahshid, by now you should know that I do my research: you were orphaned by your father; rescued from enslavement and raised by Arshad, longstanding head of Piruz’s guard; he even picked your first boyfriend – isn’t that right? I don’t often mistake facts.

MAHSHID: I am not nearly drunk enough for this.

SCARPA: Probably not – from what I’ve heard you can keep up with the hardiest of drinkers. So let’s use that as a segue and get this interview started: aside from several tankards of Hippatia Hops, what else gets you in the mood?

MAHSHID: …

SCARPA: Take your time.

MAHSHID: …I guess I like a challenge. As a girl I was obsessed with Dangar the Dangerful – who wasn’t, right? – I used to go to all of his parades, and even wrote him a couple of embarrassing letters. Sad, right? Now I just pick out the roughest customers at the bar – whoever’s talking biggest – and take them out back. Maybe we’ll fight, maybe we’ll fuck… it’s good for me either way.

SCARPA: Eloquently put. So you’re into conquests – but I don’t imagine that’s how things started for you. Why don’t you tell our listeners about your first time?

MAHSHID: Thoth’s Thighs. Are you serious? Ra’s Rod. Fuck. Well, you were right: Arshad picked my first boyfriend and… he made a good choice. He does stuff right sometimes (love you dad!). This guy was the son of Arshad’s friend – a human, total babe, way tall, deep voice. He’s still in Alam and probably embarrassed as fuck right now, so I’ll just say that he was great.

SCARPA: Things didn’t work out with this mystery man? You didn’t fall in love?

MAHSHID: I thought this interview was about sex?

SCARPA: Touché – I guess we’ll allow you this one secret – but instead tell us about your best time, and don’t spare any details!

MAHSHID: Well aside from… my first… the best was a lot more recent, with an orc I met at the Frowning Dolphin. I’d been drinking with a few friends when the dares started happening, and someone pointed out this mountain of an orc, all green-brown, in a chair the size of a thimble and holding a tankard as big as a bathtub. Arms as thick as my whole body. Someone bet me that I couldn’t beat this monster in an arm wrestle, which obviously I took offense to. I made a deal with the orc – on the sly – that if I won an arm wrestle, we’d have sex. She agreed and… she was seriously fabulous in the sack. Turned into a win-win situation for me.

SCARPA: Wow – sly indeed! But I guess your friends know your secret now. Speaking of things that are fabulous in the sack: we all know you can cast a handful of spells. Have you ever used magic in the bedroom?

MAHSHID: Ha! I mean, magical darkness’d come in handy if I was in the habit of sleeping with trolls…

SCARPA: Is that a no?

MAHSHID: Not exactly? But the details are vague.

SCARPA: You were drunk?

MAHSHID: I’m not a fucking alcoholic – and I’m not a magicker either, and that’s why the details are vague. Sekhmet! I went home with this guy and his wife – girlfriend? – anyway, they were both wizards or sorcerers or something. We had some wine, they showed me this kinda sex-dungeon they had in their basement. Bit creepy, but I was pretty sure it was mostly for show – lots of hokey-looking pentagrams, chains, candles, the works, you know. Maybe I was possessed or something, because I woke up at home the next day, feeling great.

SCARPA: You don’t remember anything?

MAHSHID: Not clearly enough to retell.

SCARPA: Moving on, then: you’re obviously not much of a prude, nor very afraid of new experiences. Tell our listeners about a sexual experience that did make you hesitate.

MAHSHID: What, aside from the wizards? I mean… maybe this’ll surprise some people, but I can be pretty awkward when it comes to… real intimacy, and I’ve always hated questions about my appearance. Usually really original: “Hey baby, are you piebald all over?” “What’s your tattoo mean?” “What happened to your ear?” Like, should I ask how come your balls are so small or why you’re so short? Are we gonna fuck or play Twenty Questions?

SCARPA: Well put – although for now we’re still playing Twenty Questions – and I’ve only got one left!

MAHSHID: Thank Thoth.

SCARPA: I’m sure our listeners will agree that you’re a fine piece of Piebald Pie -

MAHSHID: Sekhmet.

SCARPA: – but there are plenty of hotcakes in Alam – including our own Queen Hippatia (forgive my boldness, Majesty, but it’s for the people!). We’ve seen one of your party – Majd of the B’heist – kiss the Queen, and I wonder if you would do the same, given the opportunity? What do you think of her? Would you define her as a challenge? A conquest, even?

MAHSHID: …uh…

SCARPA: No comment?

MAHSHID: Um. Well, obviously Her Majesty is immensely beautiful, and I’ve been in awe of her since I was a girl. But it’s unwise to go swimming with crocodiles, right? What Majd did was foolhardy and… although I and many others may have been envious of her in that moment, I know I’m not at a level where I can fuck people whose faces are on monuments.

