Gerland of Candlekeep, NG Half-Elf Skald, 2nd SoA report
Back in Athkatla the first reinforcement to the party was a Gnomish racketeer named Jan Jansen. He wasn't exactly the type that upright folk like Gerland, Aerie, or Anomen would normally associate with, but what thief was? Most importantly, the party needed a competent handler of locks and traps, and the Gnome's skills as an Illusionist were a welcome addition to the magic of Aerie and Gerland. Jan also had a knack for incoherent meanderings that amused Gerland more than a little but drove his companions crazy. Soon enough however, Jan would become a valued member of the company.
On their way to the Bridge District, the companions ran into another ambush, a group of ruffians with an injured man upon the ground. The ruffians attacked but stood no chance against Anomen's blinding Holy Smite, Jaheira's Insect Plague, and Jan's Chaos.
They brought the injured man, Renfeld, to a large estate in the Docks District, apparently a Harper hold, where a man named Rylock took care of him.
Skinner Murders, part 2
With the help of Jan's trap disarmament skills, the party managed to safely navigate the Tanner Shop. They they found the tanner, Rejiek Hidesman, in a basement with a small dock. Unfortunately he escaped.
Dangerous creatures lunged forward to attack Gerland, Aerie, and Jaheira, but their Stone-/Ironskins and a swift retreat meant they'd only have to deal with a Bone Golem. This they did with the help of an Aerial Servant summoned by Anomen,
before they reported their findings to Lt. Aegisfield of the city guard.
Excursion to Graveyard District; Death of Anomen's Sister
The party of five visited the Graveyard District, and spoke with a man that had been buried alive. (The party would later slay the perpetrators of this and similar crimes, acting in self-defense.) The companions also defeated several types of Spiders in the crypts, albeit with some difficulty,
and brought Hivemistress Pai'Na the remains of Spiders' Bane. A Pale Geen Ioun Stone and a Spider Figurine that could be used once a day to summon Kitty the Spider, were among Gerland's rewards.
When their dealings at the Graveyard District were done, a man named Terl brought Anomen dire tidings. His sister Moira had been murdered. Anomen's foul-mouthed father suspected Saerk, a rival of his, and expected Anomen to avenge his sister's death by assassinating Saerk. Anomen had mixed feelings about the way to go, and Gerland fully understood his friend. The Skald eventually conviced the priest not to exact revenge on Saerk, even after the city's authorities refused to prosecute the man due to a lack of evidence.
Umar Hills, part 2
With Jan in their midst and with Azuredge, a war axe that could instantly kill undead upon hit, in Gerland's possession the party decided to try once more to eliminate the evil that plagued the Umar Hills. Azuredge and Anomen's castings of Free Action certainly helped a lot against the Shadows and Skeleton Warriors that inhabited the Temple Ruins.
Soon enough the party had slain all of them, and solved a number of riddles to obtain access to a Shadow Dragon's lair. A special wardstone given to them by the spirit of Amauna, allowed the companions to slip past the slumbring dragon unnoticed, to a shadow altar outside. There they found the orchestrator of the killings and disappearances of people, a Shade Lord.
Note: I did the fight against the Shade Lord twice, allowing myself a reload when hitting him before he had completed his talk turned out to make him unkillable. The combat log would say he had taken damage, for example from Jaheira's sunstone bullets, but his status would say he remained uninjured.
A heavily buffed Anomen (agility potion, HP+DUHM+RM, Skald song for optimal ranged Thac0), hit the Shade Lord with a Sol's Searing Orb. The creature failed its save, meaning it got blinded for twelve rounds, in addition to suffering fire damage. Meanwhile Aerie slew the Shadow spawning altar with a sunstone bullet.
Several ranged attacks later the Shade Lord was no more.
With it fell another creature of the shadows, and then darkness made way for light.
The party carried out one last inspection of the ruins before heading back to Imnesvale. When they opened a cell door they found a Halfling Truesword of Arvoreen, Mazzy, whose companions had sadly perished in their attempt at stopping the Shade Lord. Mazzy joined the party.
