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No Small Matter
The party continued its investigations into the case of the missing wizard Iretp on behalf of multiple parties who each offered a reward of varying magnitudes including:

Fat Julie (the proprietor of the Fortunes Fool gambling den) who claimed that Irtep owed him money and wanted him returned as an example

Tuvio, owner of a competing casino who claimed the same

The bard Glynen Valnoe, a concerned friend who worried that Irteps research was unsafe and that others sought him dead

The mysterious Faisel Dhaken, a Mage of ill repute who claimed friendship with Irtep and was likewise worried about his well being, and

Mage and gambling colleague Osgood Flumph, who sought both Irtep and the mysterious Pipes of Mizoa, a magical artifact that Irtep had crafted to assist with his research.

Following various clues obtained from the above parties as well has from Irteps ex-girlfriend Michaelena Goodeau, the party sought entry to Irteps Tower. On the way the party was ambushed by a group of Shadow Thieves led by a powerful unknown Mage. The thieves sought to relieve the party of the excess coin they had won the night before and, after a pitched battle in a narrow alley, party was able to defeat the thieves - but not before their leader was able to make his escape through a burning building.

After bribing their way past the city watch, the party entered the tower. To progress past the first floor the party successfully negotiated their way past a nefarious drowning trap. Continuing their exploration uncovered various research materials and notebooks including an ancient mummy that the party successfully defeated.

The party eventually came upon Irteps living/ loving quarters which contained both detailed research notes on a microscopic world he termed the Minzoa as well as a diary detailing some unusual peculiarities with regards to his interest in and experiences with the female sex. Most notably the party recovered a magical tome known as the Suma Katra which contained many performance enhancing techniques related to ummm stuff (single use item, +1 cha or con to reader).

Finally the party reached Irteps main laboratory. Upon opening the door they saw a desk with an unusual scientific instrument (microscope) pointed at a small dish. As they crossed the threshold to the lab, the party was unceremoniously shrunk to microscopic size and transported to the mysterious microscopic world of the Minzoa!

The party "arrived" in a forest of mushrooms. Climbing to the top for a better vantage point revealed a large body of water with several distant islands and a seemingly impossibly large wall surrounding the entire area as far as the eye could see.

The party set out towards the water when several members fell victim to the hypnotic pheromones of giant carnivorous mushrooms. Minerva saved the day by cooking up a little sauté via her patented fireball spell. The treat neutralized (and eaten) the party continued to the shore where they found a wrecked campsite and several boats carved out of mushroom caps.

The party piled into two boats and began paddling their way to the nearest island. It was a long journey and as the party shared stories from their past, they failed to notice the approach of a giant nematode which proceeded to snatch Vani out of the boat and attempt to eat her. Fending off the beast with a variety of spells and weapons, the party was able to save Vani before she was consumed.

The party arrived on the first large island where much to their surprise they found a fellow group of bounty hunters looking for Irtep. The group was led by Tully Smooth and proposed an alliance as their boats had been destroyed and they were under constant assault from a rival group of bounty hunters on the other side of the island. Tully claims that Delongs group could not be trusted, and that one of them was a murderouse shapeshifter. An uneasy alliance was reached with Tully as they set off to investigate/ deal with Delong's group. Upon arriving at Delong's camp, the party was told by Delong that Tully was in fact the shapeshifter. Unclear of who to believe Vani solved the issue by stabbing Tully in the back thereby starting an all out brawl.

Once again Minerva was the star incinerating most of Tully and Delong's minions in a single blast. Tully then surrendered to Theothlial's tender mercy while Delong fled to try and steal the groups boats. Vani caught Delong as he was pushing the boat into the water and, in a super-halfling demonstration of strength, was able to keep Delong grappled until the rest of the party arrived. With much shame at having been thwarted by a halfling, Delong then surrendered.