SCARPA: But you’d like to?

MAHSHID: There are a lot of things I’d do to the Queen of Alam.

SCARPA: That’s a fitting end! Great interview, Mahshid! I’m sure our listeners are thrilled to have learned a little more about their hero, and listeners, if you have questions for Mahshid, send us a message via Eternal Voice’s retailers! Regular coverage of events in Questionable Company will resume next week! Forever in the presence of piebald prettiness, this is Scarpa Lela, signing off.

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Episode 13: Revelations
or, Githyanki Gang Violence

This is Scarpa Lela, reporting in on special assignment in Questionsable Company. It was a long night, listeners, but even longer for Karas, githyanki prisoner captured by the Company after a failed drop-ship attack. With nowhere else to turn, the gith accepted the party’s surprising mercy and has joined them on their adventures – at least for now.

And what adventures! After a break to recuperate and repair some of their gear, the party – minus the aloof Korva Dae – re-entered the drow dreamscape inside the pyramid, only to find that another party of gith were on their way to the tower. While Kind Man refused to help, Mahshid and Chisisi took action, skirting the gith-vs-drider battle to reach the tower first.

While a winged Chisisi became instantly distracted by something on one of the tower’s upper floors, Mahshid completed several ceremonial rites necessary to ascend the three-storey tower. After a magical bath and a history lesson that hinted at the drow’s fate – defeat of the giants, freedom, slavery – she arrived at the tower’s top.

But the crown the party’s been after was long gone.

Mahshid briefly sat upon the throne, an act that allowed her a revelation but which also awoke the three giant statues stationed around the tower. With one another’s help, Chisisi and Mahshid fled the tower, deked the giants and skirted the driders – after which the portal to the dreamscape was closed (perhaps permanently) by Kind Man. Through with the pyramid, at least for now, Kind Man also made short work of the edifice’s crowning crystal.

Upon return to camp, Mahshid revealed to the party what she learned atop the tower – and while it may not surprise those denizens who hide in the heart of Alam, it’s news that will shock our regular listeners.

Stay tuned.

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Episode 12: Weal (and Whoa!)
or, A Mumbled 'Goodbye'

This is Scarpa Lela, still on special assignment in Questionable Company.

It’s been another eventful day here at the drow temple northwest of the city. After being reunited with Chisisi – the Company’s dubious druid – and dealing with some interpersonal drama, Mahshid led the way inside the temple and up the steps, previously inaccessible due to the lack of keys. While she, Kind Man and Chisisi searched the upper floor, Korva Dae – moderately recovered and subtly glowing after his magical works yesterday – watched the temple’s front entrance.

Upstairs in the temple, the trio investigated what appeared to be a sacrificial chamber, where they discovered a mummified giant and the painted, shadowy remains of drow. They made quick work of an alchemically-created monster, and Kind Man questioned another dead giant, who revealed that the drow were using the temple and its magic to create their god. It’s unclear whether they were successful, but this reporter thinks that’s unlikely. No drow gods are spoken of these days, despite a carved message in the temple that claimed such a being would exist forever:

By the broken backs of those who enslaved us, we shall have a heaven eternal.
If each of us has faith, we can create one who will rule forever.

Beyond the sacrificial chamber, the group discovered yet another portal into what appeared to be some kind of dreamscape. While Mahshid was intent upon visiting a tower located within the drow dreamworld, the group was stopped by a terrifying flying snake, and forced to – temporarily – retreat to lick their wounds.

Though the group still has plenty of questions, it’s a mercifully calm evening. Mahshid’s already fallen asleep, Kind Man is quiet as he contemplates the mysteriously-forgotten Majd, and Chisisi and Dae are enjoying some foraged food. This reporter —

THOTH’S THIGHS! Listeners, some kind of cylindrical vessel has just fallen from the sky and – shit – the githyanki are here! I haven’t seen a gith on the material plane since Alam’s anniversary nearly twenty years ago! But what are they doing here? Protecting the temple? Hunting the party? Or did Dae’s magic call them here?

Listeners, the blades are swinging, lightning’s arcing, and – sweet Isis – a cannonball’s just shot from the sky and obliterated one of Kind Man’s entourage – the Honoured Dead known as Mumbles. Time for this reporter to get out of the way!

Questionable Company is putting up quite the fight: Mahshid is a whirlwind of blades and feet; Dae briefly banishes the night with a blinding blast of light; more lightning crackles through the air. The battle could still go either way, folks, and the threat of the gith’s ship is forever overhead. Korva Dae is going after the githyanki knight with his silver sword; meanwhile, Chisisi takes on the shape of a raptor – and now – shit – Kind Man’s sahuagin has lopped off the knight’s head! Only one gith remains – and he’s fleeing! Mahshid’s after him!

