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The Ghost of Captain Jetrel
“Now you are ready to do what I could not.” said the ghost of Captain Jetrel, “Be warned though. Even without the ability to cast illusions, the mind devourer is still a powerful foe.”

“How did this dwarf’s spirit become trapped here for 500 years?” Teejak whispered to Asbjorn.

“Don’t die with regrets, man,” Asbjorn whispered back.

The rest of Team America gathered in the final chamber of the Temple of Quantum Knowledge, gaining what information they could on the aboleth by conversing with the ghost of Captain Jetrel.



“This should be a good place to develop a plan of attack,” said Asbjorn, “I don’t think the aboleth can detect us in here.”

“The cleric is correct,” said Jetrel, “The mind devourer can see through all sources of water in the vicinity of its lair, but this chamber is completely isolated.”

“Jetrel, do you have any gear on your body, that you won’t be needing in the afterlife, that might help us against the creature?” asked Asbjorn.

“My armor was enchanted in the forge of spells,” said Jetrel, “My captain of the guard wielded a truly remarkable halberd that empowered his holy smites. Perhaps you encountered it in the mine?”

Kyron deftly spun the Halberd of Improved Smiting, “It has served us well indeed.”

“Do you know what to expect in the creature’s lair?” asked Jetrel.

“We have met the creature in its lair before, near the shore of the underground lake in Wave Echo Cave,” Asbjorn explained.

“I see.” replied Jetrel. “The shore in Wave Echo Cave is but a small fraction of the underground lake that the creature dwells in. The heart of its lair is an island at the center of the lake. An island composed of pure celestite.”

“We discovered a map in the mine that indicated a secondary entrance to the underground lake near the site of these ruins,” said Asbjorn.

“Yes, I assume that the circular spring due north of here must originate in the underground lake. My men and I did not bother to investigate, as we did not wish an accidental confrontation with the creature.”

“So, the aboleth may attack us before we even reach this island you speak of?”

“Perhaps. The creature will be at its most powerful in the heart of its lair. But it will attack you wherever it feels it has the advantage. The aboleth has a memory spanning backwards for thousands of years. It remembers countless encounters with adventurers such as yourselves. Expect it to use that knowledge against you.”

“That will be its weakness,” said Teejak, “I don’t know what I’m doing so it can’t possibly figure me out.”

“I hope you are right,” replied Jetrel.

“It’s just a big fish, I’m not worried,” boasted Teejak.

“You remind me of myself when I confronted the creature 500 years ago,” sighed Jetrel, “how naïve I was…”

“Team America fears nothing!” exclaimed Teejak, “Plus, this aboleth has enslaved Asbjorn’s lover, so there is nothing else to be done but kick his ass!”

Jetrel looked coldly at Asbjorn, “Your lover is likely already dead. Aboleths gain the memories and experiences of those they consume. If it knows you are coming, the mind devourer will not hesitate to kill those you love to gain information on your group.”

Asbjorn whispered a quick prayer to Ozrikotep for Quelline’s safety. The lens had shown him a scene of her weak but still alive…

“Fear not Asbjorn!” said Teejak, “We will rescue Quelline, I do not believe she is dead. And if the aboleth does have her memories then it is probably covering in its cave at the thought of us coming for its head.”

Setting aside his concern for Quelline’s safety, Asbjorn continued developing a plan of attack.

“Is there some way we can weaponize the posion gland from Venomfang?” Asbjorn turned toward Ash.

“I’ll see what I can do,” replied the ranger, “It should be possible to craft several poison arrows or crossbow bolts, but it will be delicate work.”

“Take your time,” said Asbjorn, “we will take a short rest here while Ash works.”

The cleric next turned towards Gayjon, “How are Magic’s wounds?”

“Magic is a little weepy, but he insists on riding into battle with us,” replied the five-eightsling.

“So be it,” replied Asbjorn, “who will wield the Lens of Truesight in battle?”

“You have fallen victim the the Aboleth’s illusions in the past, and you are the most emotionally invested in this quest,” said Teejak, “Perhaps you should keep it.”

“Yeah I agree,” said Gayjon, “Asbjorn seems pretty weak minded.”

“Very well.”

After a brief rest, Ash had finished crafting several poision arrows and Team America prepared to depart.

“I wish you well,” said the ghost of Jetrel, “You are either very brave or very dumb for doing this, I’m not sure which.”

“It’s a little of both,” replied Nutella and Teejak in unison.

“However, the Lens of Truesight should give you the advantage that I lacked,” said Jetrel.

“Your disadvantage was that you died,” replied Asbjorn.

“…..yes….” said Jetrel, confused. “…..It was….”

“Be forewarned,” Jetrel continued, “If what you’ve said is true, and the mind devourer has already captured your friends, they may no longer have their own free will. You may have to harm those you love in self-defense.”

There was a brief pause.

“Anybody else bored by this ghost?” asked Gayjon. “Nothing personal man, but you are so 500 years ago…”

“Yeah let’s roll out,” said Teejak.

Before departing, Asbjorn said a quick prayer for Jetrel, “Jetrel be praised. Ozrikotep will guide you. Tell him Asbjorn sends you.”