Back in Athkatla the party undertook a number of simpler missions (such as some work for the Shadow Thieves, though nothing dishonorable, an attempt to persuade sculptor Sarles to work for the Temple of Helm, and exposing Neb the child killer). Their first larger mission was to deal with the slavers as they had promised Hendak they would. They found a secret entrance to the compound via the sewers. In the room they entered, Anomen's clerical buffs enabled him to occupy a priest of Cyric and several slavers on his own while most of the other companions focused on their captain when they noticed he was injuring Mazzy with his throwing axes.
When Haegan was down, the remaining slavers didn't last long against the party.
The party proceeded to defeat two Trolls, two Yuan-Ti warriors, and - thanks to an Insect Plague from Jaheira - more slavers.
The sextet brought Hendak the good news, dealt with some brigands in the slums (Bregg, Cohrvale, Gorf the Squisher), and rested to prepare for their next adventure.Watcher's Keep, 1st level, part 1
A call from a group of servants of Helm led the company to Watcher's Keep, a massive hold said to contain some extremely powerful evil somewhere that had to be sealed away for good. The companions only explored the first level, and soon found themselves discouraged by level-draining Vampiric Wraiths.
They looted the place, then rested outside until a messenger informed Mazzy that her sister in Trademeet had fallen ill. The party left the Keep, knowing that if they ever wanted to proceed to the lower levels they'd have to activate several statues through a ritual at an altar, and traveled to Trademeet.
Personal problems for Gerland's companions
Upon arrival in Trademeet, the party found the town under attack by wild animals. This was something they would have to investigate. Also, another messenger accosted the party. This time it was Sir Ryan Trawl, asking Anomen to return to Athkatla for his knighthood test. The companions first helped Mazzy's sister who, as it turned out, had been poisoned by drinking a potion concocted by a priest of Talona. The antidote they found on the priest's corpse.
Mazzy stayed in Trademeet to look after her sister; the others returned to Athkatla for Anomen's test.
In Athkatla, messenger number 3 appeared, a cousin of Jan's, informing the Gnome that his former love and her diseased child were at the Jansen home. The party witnessed the knighting of Sir Anomen,
and carried on to the Slums to visit the Jansens. The daughter of Jan's muse had fallen ill with an affliction of the mind. In return for the assassination of two Githyankis,
a Mind Flayer guising as a human healed the child. Unfortunately for Jan, this didn't bring him any closer to his lost love. The poor Gnome also barely survived an attack by Ruffians in his own home no less.
Jaheira too, faced some serious personal problems. She was cursed by an old rival, Baron Ployer. The Druid's Insect Plague, and the interference of Kitthix ensured victory against the Baron and his three Mage lackeys.
Thus ended Jaheira's curse.Trademeet & Druid Grove
Trademeet had two problems. Trade had been monopolized by the Dao Djinns, and the earlier witnessed animal attacks had not ceased. The party, with Mazzy once more in it, solved the first problem with little difficulty. Jan set a couple of snares in and around their tent, and when the Dao refused to leave those traps and the party's attacks ensured the departure of the Dao.
The companions were rewarded with an Efreeti bottle, dropped by one of the Dao, and a copious amount of gold and gems as well as the Shield of Harmony from Guildmistress Busya.
The animal attacks turned out to be the work of Shadow Druids that operated from a nearby Grove. In the forest the party battled Spiders, several Trolls (including the dreaded Spirit variants) that Mazzy would slay with fire arrows, an Elder Earth Elemental,
a host of Spore Colonies and Myconids, Shambling Mounds, and Grizzly Bears. There were also hostile encounters with Shadow Druids. These encounters were decided in the party's favor thanks to Jaheira's Insect Plagues and the party's summons.
In the Shadow Druid stronghold, Jaheira challenged grove leader Faldorn to a duel. Kitty intervened on Jaheira's behalf and ensured that the fight was over before it had actually started.
The companions were hailed as the heroes of Trademeet, and handsomely rewarded for the intervention. (Later these rewards seemed even more handsome to Gerland than he remembered. He suspected that Jan Jansen had had a deft hand in that, but questioning the Gnome would somehow only serve to remind the trickster of lost turnips or tragic family members.)
The party finally dealt with Rejiek Hidesman and one of his accomplices, and procured the Temple of Waukeen for mayor Logan Coprith before they left Trademeet for Athkatla.