Long-time listeners will know that I’ve been close to battle before, but I’ve never seen anyone defeat a githyanki squad. Looks like it’s going to take some time for the Company to calm down after an event like this. Kind Man, especially, has suffered some losses and – ah – he’s stabbed the fallen githyanki knight with the drow blade he recovered under Harva House. Doubtless he’ll find a use for that.

Ah, and Mahshid’s back with the gith runner – ouch, looks like a big bump.

So much for a quiet evening, but listeners will surely be looking forward to my next report! We’ve got a githyanki soldier to question, a dreamscape to explore and several mysteries yet to solve: why has Kind Man forgotten Majd? Does the drow temple actually have anything to do with the Cult of the Dreamers or the city’s plight, after all? Has Korva Dae gained anything from the explosion he initiated at the top of the temple? Will Mahshid and Chisisi have any success in the Alampic Games?

What in the world brought the githyanki this way?

And will this reporter ever recover from these countless mosquito bites?

This is Scarpa Lela, keeping a sharp eye on Questionable Company.

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Episode 11: Efreet, Warden and So Many Snakes
or, Pretty Fly for a Dead Guy

This is Scarpa Lela, reporting from the jungle north of Alam on special assignment and in Questionable Company.

Regular listeners will be happy to know that this reporter is still alive despite the Company’s questionable decision to hunt treasure in the drow pyramid from which no adventurer has ever returned. Having defeated the jungle’s mosquitoes and a dragon, the group was further tested on their trip by unseasonable rains and a monster the size of a tyrannosaur – in fact it was a tyrannosaur! Despite loss of their camels and most of their supplies (some to the river, some to the king of lizards), the Mahshid and Kind Man plunged into the pyramid with far too much alacrity for this reporter’s liking. Newcomer Korva Dae has remained outside for the majority of the visit so far – a far wiser choice.

In search of a set of keys that will allow them to ascend inside the structure, Mahshid has so far led the way – about as strategically as a cat in a bathhouse. Kind Man has demonstrated impressive patience as they faced off against the riddles of an efreet, the wiles of a water elemental, the sting of a magical serpent and the mysteries of a dreamscape. Unbeknownst to Mahshid, Kind Man has procured the fifth and final key for himself, after visiting the sentient tree that’s grown from the back of the pyramid. It’s not understood yet what he hopes to gain by keeping the key to himself. It’s this reporter’s hopes that he’ll offer up the key, as the only option aside from ascension is descent into the pyramid’s underground labyrinth (once built to imprison giants and from which return is worryingly unlikely).

Meanwhile, Korva Dae was camped for daes at the pyramid’s peak – and only yesterday did it become clear why: he’d been pumping magical energy into a giant crystal atop the pyramid. Yesterday that energy exploded out, leaving Dae heavily injured but – perhaps – a little wiser? This reporter has yet to determine the exact reason for and result of Dae’s work, but the pyramid still stands, and another adventure inside is already slated for the morrow.

This is Scarpa Lela, sleuthing in Questionable Company and so very sick of snakes.

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Episode 10: Only Two Gods
or, Lord That'll-Do

This is Scarpa Lela, on special assignment with Alam’s Questionable Company.

Our usual duo was joined yesterday by a newcomer: A Paxu man named Korva Dae who seems unassuming enough – but this reporter has her suspicions. As with most of the group’s encounters, this one couldn’t be average: shortly after Dae’s arrival the Company disappeared off-plane, only to return with stories about drow pyramids, ghosts and ritualistic giant sacrifices.

While Dae and Kind Man seemed mostly disinterested, Mahshid – half drow herself – took action, and had a visit with Lord Ofir, Alam’s well-known and well-loved expeditionary philanthropist, game hunter and collector (lesser-known father of scholar Bahkenkons). Eager to visit the dreamed pyramid in real life, Mahshid and Ofir made plans for yet another expedition; considering how past ventures into the pyramid have gone, this reporter fully expects to be back to her regular job sooner than expected.

Of course, the Company is full of even more surprises.

Before agreeing to seek out the pyramid, Kind Man and Dae insisted upon visiting Khorva’s Peak one final time, to confirm the intentions of a dragonkin encountered there before the volcano began its recent rumblings. After surpassing a series of physical obstacles in order to gain access to the volcano, only Kind Man (and your dauntless reporter) was able to make contact with the dragonkin – who most certainly was not a thrall of the defeated mindflayer, Zlahar.

In fact, the dragonkin serves someone else altogether: a god he intends to resurrect in the boiling bowl of Khorva’s Peak. Outside sources have yet to confirm if this is even possible, however, and for now it is this reporter’s opinion that the dragonkin is quite mad.