Asbjorn moved closer to Jetrel’s ghost and began singing, “You once were lost but now am found, may beer rain down on this dwarf’s soul. Praise to the holy keg in the highest. To the father, to the son, and to the holy beer keg. Amen.”

With that, Asbjorn splashed holy beer on the ghost, causing it to dissipate into a beam of radiant light. No sooner had Jetrel disappeared, Nutella moved up and tried licking up the remaining ectoplasm that the ghost had left.

“That’s disgusting!” yelled Teejak.

“Tastes like ecto-cooler!” said Nutella, as the party departed the Temple of Quantum Knowledge for the lair of the mind devourer.
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The Temple of Quantum Knowledge
After the battle with the manticores, Team America began surveying the rest of the ruins of Illefarn. Just as Jetrel had described, portions of the ruins were constructed with mineral celestite and seemed to rearrange randomly when no one was looking. The largest, and only intact, structure remaining was a 60 ft pyramid by the shore of the stream. At this point the sun was beginning to sink below the western ridgeline of the Sword Mountains. Battle weary, tired from hiking uphill all day, and wanting to confront the aboleth with their full strength, Team America decided to make camp for the night amongst the ancient ruins. As usual, Teejak took the late watch of the night. Just before dawn, he thought he detected something out of the corner of his eye, but when he turned there was nothing there.

Morning came, but it was still several hours before the sun rose above the high peaks to the east of the stream. Asbjorn said his morning prayers as the party broke camp and began their exploration of the pyramid. Stairs on all four sides of the pyramid led up to a circular platform at the top that was about 10 feet in diameter. Elvish runes inscribed on the platform read, “I am the killer of shadows.”

“According to Jetrel’s journal, to enter the pyramid we will need to cast a darkness spell on that platform,” said Ash, “That should cause it to rise up and reveal an entrance.”

“The person who wrote that journal also mysteriously disappeared in this pyramid,” replied Teejak, “we should exercise caution.”

“Yes, but the journal entries do not indicate that anything went wrong until some time after entering the pyramid,” said Asbjorn, “It should be safe to at least open the entrance.”

“A darkness spell will not a problem,” said Nutella, “But I’m going to stand back aways…”

Magic, whose torso was lashed to GayJon’s backpack, whispered something into GayJon’s ear.

“Magic says we should just go in a cave and smoke a bunch of weed and we can figure this all out without even thinking about it,” reported the five-eightsling.

“Let’s put it to a vote,” declared Asbjorn, “Magic, what limbs do you have to vote with again?”

“Ozrikotep would not endorse the mocking of disabled persons,” said Teejak.

“Oh, so now you are an expert in my god!?” replied Asbjorn.

“You go to beer hell!” said Gayjon, “You dickhead!”

“I don’t need limbs!” Magic shouted, speaking up for the first time since departing the ashes of Phandalin, “I am on the back of the greatest warrior in all the land!!!”

Asbjorn, slightly buzzed from his breakfast beer, climbed on top of the circular platform while everyone else kept their distance.

“Nutella!” shouted Asbjorn, “Do it!”

With a wave of her hands and a quick chant to her patron, Nutella cast the spell. However, no darkness appeared. Instead, the sound of grinding stone could be heard as the platform began to spiral upwards… causing Asbjorn to drunkenly tumble 10 feet off the side of the platform as it stopped rising abruptly.

Asbjorn!” Teejak yelled as he ran up to the cleric, dusted him off, and helped him to his feet, “Are you alright?”

“You are a big, dumb, drunk alcoholic,” mocked Gayjon, still wounded by Asbjorn’s insulting of Magic.

An opening in the side of the platform contained a spiral staircase that descended to an archway leading into magical darkness. Elvish runes above the archway read, “Temple of Quantum Knowledge.”

“Fuck it!” shouted Asbjorn, “I’m going in there. I’m going to save Quelline!”

The cleric began lumbering down the stairs, his armor clanking loudly, before Teejak stopped him.

“Let’s try a stealthier approach…” said the rogue.

Teejak snuck the rest of the way down the staircase and passed silently through the archway into the darkness. Just as the journal described, after passing through a thin barrier of darkness the interior of the pyramid was brightly lit by a glowing crystal. On three of the four walls, beautifully detailed paintings depicted the war fought between the elves of Illefarn and the aboleths. One painting clearly showed an elf clutching a large magnifying glass that seemed to be dispelling illusions sent forth by the aboleths. The fourth wall displayed elvish runes that read “to reach the lens of truesight, remember the quantum rules.” A raised platform was constructed against the fourth wall. On this platform a large rectangular slab of mineral celestite would sometimes appear. However, like all mineral celestite it seemed to vanish when Teejak had his back to it, only to reappear later when he turned his back again.

“I’m coming Teejak!” said Asbjorn drunkenly as he descended the stairs and attempted to walk through the archway. When he did so, it was as if he had attempted to walk through a brick wall. The cleric fell over backwards and hit the ground.

“The journal did also mention that only one person seems to be able to enter the pyramid interior at a time…” said Ash.

Team America: Dungeon Police struggled for some time with this apparent dead end.