The party and its prisoners then rowed on to the next island. As they approached, Irteps voice whispered on the wind and first implored, then threatened, the party to leave. Undeterred the party landed upon the island and found a long sloping path that led to a cave mouth. A crazed wizard stood in front and 4 giant aeomeba barred the way. Irtep rained spells upon the party while the aeomeba kept the busy. This time it was Tormyn who saved the day with a well timed hold person spell.

After disposing of the aeomeba the party confronted Irtep who once again begged not to be returned to the regular world. The party agreed, and Minerva offered to be an intermediary between Irtep and the macro-world while Theo agreed to deliver both the Petri dish world of Minzoa as well as the microscope to Glynen Valnoe who offered to smuggle Irtep out of town. In exchange Irtep awarded the party his favorite Tenticle Rod and sacrificed the Pipes of Minzoa.

Mission completed and raft (finally) repaired, the party was now free to continue its journey downriver to the Barrier Peaks. As they prepared to depart The Salamander asked for a personal favor in the form of allowing a mysterious (and short) gnome monk to accompany the party. Her story remains a mystery - for now.
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A Casual Dinner
Having returned back from the Chateau the party learned that they still had a few more days to kill before their raft would be ready to continue the journey. Fortunately a distraction arose on two fronts. First the party received a cryptic dinner invitation from Vierrala Ichis "the Pale Lady" asking if the party might be the "adventurers she was looking for". Inquiries determined that the Pale Lady was a well known but reclusive collector of antiquities. Their curiously piqued, the party went to the Lady's estate where they - along with a strange half-dragon named Varuk - were led through very dimly lit halls to a dinner room where they wer treated to a massive feast.

The Pale Lady herself was a stunningly beautiful and unfailingly polite albino drow elf. She asked the guests to identify themselves and speak of their recent travels. Varuk spoke first and explained that he was the sole survivor of his tribe the rest having been killed by a strange plague following their capture of a bloodstone fragment from the rival black dragon borne tribe. The Lady seemed interested inprocuring this stone and was visibly disappointed when Varuk indicated that he had thrown it into a volcano.

Next the party introduced themselves and spoke of their recent adventures. The Pale Lady listened politely but appeared disinterested until they spoke of their encounter with Vvazza the Lamia. At this point the Lady gently dabbed her mouth with a napkin and informed the party that Vvazza was a most favorite servant of the Dark Lord G'razzt and that she too was his servant and had been tasked by G'razzt himself to seek revenge against her killers.

A sphere of darkness engulfed the Lady followed by bolts of eldritch darkness. Simultaneously the previously passive guards launched a furious assault on Minerva and Vani, stunning both with blows from their fists before teleporting back into the darkness. On the defensive for the first few moments the party regained the initiative when Varuks mighty blade came into play on their behalf. Next a timely confusion spell cast by the recovering Minerva caused the darkness to drop away leaving the Lady vulnerable. Soon the party emerged victorious.

Rapidly departing the estate before the guards could arrive, the party tended their wounds before commencing the search for the missing wizard Irtep - a powerful Mage who apparently ran up some gambling debts before disappearing. The party sought information in the massive gambling hall known as Fortunes Fool. The recieved the names of several of Irteps known confidants but, before departing to investigate agreed to participate in the Challenge of Champions whereby they wagered a princely 1000 gold agains that of another party in a game of skill and might.

The 5-0 Defenders of Phlan were their opponents and the goal was to retrieve a pot of gold from the middle of a sand filled arena and take it back through their starting gate. The Defenders of Phlan had a plan, casting Evards Black Testicles to further clutter up the battlefield but it was not quick enough as the party were able to get most of their team in the field of play. Varuk quickly ,add his way to the pot of gold and in an impressive feat of strength picked it up on the first try. A drunk old Barbarian from the other team tried to knock him down but bounced off Varuks tough hide and he was able to leap into Evards Testicles and pass the pot off to Tormyn who collapsed across the finish line for the win.

A the crowd went wild as the party collected their winnings and went to celebrate.
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Chateau Glaunt
The party limps their storm-damaged boat to Bards Gate and learns that it will be a week or so before their vessel can be completely repaired.