Having ascertained the allegiances of the dragonkin, the trio set out with a drow guide to investigate the unnamed pyramid in the jungle north of the city, an ancient drow temple from which no visitors have ever returned. What they expect to find there this reporter can only guess – some hint as to who wears the Dreamer’s Crown? A cure for their lost friend, Majd? A weapon to combat the dragonkin? Or are they only after riches and relics? Only time will tell, and considering how quickly Dangar the Dangerful and Hanthar Hammer perished in that same pyramid, listeners won’t have to wait long!

This is Scarpa Lela – wet, weary and mosquito-bitten – signing off.

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Episode 09: DO NOT SEARCH FOR THAT WHICH IS HIDDEN
or, Wait am I Talking to a Gecko?

Scarpa Lela here with your in-depth Alam Adventurers report.

Today saw our daring crew re-enter Harva House, intent upon seeking a treasure they knew only as the Drow’s Salvation. With the Alampics starting in ten weeks and with so many noble estates on the line, Queen Hippatia has placed a large number of guards throughout the Noble Quarter in order to stop any hopeful looters. This seems to have worked – but a handful of Deathless guards didn’t dissuade our trio, who took to the sewers to access Harva House. This intrepid reporter had no choice but to follow.

Bypassing a pair of sickly-smelling slimes, the group and their undead entourage entered Harva through the cellar. They trod what must have been a familiar path, passing behind a tapestry and riding way down a secret elevator – yes, you heard right – into an underground drow vault. The place was littered with treasure, but our would-be burglars passed all of this to investigate a mysterious portal.

As it turned out, shuffling through the sewers would be the least of my problems.

A single step across the threshold landed the adventurers on the Astral Plane, where a githyanki knight was waiting like a dragon on a veritable giant nest of treasure. This reporter stayed wisely out of the way as blows were exchanged, and just as the battle was coming to an end, the trio got some questions answered: the item they were seeking, a bejeweled crown known as the Dreamer’s Crown, was not there. The githyanki treated them each to an item from his hoard, and the trio returned to the wonderfully safe (albeit somewhat smellier) material plane.

A brief consult was held between the adventurers and local scholar, Bahkenkons: according to him, the crown was created to harness all of drowkind’s thoughts, dreams and related power. Unsurprisingly, the anxious academic – now working for Piruz House – urged the trio not to seek the crown, whereupon the B’heist priest, Kind Man, immediately entered Bahkenkons’ dreams. While he had no luck finding the crown in the scholar’s head, I’ve no doubt this won’t stop the trio from looking harder – and how much time will that leave for Alampic training?

That’s right: Mahshid, formerly of House Piruz and presently of questionable company, has signed up to take part in Alam’s games! Exactly what this drunkard hopes to accomplish is a mystery to this reporter, but perhaps with a little help from her friends…

On special assignment in questionable company myself, this is Scarpa Lela, signing off.

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Episode 08: Noble Ghosts and Haunted Houses
or, Let's Light Some Black Candles

This is Scarpa Lela, on special assignment following Alam’s most reputed group of would-be adventurers – though today they counted only two, with no indication where their rather drab compatriot has disappeared to. With Majd still under the Queen’s care, the B’heist priest, Kind Man, worked for some time in his camp while the disgraced house guard, Mahshid, visited the Noble Quarter. Following the events after the Queen’s birthday, the quarter has seen a lot of chaos: the streets are thick with guards in an attempt to stop the looting of vacated noble houses, though Mahshid gained access to visit her once-family.

According to reports from serving staff, the head of house Piruz was found dead on the day of Hippatia’s birthday, and his family has suffered the same fate as many in the Noble Quarter: an overlong sleep, expected to end in death. A distant family member, Lord Io, has arrived to take over the Piruz estate, but some things couldn’t be done without Piruz’s help. For that, they’d need Kind Man.

While the internal politics of the adventurers’ group is still unclear, some kind of bargain was struck between Mahshid and Kind Man, and the latter used his wizardry to contact Piruz. The subject of their meeting is yet unknown, but shortly afterwards, Mahshid and Kind Man visited Harva House – another noble house that appears to have been abandoned. In fact, many of the Noble District believe that the house is not empty at all, but haunted.

What events occurred inside the house cannot yet be verified, but various sources have postulated the existence of drow artifacts under the house, as well as some magical devices. Both Kind Man and Mahshid were seen leaving the house with unidentified documents as well as some magic items, including a staff. No word yet on what this means for our fine city.

With Majd out of commission, the PIruz house crumbling and the B’heist on the brink of departure, will this mean the end of the party’s misadventures? This reporter, and her superiors, think not one bit, and listeners can look forward to more special assignment updates. For general Alam news, check the work of our other reporters, many of whom will be covering the Alampic Games.

This is Scarpa Lela, signing off.

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