After Teejak exited, Asbjorn entered and used Lightbringer to search the room thoroughly for any sign of secret doorways, switches, or locking mechanisms. He found none. Gayjon attempted to enter next but forgot to unstrap Magic from his backpack and became stuck in the archway.

“Nutella can you watch magic?” asked Gayjon as he unstrapped the limbless halfling drug dealer, “Just don’t leave him in a corner… he hates corners.”

Gayjon then entered the pyramid and tried striking the glowing crystal with his sword, to no effect.

“I told you he doesn’t like corners!” shouted Gayjon as he exited the pyramid and discovered Magic weeping in the corner Nutella had left him in.

Nutella entered next. To her surprise, even her magical darkvision was unable to pierce the darkness shrouding the archway. She entered the pyramid and tried licking the celestite slab to ensure that it was not rock candy. After leaving the archway, Nutella prayed to her patron.

“So… what’s the deal here?” she prayed, “I’m supposed to have magical darkvision! I gave you like… a soul… I was hoping to get a little something in exchange.”

Teejak observed Nutella praying and confronted her, “Are you praying to your patron demon, warlock?”

“Oh, yeah,” replied Nutella, “It’s just me and Jerry.”

“Have you become completely addicted to the powers granted by your pact with a demon?” asked Teejak.

“Oh, no,” said Nutella, “I’m not addicted, I could stop at any time…”

Somehow Teejak doubted that claim.

“By the way, Jerry says that to figure out this puzzle we need to remember the rule of quantum entanglement,” said Nutella, “No idea what that means.”

Asbjorn was beginning to despair. He was cureld in the fetal position.

“Quelline!” My baaaaaabyyyyyyy!” he screamed as tears streamed from his eyes, “You dead bitch.”

In a moment of inspiration, Teejak thought of a possible solution.

“That celestite slab must be going somewhere when it teleports… What if we could move with it… But it won’t move while a conscious observer is watching. What if I stopped being an observer… what if I was completely blind?”

As the others watched, Teejak fashioned a blindfold from some spare cloth and entered the pyramid.

“Here goes nothing,” thought the rogue.

Teejak placed one hand on the celeste slab, with his free hand he pulled the blindfold over his eyes. His vision was completely black. After a moment, Teejak removed the blindfold. The light from the glowing crystal was gone. As Teejak’s darkvision kicked in he realized he was no longer in the same room.

“Teejak, you brilliant bastard!” he whispered to himself.

The new room was slightly larger than the first room, but also had four walls. On the wall opposite where Teejak now stood, elvish runes read “Illuvae,” or “light” in the common tongue. An archway opened in the wall to Teejak’s right. Like the first archway, this too seemed to lead into magical darkness that Teejak’s darkvision could not pierce. Above the archway, elvish runes read, “to view a quantum object, to view an image of a quantum object, these are the same thing.”

Pondering this, Teejak repeated the blindfold trick to return to the first room and retrieve the painting that showed the Lens of Truesight. He repeated the teleportation trick again and brought the painting back to the second archway. He tried reaching into the painting to pull out the lens but merely touched the canvas of the painting.

“Thought that would work….”

Braving the darkness, Teejak stepped through the second archway. Once again, Teejak emerged into a brightly lit room. Two crystals, identical to the one he encountered earlier, illuminated the room from the ceiling. Another archway was carved into the far wall, but it seemed to be completely sealed off by solid stone. On either side of the archway was a marble dais. Each dais had a small 1ftx1ftx1ft cube of mineral celestite on it. One of the cubes was marked with the elvish rune for “Truth,” the other was marked with the elvish word for “Lies.” Further to either side of the archway, a pair of alcoves each contained another dais. One was marked “Truth,” the other, “Lies.”

Initially, Teejak went with his gut instinct and attempted to move the Truth cube to the Truth dais. He then tried to move the Lies cube to the lies dais but found that he could not do so without breaking line of sight on the truth cube. As soon as his line of sight was broken, the truth cube would teleport back to the original dais it was on.

For some time, Teejak tried moving the cubes in various sequences, as well as stacking them. But nothing he tried allowed him to put the truth cube on the truth dais and, simultaneously, the lies cube on the lies dais.

Back outside the pyramid Gayjon and Magic were passing the time by practicing vocal harmonies. As they practiced, Gayjon had the distinct feeling that they were being watched by someone not in the party. For just a moment, Gayjon swore that he could see something in the reflection of a small pool of water beside the stream.

“What is it?” asked Asbjorn, “you look live you’ve seen a ghost.”

“I had an acid flash back I think,” replied Gayjon, “That puddle over there looked funny.”

“Did you see an orb or anything?” asked Asbjorn, “It’s possible we are being magically observed.”

“I would have told you if I saw an orb. I’m not sure what I saw. Gaytanamo Bay changes a man. There was something in the puddle but I don’t know what.” Gayjon and Magic resumed their vocal practice and began singing “old black water, old black water.”

Asbjorn stood and walked over to the puddle to investigate. As he did so, he heard Quelline Alderleaf’s voice in his head.

Asbjorn, my love, please help us! You must hurry!”

The cleric thought carefully about what he had just heard.