In the interim Vani successfully smuggles her illicit cargo past the guards and their guard dogs by hiding it inside a container of stinky cheese. She and the team then met the Salamander at the local tavern for the exchange. The Salamander is a grossly obese and heavily tattooed halfling who informs them upon inquiry that the drugs are for a reclusive batch of monks who use it as part of their meditative rituals. Coincidentally it can also increase combat ability if one is willing to risk some side effects. Vani takes a few vials as part of her payment.

The party then overhears a customer complaining that his favorite wine is no longer in stock and the barkeeper explains that shipments from that windy unexpectedly ceased some time ago. Having some free time on their hands the party sets off to investigate.

After several days travel the party finds itself at an overgrown and apparently uninhabited Chateau. Investigation shows that the winery wAs infliltrated by cultists of the evil slime God. Defeating the slime gods zombie minions the party comes face to face with a wine-demon. Intoxicated by battle, the party defeats the demon and cleanses the winery of its remaining taint.

Having seen too many horrors Hawthorn elects to take over the abandoned Chateau and attempt to restore it to its former glory. His adventuring career over, Hawthorn subsequently achieves great heights in winemaking before meeting an untimely death by falling into the fermentation tank.
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Vvyaza the Lamia
The party's journey south is interrupted by a terrible rainstorm that damages their boat. Seeking shelter inland the party stumbles upon a small girl wandering the brambles. She is malnourished, soaking wet and cannot speak but seems familiar with the area.

The party follows her lead to a crumbling stone manor. The interior is ruined and forbidding. Searching around the party finds nothing of immediate interest. After a time the girl crumbles to the ground in convulsions. Neither mundane nor magical means seems to have any effect.

Suddenly her eyes open wide as númerous wolf-like creatures rush into the room hungry for blood. ITS A TRAP! The girl transforms into a monsterous lamia and she and her jackelwere minions attack the party.

After a vicious battle the party is victorious, and with her dying breath the lamia curses the party in the name of her dread lord G'razzt.
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Red Hand Orcs (Jordan DM)
Following Iskanders advice (via diary) the party returns to Moonlake in order to seek passage down river to the Sundered Lands and the fabled White Plume Mountain which Iskander believes contains several powerful relics that may be used to help counter the Yaun-ti threat.

Travel is not as easy to come by in Moonlake as was hoped as the Red Hand orcs have descended from the mountains and are ambushing caravans and riverine travel alike. Strom Berringhammer (Mayor), Berrick Anderson and Flendel beseech the parties aid once more and promises them safe travel should they assist the town.

The party heads off to investigate and after several days travel in extremely poor weather is ambushed by a pack of orcs and worgs that they dispatch relatively easily. Continuing on their way the party uncovers a larger warband and, failing at the stealthy approach begins a poorly planned frontal assault against much greater numbers. Aided by Chagatai's attunement to the storm via a well-timed call lightning spell the party manages to keep the orcs at bay for a time before ultimately getting surrounded.

Things look grim for the party when the orcish leaders Gromox and Kaxzec approach and agree to a parley. They state that they have been driven from their ancestral homeland in the mountains by a fierce red lizard and attack the caravans out of necessity rather than a desire for war with the humans. The party and orcs strike a truce whereby the orcs will return to the mountains if party can dispose of the red lizards.

The party once again climbs high into the mountains and after several smaller encounters (including some ankhegs) finds the young red drake Drakvaxsess in its lair. Following a challenging battle in which several party members nearly fell, the beast was slain by Theo as it sought to make its escape.

It's bargain with the orcs and the town fulfilled, the party recovers and reprovisions for a few days during which time Vani is approached by an agent of the mysterious League of Night and Fog. Having had their regular couriers slain by orcs, they ask Vani to deliverr a small chest of drugs to someone known as "the Salamander" in the city of Bards Gate. Having been assured the drugs were not to be used for fell purposes (and never one to turn down an opportunity for coin) Vani agrees to the job.

Finally the party boards a river barge for a slow journey down towards the scorched lands.

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