A Brief Update from Beyond the Borderlands

Well, the Keep on the Borderlands campaign has been in a holding pattern for a few weeks now, but prior to that there was quite a lot of activity. Some highlights:

The trio of core adventurers, Hildy, Blacktome, and Brother Zogtavius, made one last foray into the Caves of Chaos as conditions worsened at the now Castellan-free Keep. Taxes seem to have been proclaimed on everything, prices had more than doubled on all goods and services, and the merchants' guild appeared to be unstoppable. Plus, adventuring at the Keep and its environs had become a fine institution. All was not well.

At the Caves, the trio freed a captured merchant or some such, and before returning him and his daughters to the Keep, stopped to inventory the treasure they had locked up until such time as they could manage to extract it. This included a tun of wine, which they decided they would crack open and try. Hildy took the first sip of the delightful-tasting concoction, when - suddenly - her orange locks turned to yarn! Turns out, it was a giant barrel of Whimsy Wine. Yikes! The others, having drunk their cups simultaneously, suffered a variety of strange effects. (Probably the strangest being the sudden appearance of an exact double of Brother Zogtavius, whom the good cleric dubbed Zogustus, and bade him do Tarak's will before sending him forth into the world.)

Understanding the value (priceless?!) of their find, the party returned to the Keep - only to discover as they were stopped at the gate that magic items and use of magic had been banned in their absence. Fortunately, it turned out that the merchant they'd freed was none other than Wolgort the Elder, father of the current head of the Keep's merchants' guild. The portly man burst to the front of the party and demanded entry, declaring that his rescuers would be immune to such inanities.

The party didn't take well to this latest "law," and the next morning they opted to buy a wagon, hire some goons, and take their leave of the Keep for good. They stopped at the Caves to get their booty, and headed east - into the unknown.

After several days of (mostly) uneventful travel, the party found themselves outside the gates of an ancient and wicked city. They were dismayed to discover that they had arrived at Ru, City of Cannibals. They were even more dismayed to hear that the city's "Ghoul King" (said by some to be a mighty, sun-fearing dragon) had outlawed all use of magic within city walls. Regardless, they opted to make the best of it, and procured a small estate within the city from which to operate.

Almost immediately, the group found gainful employ. Brother Zogtavius located the Temple of Tarak in the city's Bazaar of the Gods and set about rehabilitating it (with the thanks of its lone ancient cleric). Blacktome found the city's slavers' guild and made good use of his Whimsy Wine-induced ability to know - on sight - the value of any humanoid. Hildy found the group a patron in Gorgomme the Corpulent, owner of "the city's largest emporium of rare and wonderful goods."

Gorgomme offered to purchase some of the group's Whimsy Wine (they're afraid they'll be murdered for it) despite its illegality in Ru. He asked for a show of good faith first: the party needed to kill a hill giant that they had encountered (or evaded, I should say) on the way to the city, as the creature had been robbing his supply caravans. They did so quickly and efficiently, but on the return trip to Ru, poor Blacktome found himself staring at the wrong end of a basilisk.

With their Blacktome-shaped statue left to adorn their estate's front lawn, the party recruited a new fighter to help them as they went to seek the Emerald Enchanter (thank you, Dungeon Crawl Classics) in his citadel northeast of the city, having been informed that he may possess a cure for Blacktome's condition.

The Enchanter's hospitality proved to be lacking ("Get out of my home or die!!!" were, I believe, his exact words) and the party took umbrage. They forced their way into his inner sanctum, murdered him to death, and took his citadel as their own. (The general thought being that he was up to bad things anyway, so he had it coming. Plus, he'd pissed them off. A lot.)

So, with a house in the city and a spiffy new(-ish) citadel to call their own, the party set to curing their resident chaotic mage of his granite-ifcation, and doing more business in Ru. Hildy battled a nasty Whimsy Wine addiction, which led to her being afflicted with a case of bleeding hands, and ultimately having remove curse cast on her (which removed all of the Whimsy Wine effects - including her yarn hair and the ability to levitate at will!). While repairing the roof of Temple Tarak, Brother Zogtavius discovered a ruined temple in a closed-in courtyard behind the rows of massive buildings.

It turned out to be the ruins of the Temple of the Carnifex (thanks again, Dungeon Crawl Classics). A few new scars later, and the party is now in the possession of the Jewels of the Carnifex (although word across the known lands has it that Brother Zogtavius smashed them) and several other nifty bits of the goddess' worship-py stuff. Including a book that makes it easier for spell users to contact magical patrons - and that Hildy could not resist using. She discovered the location of a powerful necromantic spell but at a cost: her hair turned bone white and she took on the appearance of a corpse.

The party next set out for Greyhawk city, far to the southwest, to the cemetery of which Hildy had promised to return a corpse that the Emerald Enchanter had been interrogating to augment his powers. (Also, it just so happened that the spell she was looking for was to be found in a tomb in the Greyhawk cemetery.) The journey and the search for the corpse's original resting place (somewhere amidst the ghoul-controlled necropolis) were fraught with more than danger, as the widening gulf between Hildy's lust for power and Brother Zotavius' growing fundamentalist behavior started to interfere with the adventurers' ability to trust one another.

At the end of it all, they returned the body, Hildy found the tomb that contained the key to unlocking the spell disintegrate (as well as an awful lot of untouched loot) and afterwards Hildy and Brother Zogtavius had a long, hard talk about things.

The adventure continues...?

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