“Fool me once, aboleth, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!” muttered Asbjorn. “Quelline, I know you are in grave danger and I’m coming, but I won’t let this monster charm me so easily into a mistake this time!”

Asbjorn rejected the voice in his head and for the briefest of moments he thought he saw the mind devourer’s reflection in the pool. Asbjorn smashed the still water with his hammer.

“Where’s Teejak!” the cleric shouted as he descended the staircase and touched his hand to the surface of the magical darkness. To his surprise, he was able to pass through the barrier this time.

“Teejak!” shouted Asbjorn, “Where are you!?”

There was no sign of the rogue. However, having seen Teejak enter with the blindfold Asbjorn decided to try the same celestite trick himself. Sure enough, he too was able to teleport to the second room. Asbjorn marched directly into the magical darkness of the second archway and promptly hit the ground as he bounced off it like a brick wall. Teejak, who was still struggling with the cube puzzle, heard the noise of Asbjorn’s fall.

“Who’s there!” Teejak called out, “Show yourself or I’ll be getting mighty stabby!”

“It is I, Asbjorn,” shouted the cleric, “I was retracing your steps. It appears that once again only one of us can enter the room you are in.”

Teejak exited the archway and rejoined Asbjorn. The rogue explained the puzzle and the elvish runes.

“I feel like I have tried all combinations here… I’m at a loss.”

Asbjorn then entered the archway and began to experiment, with no success.

And then it hit him…

“To view a quantum object, to view an image of a quantum object, these are the same thing.”

Asbjorn tried drawing a crude image of the celestite cubes, hoping that by continuously looking at this image the cubes would stop teleporting… to no avail.

“An image of a quantum object… could be… it’s relfection!” thought Asbjorn. He looked down at his polished, curved shield and devised a plan.

By positioning his curved shield properly, Asbjorn was able to use the reflection to look at both the truth and lies daises simultaneously. This allowed him to place the truth cube on the truth dais and the lies cube on the lies dais. As he did so, both cubes glowed with blue arcane energy as the stone passageway beneath the archway opened up.

Asbjorn walked through the archway into another chamber, lit by two glowing crystals similar to those from the previous room. And altar lied before him, with three identical artifacts arranged in a row. The artifacts appeared to be magnifying glasses of a sort. All three had been inserted into cylindrical slots in the altar so that they could stand upright. The lens of each magnifying glass was aimed at a point in the center of the raised altar. Elvish runes were inscribed above the altar, but Asbjorn was unable to read them. To the right of the altar lied a skeleton wearing what Asbjorn recognized as dwarven armor from Wave Echo Cave.

After a moment, Asbjorn heard a gruff male voce call out, “Nargroth! Is that you? I’ve found the lens!”

Startled, Asbjorn jumped back and said, “Jetrel, is that you?”

“Yes! It’s me old friend! I’ve solved these damned riddles!”

“Why didn’t you escape if you solved the riddles, Jetrel?”

A ghostly dwarven figure rose up from the armored skeleton.

“I… I… chose poorly…” Jetrel’s ghost trailed off, “You aren’t Nargroth, are you?”

“I am not,” replied Asbjorn, “Jetrel, I discovered your journal with my companions. We too fight the same aboleth you did. It now threatens the safety of the realm. We came here, like you, in search of the Lens of Truesight. Tell me, which choice did you make? In return I will find any potential descendants of your and let them know what happened here. Our bard will sing of the bravery you showed to push through this darkness!”

“I… see… How long have I been here?”

“It has been 500 years, Jetrel.”

“By Dumathoin! 500 years! Did anyone survive the orc attack on our mine?”

“Very few survivors I surmise, we encountered vast numbers of undead in the mine. I did my best to send as many as I could…”

“Thank you, good cleric.”

Jetrel looked at the altar, he seemed to be deep in thought.

“I believe… I chose… That one…” Jetrel pointed toward the rightmost lens, directly beside where his skeleton now lay. “I’m sorry I don’t remember it perfectly. Sometimes my death feels like it occurred an hour ago, sometimes it feels like I have been trapped here for ages. It is difficult to explain.”

“It’s ok,” said Asbjorn, “I understand the dead well. I believe I was once dead myself. Do you know what these runes read?” Asbjorn pointed at the inscription above the altar.

“It reads: to be worthy is to face the truth, and choose.”

Asbjorn approached the altar and examined each of the lenses. From a distance, it appeared as if each lens was showing something moving. But the altar where they were pointing was completely empty.

“Jetrel, what do you see in these lenses?”

“I see nothing. What do you see?”

“Something is moving, I don’t see how this is possible.

“In my haste I chose randomly… and look what it has cost me. I remember grabbing the lens on the right… yes I think it was right. But I will never forget what happened when I touched the lens. I felt chilled to the bone, as if my very living essences was drained from my body.”

“Did something attack you when you grabbed the lens?” asked Asbjorn, “some types of undead are known to siphon the life essence of the living.”

“Not that I detected. I have been alone here for… quite some time…”

Asbjorn drew out lightbringer and illuminated the room brightly, “specter or other spirit, I sense your presence. The light of Ozrikotep guides me and this mace here will cleanse your soul!”

Nothing happened.

“I know that mace!” Jetrel exclaimed, “Lightbringer!”

