-Four brave personal shoppers set out to collect a bushel of elusive salad greens:
-Rotom: the Kobold Wizard whose tricksy problem-solving hardly ever gets a friend killed
-Arfus: the Gnome Druid whose trust Dog was off enjoying a spa day
-Carrow: The Aasimar Cleric who believes on can use one’s AK (Angel Knowledge) and still have a good day.
-Leslie: the Human Warlock who sought this commission because he’d “rather help other nobles than regular people.”
-Baron von Wotzitz tasked the Operatives with finding a bushel of Umar Cress, a rare vegetable that had disappeared from market just in time for Dona Liada’s pregnancy cravings to reach critical status.
-The party traveled to the Amnian capital of Athkatla. They asked around the giant open-air market about the Cress, but were told that all Umar Cress shipments came from a distributor in Esmeltaran named Yargo, and that none had arrived in the city for months.
-They sought passage to the halfling-dominated resort city of Esmeltaran aboard a state-of-the-art elemental-powered riverboat.
-To avoid the steep fare, Rotom paid for the party’s passage with a sack of glamered copperpieces, with surprising ease.
-Upon arrival in Esmeltaran, the party learned of the Kobold’s larceny when they were stopped by six short-statured guards, led by Captain Pablito, who reminded them that magical communication over distance exists in modern Faerun.
-Arfus paid the fare to stay out of jail and the remaining Operatives followed suit…except for Rotom who had conveniently disappeared (he found them once again once the heat died down.)
-The party moved on to the Restaurante de Meio-Pinta. The maitre-d’ was very accommodating but echoed the vendors in Athkatla: no Umar Cress was coming into the city this year. He did tell them that the Cress only grew in the Umar Hills to the south, between two long-dormant volcanoes called Kossuth’s Eyes.
-The party agreed to investigate the Umar Hills for signs of Cress, and return as much as they could to the Maio-Pinta in exchange for use of a cart and two horses. They planned to spend the night, but noted a clandestine man nearby eavesdropping on their conversation. He furtively took his leave, and the Operatives tailed him back to a small apartment between two alleys.
-The room into which the man entered contained several other people, and the party overheard him relaying their plan to find the Umar Cress. Peeking through the ajar door, they saw a room decorated with devotional tapestries to Asmodeus!
-Wasting no time, the party rigged the apartment doors to trap the potential cultists inside. They forewent their overnight stay, instead collecting the cart and horses and departing for the Umar hills as daylight dwindled.
-The approach was uneventful, but not long after reaching the piedmont of Kossuth’s Eyes, the party saw an overturned cart, not unlike their own, abandoned and empty but for the carcasses of its horses and the three giant vultures feasting upon them!
-Unable to go around them without abandoning their own cart, the vultures needed to be dealt with. Arfus channeled her Druidic powers to address the loathsome creatures, convincing them that a bear fight was taking place nearby and would certainly precipitate a meal more delicious than some horsemeat. The vultures flew off, and the Operatives circumvented the scene.
-Continuing south on the road through the hills, the party approached a jury rigged barricade consisting of two wooden watchtowers and some logs approximating a gate. Four archers stood atop the towers and as the cart drew near, told them without subtlety that the party would proceed no further. Leslie stepped forward to plead their case but was met with a warning shot that said they archers were not interested in parlay.
-Just then the giant vultures returned, upset for having been duped, and with several more of their fellows in tow! Hungry for revenge (also just hungry) the huge birds attacked.
-Rotom cast a magical fog cloud to obscure the cart as the vultures swarmed. The archers on the wall, startled, could not help but open fire on the scavengers. As the vultures turned their attention on the archers, the Operatives sneaked out of the swirling battle by various devices, abandoning their cart and horses as casualties.
-The vultures eventually overwhelmed and picked apart the hapless archers, but not before the latter had fired some flaming beacon arrows high into the sky, summoning reinforcements. The party watched from a safe distance as a group of men traveled up the road from further south with torches. They drove off the remaining vultures and their compatriots’ remains. One man instructed the others to deliver the corpses to “Qarlathi” and said he would watch the gate until others returned.
-The Operatives reasoned this man must have answers and succeeded in capturing him without incident. They sought to interrogate the man but he gave them very little (Qarlathi was the leader and was at Durzo farm) before attempting to use magic to wriggle free and being cut down for his efforts.
-The party could only travel on foot further into the hills. They encountered a small farmhouse around which the fields had recently been harvested. Evidence was seen that the residents of the home had left suddenly and recently. Cart tracks from this farm led further down the road, and following those, the operatives knew that they had reached Durzo farm.
- At a large staging area used to load crops into carts, an imposing devil stood, a pair of imps at his sides, barely controlling an angry mob of over a dozen farmers who argued that the shipment had to leave early. The farmers presented their dead compatriots as proof that the operation was under attack. The purple-skinned fiend, with a a writhing beard of spiked tendrils, admonished the gang to keep to the schedule when suddenly, Carrow appeared in their midst in his full angelic majesty: glowing eyes and luminous ghostly wings, as he hovered over their heads, entreating the farmers away from the Ashmadai and back to the light.
-The devil, Qarlathi, stepped forward to punish the Aasimar’s impertinence, but Carrow, challenged the fiend to a contest for the souls of the cress farmers. Qarlathi acceded and named his terms: 3 tests, comparing musical prowess, combat superiority, and stamina.
-Carrow agreed and, even though he had to borrow a set of pan pipes from his ally, was blessed by Oghma to defeat the devil in the music contest. The combat portion, though, didn’t go as planned. Qarlathi brought a whirling storm of glaive strikes and whipping tendrils, and to his allies, Carrow seemed overmatched.
-Rather than wait to see their ally cut down, the other Operatives maneuvered to position before joining the battle. The four fought fiercely as the devil, his imps, and the farmer-cultists tried to repel them. Together, the operatives brought down Qarlathi and the imps while managing not to kill any of the farmers.
-The hapless farmers begged forgiveness for their shortsightedness and swore to follow the straight and narrow from here on. They a cart of cress to return to Esmeltaran for their trouble, which the Operatives accepted. Upon their return, the party was gladly received but still had to race to Sir Praethas and Dona Liada’s estate before the volatile mother-to-be destroyed the house.
-Arriving at the manor in Suzail, the ruse was revealed: Praethas and Liada were both dedicated to trying to stamp out Ashmadai activity and were unable to act directly due to the strict rules of the Purple Dragons. They thanked the Operatives for their service, promised to use their intel to mobilize more opposition to the fiend cult, and thanked them especially for the delicious Umar Cress.
Loot and XP
Rotom, Arfus, Carrow, and Leslie each receive _______ GP (coming soon).
The active PCs are each awarded 5 days Downtime.
The active PCs receive 3 XP.
Their (actual or hypothetical) second PCs received 2 XP.
All inactive PCs (and those yet to be created) receive 1 XP