Northeast of Vline, a little coastal town named Rousselle, known for its trade of waterborne delicacies, is bustling with life. At the center of town is a tavern, called the Flamelight Flagon, whose ales are top notch.
Strangely, there are no profound smells with which to accompany this establishment, save for the occasional smell of char and the faint smell of sulphur in the occasional waft of air. The air is humid and cool, almost thick, as if exposed to the air directly off the sea — this is not surprising because of the proximity to the ocean.
Situated around the table is a half-elven man with pale skin, dark hair, and a faint smile on his face, a blue-gray-skinned Tiefling woman with indigo hair, a cream-skinned, white-haired Yuan-ti woman, a raven-haired man with pale skin and blue-grey eyes, and finally the blue-green skin of a water genasi. All of you are dressed in what appears to be casual regalia, the type of attire that would be worn to a dance or a party. The men are wearing long coats with intricate buttons, and silk shirts with an open panel at the neck. The Yuan-ti is wearing an intricate golden, tribal bodice. And finally, the Teifling is wearing a black silken dress. None of the group had any of their weapons, items, or anything.
In the corner of the room, Jac notices a man dressed similarly to the party in a corner, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees, seeming to move his head to music that can only be heard in his head. After approaching the man, he smiles, “I wondered how long it would take you to find me. But, that’s all part of the game, isn’t it?” He meandered over to the table and sat down. He started his long monologue:
“I worked with Akhasa, and with a little trading, we came to an arrangement regarding your lives. Five black candles, five souls returned to, well… me.” Suddenly the room around them changes to a vast underground cavern with mirror-black water on the floor. Standing by themselves are five black candles with black flames. “Here’s the deal. And I’m big on deals. I keep my word. There’s something I need, and thanks to my father, I can’t come and get it. It’s on Tellus Malum, the volcanic island south of Falstrien. There’s a staff there, specifically my staff. After the Edicts locked me out of Aerstril, it was left behind on the prime material, and some of my followers had it in their possession, but then they got greedy, and now they’re being flayed alive daily in the nine hells. Anyway! This staff is very, very personal to me. Very powerful. I have an arrangement with another being more powerful than you — you know him, Anamika, it’s how I came to know of you — and he has a plan to execute for me that will benefit me and him both. See, that’s how it works. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. You get me my staff back, I give you your lives back. Capesh?”
After bit of questioning, it was revealed that he was Alanix, the god of lawful evil, and of the nine hells. Then, after a snap of his fingers, the town around them reverted to reality. The contents of the tavern were engulfed in flames, including the patrons who all burned alive. The party was able to discern that a hobgoblin raiding party had burned, pillaged, and mostly looted the entire town and its contents, and when they reverted to their real forms, they were nearly nude. They had none of their own items, and knew that to undergo this task that had been set before them, they would have to get gear, and get their items back.
They collected what they could from bodies in town. Jac had been placed in a warforged body, and when he came to, he was faceless. He was missing his mask, and literally — his face. He screamed out in frustration and agony, and began thrashing about the inside of the tavern, punching walls and burnt bodies. Finally he came to, contented by the degloved face of a former adventurer which he painted later to match a clown.
During their journey south, the murdered a Paladin’s Squire in the forest, and killed the members of a nomad caravan at a campsite off the edge of the road. Merrin — the current taken-name of the party’s trickster rogue — and Dry Bones Jones, collected horses for the party.
Our dark party arrived in Vline, pretending to be Adventurer’s. Thanks to the abilities of their disguising Arcane Trickster Rogue, they were on a quest for the Adventurer’s Guild in Vline. They tied up with wealthy jewel merchant, A’qui’tal, and “protected” him on the way to Pouis. This entailed killing the merchant, stealing his possessions, assuming his identity, and venturing forth the next morning. Jac, the semi-faceless jester, made use of the man’s body by dressing and preparing it for consumption… yes, for others to eat. By the time they made it to the rendezvous point with his contact, the party had long since adequately assumed the roles they had set out to. Jon — Merrin, now A’quit’al, pretended to be his assumed role with verve, and met up with his old friend. They discussed old times and new, and after setting up camp, had some shared alone time in the tent. This, of course, would only last a short while, because they managed to kill everyone by poisoning the meat. A viscious poison eviscerated the insides of the guards, leaving some of them vomiting up the lining of their own throats, blood, and eventually succumbing to death. Now, with items in tow, and two carriages, the group off for Pouis, hoping to find Jac’s masks.
Pouis was a gem of a city, full of open prostitution, dark alleys, and premeditated murder. As soon as the party entered the city, they set to work. Anamika and Dry Bones Jones set off to sell the jewelry they found in Vline, while Jac, Jon and Anck made their way to Kael’s Curiosity Museum, where they scouted the place. They encountered a dark and strange ticketmaster, whose general appearance was seemingly shrouded in mystery, though to what extent they couldn’t tell. Instead, they simply slinked in, having bought a ticket, and examined the contents. What they found was truly a curio of strange items; weapons, clothes, and pieces of mythological history. Some were certainly real, others were questionable — they were interesting nonetheless. Jac spotted his masks, immediately, and began formulating a plan with the help of his party.[6:01 AM]Their plan culminated in tricking one of the guards into a quick death at the hands of Jon — now Webb — who took his persona. Anamika and Dry Bones were successful, having met a fence for their stolen goods, and made 1.5kgp for the jewelry. Then, at midnight, they made their move. The party, complete, entered through a back window — except for Webb, who pretended to be a guard — where they made the jump on the guards. One by one, they dispatched them, eventually trapping them beyond the room with a myriad of spells. Jac managed to get his masks, Anck got a staff, and the built got set ablaze, creating the perfect distraction with which to flee the city. Now they know that they are headed off to Zrose, a city nestled in the swamps, and the home of the Witch of the Wilds.
The party set out days before from Pouis, and presently arrived in the swamps surrounding, and under, the city of Zrose. Putrid and Fetid, the swamp was a living breathing creature that sought out its travelers demise as frequently as it was used to hide another’s. Fortunately for the party, Anamika, the Tiefling Warlock, knew the ways in and out, for indeed, it was her home… Hours of wandering through knee- and waist-deep water finally deposited them upon the boggy shores of the witches coven, the leader of the Formora Coven, Anamika’s mother’s home. Excited to see her prodigal child, she explained that happy as though she was to see her daughter, she did not have the bracelent she came for; adventurers had swooped in and taken it from her, and killed her brother. She droned on and on about how disappointed her father was that she perished, but was pleased when Alanix brought her back to life to give her another chance. She bade her farewell, and flirted with the Jester of Death, Jac. More seemingly aimless wondering through the swamps, and the party arrived at the town of Villeslich. Their search for Anamika’s bracelet led them to the Stinking Boar Inn, where they confronted a band of adventurers, eventually killing them. Anamika, having recovered her bracelet, harvested the souls of all the recently deceased. The party slept well that night, across the street from the still-smoking bodies of all the patrons who they burned alive inside.