“Indeed Jetrel, I recovered it from a wraith in Wave Echo cave and I fear no evil spirit with it in my hand.”

“I’m glad that something of my people’s craftsmanship remains to this day,” said Jetrel proudly.

Cautiously, Asbjorn moved close enough to the alter to make out the details of what each lens was showing. Through the middle lens, Asbjorn saw a scene of himself, Quelline, and Pip happily reunited in Tresendar Manor. Through the left lens, Asbjorn saw a scene of Quelline laying alone in a dark cavern. Her skin was pale white and it was difficult to tell if she was even still breathing. Through the right lens, Asbjorn saw a scene of himself and his clan reunited and enjoying some beers, their disease had apparently been cured. Peering through the left lens one more time Asbjorn thought he could see very faint signs of Quelline breathing.

“To be worthy, is to face the truth and choose…” Asbjorn muttered, “Ozrikotep, the truth hurts, the truth is I need to act quick.”

Asbjorn pulled out his beer-filled watersking and took a swig

“Bless my beer, bless my strength, bless the brass balls that this takes!” the cleric called out.

With that, Asbjorn grabbed the leftmost lens and pulled it from the altar.

“You chose… wisely,” said Jetrel’s ghost.
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Arrival in Neverwinter
“Did these goblins say where they came from?” Ash asked the group of captured patrons.

“They kept saying they were taking us to ‘the ancient one.’” replied the innkeeper, Kane, “they also mentioned orders from ‘the new god of hobgoblins.’”

Ash carefully examined the tracks in the vicinity of the inn as Arcanine began urinating on the hobgoblin warlord’s corpse. It was clear that the hobgoblins had come from the southeast.

“That’s the direction of Cragmaw Castle, isn’t it?” asked Kyron, “is that where they came from?”

“Possibly,” replied Ash, “but it’s impossible to extrapolate these tracks over that great of a distance without following them further.”

“What did they want from us?” asked a young girl, “why would they be so cruel?”

“Hobgoblins have been known to cook and eat children,” replied Ash.

The young girl immediately began sobbing.

“It’s ok! It’s ok!” Teejak tried to reassure her, “You’re alright now!”

In an act of generosity, Teejak began handing out 5 gp to each of the patrons that had been captured, including the little girl.

“Buy yourself something nice with that and forget what this mean ranger told you.”

Ash placed his hand on the girl’s shoulder. “You need to kill all goblins on sight,” said the ranger, “always be vigilant.”

“We don’t know why they were evil, little girl,” said Asbjorn.

“Goblins are inherently evil and deserve to die,” Ash interjected.

“I’m going to bed, try not to traumatize this little girl too much,” said Kyron, “we are definitely sleeping in tomorrow.”

“We should begin barricading the doors to the main inn building,” said Ash, “turn it into a fort for the night.”

As the group began barricading the inn, Teejak discovered another little girl who was still in hiding.

“It’s alright,” he reassured her, “you’re safe now.”

“Thank you,” said the girl timidly, “they said they were taking us to something called ‘the mind devourer,’”

“Don’t worry, you won't be seeing him anytime soon,” said Teejak as he escorted the girl back to the others, reuniting her with her sister.

After deciding that following the goblin tracks to their point of origin would not necessarily be helpful, Team America continued their journey to Neverwinter the following morning. After another day and a half of travel, the group crested one final hill on the High Road and was looking down at a large metropolis built where the Neverwinter River met the Sea of Swords.

“Scholars call it ‘the city of skilled hands’ and ‘the jewel of the north,’” Kyron recited the knowledge he had acquired from studying in his library. We should find plenty of vendors selling magical items here. Let’s buy what we need and then reconvene at the Half Full Flagon Inn, near the center of town.”

Neverwinter was, by far, the largest city Asbjorn had ever visited. As he walked its streets evidence of magic use was everywhere. Magical brooms swept the streets by themselves, magical rags washed windows, and children chased after magical flying paper birds. After walking several blocks Asbjorn arrived at “The Dragon’s Armor and Shields.”

After browsing the shop’s wares for a while, Asbjorn approached the counter, where an especially short gnome named Nimblenob greeted him.

“Welcome! Are you looking to buy or to sell?”

Asbjorn placed a magical scroll, his magical chain mail armor, his magical shield, and his magical crossbow on the counter.

“I’ll sell you this whole lot for 600 gp. In exchange I would then like to purchase the armor of invulnerability there and the sentinel shield for a total of 840 gp. So I would still owe you 240 gp for those items. Does that sound like a deal?”

“Yes! Yes! By all means! Don’t worry about the extra 240 gp!”

Before Asbjorn began his latest adventure, he would have taken the gnome at his word and made the exchange. But his time in Wave Echo Cave had taught him to be skeptical. Asbjorn motioned his hands and conjured a zone of truth inside the shop.

“I’m sorry sir,” said the gnome sternly, “but we have a strict policy; no spellcasting inside the shop. With all these magical items around there is a potential for.... Problems.”

“Sorry I’m not from around here and I have to be honest your behavior makes me worried something is bothering you.”

“Nothing is bothering me, I just enjoy closing a good deal is all.”

“Could I fancy you a beer?”

“Please no food or drink inside either, sir”

“Well my religion prevents me from closing a deal without having a drink.”

“Well, Volo doesn’t call us the most civilized city in all of Faerun for nothing! I will gladly accommodate your religion, sir.”

Asbjorn poured a drink for himself and was about to pour one for the shopkeeper when the gnome offered a mug of his own for the drink.

“To good business!” said the gnome as he raised his drink.

“To good business!” repeated Asbjorn, “May Ozrikotep bless the truth and curse those who would fool him.”

Both Asbjorn and the Nimblenob downed their beers.

“Do you feel that gnome? The power of Ozrikotep flows through you now! Ozrikotep will now know if what you do is good! Is that not great!?”

“This mug actually neutralizes poisons and magical effects from all liquids,” said the gnome, “So I can’t say I really feel anything but I’m glad you do!”

Asbjorn’s tone changed dramatically as he pulled out his Lord’s Alliance medallion.

“Let’s cut the shit are you fucking me over or do I need to report you to the local authorities?”

“Are you threatening me, master dwarf? This is an honest business, but if you want to take your gold elsewhere you are more than welcome.”

Asbjorn picked up his own gear off the counter.

“When you feel like being honest with me I’ll return here and then we can make a deal.”

The gnome flipped off Asbjorn as he stormed out of the shop.

Asbjorn next sought out the local headquarters of the Lord’s Alliance that Sildar had told him about. Upon entering, Asbjorn was greeted by Willas, a fairly obese human male wearing hide armor and wielding a wooden spear. Curled up beside Willas was a large dire rat. It was clear that Willas’s duties were primarily bookeeeping, the man did not look like he did much adventuring these days.

“Ah, old Nimblenob can be a sly one!” said Willas after Asbjorn had recounted his experience in Nimblenob’s shop.

“Let me guess, Did he try selling you ‘the armor of invulnerability?’” Willas asked

“Yes! The price seemed suspiciously low for an item of such power.”

“I’m pretty sure it’s cursed,” replied Willas, “It’s actually armor of vulnerability, not invulnerability.”

“That sly little weasel!” Asbjorn cursed.

“Good thing you didn’t put it on!”

“Is his other equipment legit?”

“You have to be careful shopping there, make sure you’ve prepared an identify spell to validate his items.”

“Do you know anyone selling diamonds?” asked Asbjorn.

“Yes! Smites Jewelers is just down the street. I’d be happy to help you determine the authenticity of our city’s magical wares as well if you like. Anything for a friend of Sildar Hallwinter!”

As Asbjorn and Willas left the Lord’s Alliance headquarters they immediately bumped into Teejak as he was roaming the streets.

Asbjorn! How are you this fine morning?” asked Teejak.

“I’ve been better. My friend Willas here is going to help me identify some magic items in one of these shops. The gnome inside tried to sell me cursed armor!”

Willas had already begun gnawing on a turkey leg.

“Well met! Are you a member of the Alliance as well?” Willas extended a greasy hand to Teejak, but the rogue avoided it by giving a slight bow.

“No, I’m not much of a brawler, but I do know Sildar Hallwinter as well.”

Willas chucked the remainder of his turkey leg to his dire rat animal companion.

“What a cute puppy!” remarked Asbjorn.

“Splinter here is actually a dire rat… but it’s a common mistake.”

“So are we heading to kick this gnome’s ass, or perhaps something a bit more… subtle?” asked Teejak.

“Hopefully there will be no need for violence,” said Asbjorn, “but perhaps some additional muscle might help persuade him to be honest about his goods.”

The trio set off toward Nimblenob’s shop.

“There’s something you two should probably know before we head in there…” said Willas, “Nimbnob’s shop is under the protection of the Zhentarim, so it would probably be best if we don’t start trouble.”

Teejak rolled his eyes, “I’m a member of the Zhentarim as well. I bet your rat used to be a member as well.” Teejak pulled out his membership coin, “He’ll shit himself when he sees this. I have a better idea than a direct confrontation, let me go in first.”

As Teejak entered the shop, Willas whispered to Asbjorn, “you willingly associate yourself with members of the Zhentarim?”

“In the darkness of a dungeon friendship is forged and hardened like adamantine,” Asbjorn whispered back.

“To be honest, it’s been a while since I’ve been in a dungeon myself…” conceded Willas.

“Yeah, I can see that.”

Nimblenob greeted Teejak as he entered, “Can I help you with anything sir?”

Teejak walked right up to the “armor of invulnerability.”

“I’m looking for armor both light and durable. I need extra protection and I’m willing to pay for it,” said the rogue, “how much for this piece?”

“A mere 700 gp!”

“Might be a little loose, do you mind if I try it on?”

“As I’m sure you are aware, magical armor always adjusts its size to fit the wearer!”

Quick as a flash, Teejak seized the gnome’s collar with his right hand and shoved him up against the wall. With his left hand he pulled out his Zhentarim membership coin.

“Selling cursed items to a Zhentarim agent! Tsk tsk gnome.”

The gnome snapped his fingers and three suits of heavy plate armor immediately animated to life.

“It would be wise to unhand me, elf.”

Teejak dropped the gnome to the floor.

“Fuckin magic… Do you understand the penalty for a Zhentarim merchant caught selling defective goods? I've seen it before, as an urchin on the street. The zhentarim like to hold their punishments in the poorer quarters, make sure the rabble knows who's in charge. Truly I never thought feral hogs could eat a whole person, but there wasn't even a scrap of hair left after 10 minutes!"

“You need only have proven your membership first. Please let me know what I can get for you, Fang, everything will be given the standard 10% member discount,” said Nimblenob, “And of course, I’ll be happy to ensure you don’t make any… unwise… purchasing decisions.”

“Let’s be clear here,” said Teejak, “You tried to sell a friend of mine cursed armor. Luckily you’re as stupid as you are short and he saw right through you. Now, he’s going to come in here, you will apologize, and extend the discount to him.”

“Let me be equally clear, elf,” replied Nimblenob sternly, “I am an Ardragon of the Zhentarim. You are a nobody, a mere Fang. I could have you thrown out of the black network tomorrow and assassinated the day after. I don’t mind cursing a few naive adventurers to fill my pockets. As a fellow Zhentarim I would assume you agree. But perhaps you aren’t truly cut out to be one of us.”

Teejak rolled his eyes, “I don’t particularly care if you’re the grand poobah of shit mountain. Are you aware that the Lord’s Alliance knows you are selling cursed armor and that you are a Zhentarim agent?”

“The Alliance wouldn’t dare interfere with this business. And besides, they are too busy ‘protecting the innocent’ from whatever evil is currently terrorizing the Sword Coast.”

“You are the worst agent I’ve even seen. Fine. Sell me that shield. Here’s the gold, I hope you choke on it.”

And with that Teejak stormed out of the shop.

Asbjorn, sell your crossbow elsewhere. This shop is crooked.” exclaimed Teejak.

The rogue then pulled out his Zhentarim membership coin, dropped it on the ground, and spat on it.

“I’m done with those dicks.”

Asbjorn smiled. He poured Teejak a beer on the spot.

“Have a drink on me,” said the cleric, “your courage and sacrifice are truly a sight to behold.”

Asbjorn blessed the stout and handed it to to Teejak, who promptly chugged it as he grinded the Zhentarim coin into the mud. Moments later, Teejak collapsed into Asbjorn’s arms.

“Did you just drug him?” asked Willas.

“I did not, but I imagine his selfless act just now plus a bit of beer has allowed him to commune with Ozrikotep. Help me get him to the Half Full Flagon Inn.”
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The Inn from Hell
Asbjorn felt his divine energy restored by Ozrikotep as the sun rose on Phandalin. Quelline Alderleaf was still asleep beside him. The cleric donned his chainmail and quietly prayed for the magical abilities he would need for the day. Quelline stirred in bed.

“Abjorn, my love, promise me you will return safely to me from Neverwinter,” Quelline said softly.

“I swear it by Ozrikotep, I will return to you.”

Teejak, Ash, and Kyron were gathered just outside of the Stone Hill Inn as Asbjorn approached. Surprisingly, Tau was there as well.

“Have you decided to join us, my friend?” asked Asbjorn.

“I’m afraid it is time that I returned to my tribe,” said Tau, “I have learned from my travels that the wide world is a truly strange place indeed, I’m ready to return to a sense of normalcy.”

“We understand.”

“I will accompany you all as far as the Triboar Trail, there I will turn west toward my home in the mountains,” Tau continued.

“Very well,” said Kyron, “where is Gayjon?”

“The last I saw of him, he was asleep on top of a mound of opium,” replied Teejak.

“I see, let us depart then,” said Kyron.

The summer heat was beginning to set in as Team America trekked northward toward Neverwinter. After bidding farewell to Tau, the party turned west onto the Triboar Trail. An afternoon thunderstorm passed over the Sword Coast as the group turned north on the High Road, a major tradeway between the coastal cities of Waterdeep and Neverwinter. Team America was thoroughly soaked and exhausted by the time they reached “The Hell Hound’s Alehouse,” a large inn constructed along the High Road.

“A mug of ale and a feather bed would do me well tonight,” announced Teejak.

“OK” replied Asbjorn, “I’m always down for a beer.”

Inside, the adventurers were greeted by a stout male elf name Kane.

“Welcome! Can I interest you in a warm meal, perhaps a room for the evening?”

The adventurers looked at eachother.

“It seems you’ve been travelling all day,” said Kane, “you smell like shit!”

“How much for a bath, a meal, and a room?” asked Ash.

“That depends on what kind of meal you’d like!” announced Kane, “we have salted sausage with a tankard of mead for 12cp, we also have steamed duck with garlic and dried pear--”

Ash interrupted Kane, “Hell yeah! I’ll take the steamed duck!”

“I’ll have the duck as well!” exclaimed Teejak, “and three glasses of mead!”

“That’ll be 30 cp total,” replied Kane.

Teejak flipped him a whole gold piece, “Keep the change my good man!”

Kane was clearly surprised the adventurers were willing to spend so much money. Ash was looking sternly at Teejak, concerned that flaunting the party’s wealth too much might lead to unwanted attention.

“And a round for the whole inn!” Teejak shouted. The other patrons cheered with excitement upon hearing this.

“I don’t know him,” said Ash.

“You walked in together,” noted Kane.

“We just happened to walk in at the same time.”

Kane performed a quick head count of the inn patrons and looked at Teejak while he rubbed two fingers together, indicating more that 1gp was owed.

“Very well Kane, you greedy bastard!” Teejak flipped Kane a second gold piece and immediately began drinking his mead. More than a few heads around the inn seemed to be examining Teejak carefully.

“So we will definitely be keeping watch tonight,” Ash looked toward Kyron and Asbjorn.

“I’ll be camping outside.” said Kyron.

“We have fine feather beds in here!” replied Kane.

“It’s just a personal preference,” replied Kyron, “please don’t take offense.”

“Well, there’s a small clearing 50 yards to the west of here,” Kane pointed, “please do not chop down anymore trees for firewood, I’m getting sick of people doing that.”

“Very well,” said Kyron as he departed for his campsite.

A young human male with curly red hair, dressed in fine clothing, approached the party as they were eating dinner.

“You haven't encountered any vampires recently have you?” asked the man.

“We killed a necromancer recently,” replied Ash, “Does that count?”

“How did you kill him?” asked the man.

“Well… you see…” Asbjorn was uncertain how much information to give, “we stabbed him.”

“With what?” asked the man.

“With a fuckin dagger!” shouted Teejak drunkenly, “what’s it to you!?”

“I’m sorry… I’m sorry…” the man apologized, “I was just trying to assess if he may have been a vampire, if he was killed by conventional weapons then he could not have been vampiric.

“How long would it have taken him to revive?” asked Asbjorn.

“A matter of minutes.”

“I think we hung around long enough to confirm this,” pondered Ash.

“Damn it, we should have burned the body or blessed it or something,” said Asbjorn.

“I wouldn’t worry about it too much,” said the man, “I’ve been looking for the vampire that murdered my family for years, I have no idea if it is still in the area or not. One day I hope to avenge their deaths, but I guess it won’t be today.”

Teejak examined the young man, his fine silk clothing suggested that he had spent little, if any, time adventuring in the wilderness.

“Just go home kid,” said Teejak, “a vampire is a formidable foe, this isn’t going to end well for you.”

“You don’t think I can handle myself!”

“I know you can’t handle yourself!”

“Fuck you guys!” the young man stormed off angrily.

“Come on kid, come back here!” Teejak felt a little guilty, “Come back and tell us about your quest!”

Ash looked around the bar and noticed two peasant eyeing Teejak’s gold purse.

“Why don’t you give some gold to them,” Ash motioned toward the peasants, “they clearly need it.”

“If I gave a gold piece to everyone like that, I’d be broke,” replied Teejak coldly.

One of the peasants, a male elf, approached the party next.

“I’m looking for a powerful wizard to apprentice under,” said the elf, “do you know anyone accepting apprentices?”

“The only wizard I ever knew was a coward!” shouted Teejak drunkenly.

“Where are you looking to study?” asked Ash.

“I’m hoping to go to the Neverwinter University of Magic,” replied the elf, “but they won’t accept me until I complete an apprenticeship.”

“Do you know where Phandalin is?” asked Asbjorn.

“I do!” said the elf, “It’s a small little settlement southeast of here if I’m not mistaken.”

“Well,” continued Asbjorn, “If you go there and give all your money to a man named Wizziff, he might be willing to teach you a thing or two.”

“That’s the coward!” interjected Teejak.

“I’ll take what I can get at this point! Thank you kind cleric, I will go and seek out Wizziff!” the peasant began to head for the door of the inn when Ash stopped him.

“Hold up. When’s the last time you ate a decent meal?” asked Ash.

“Well… it’s been a few days, “replied the peasant, “If I learned to be a wizard I could magically create food for myself though!”

“Here,” said Ash ash he handed ten goodberries to the peasant elf, “take these.”

“Thank you kind ranger!” exclaimed the elf before leaving excitedly toward Phandalin.

Ash next apologized to the young vampire hunter for Teejak’s drunken behavior.

“It’s alright,” said the man, “My dad, before he was murdered by a vampire, used to drink a lot. I know how it is.”

“What’s your name,” asked Ash.

“Faendter”

“Do you go by anything else?”

“Not that I know of… I do consider myself somewhat of a scholar.”

“In what?”

“Vampire lore.”

“Where do you think this vampire that murdered your family is?”

“I think he might be hiding with Strahd Von Zarovich somewhere in Barovia, far to the east of the Sword Mountains”

“I doubt any of us have encountered the vampire then, although we do have a couple holy smiters in our group.”

“A vampire is no ordinary undead, they are incredibly intelligent creatures. The trick, I’ve heard, is to catch them in daylight when they are weakened.”

“Do they sparkle?”

“Not actually, I know there is that stupid book series that tells everyone vampires sparkle though.”

With that, Ash bid the aspiring vampire hunter farewell.

Asbjorn, let’s bunk together tonight,” said Ash, “I have a feeling we may have made some enemies here.”

After finishing their food and drink, Team America retired for the evening. Teejak requested the king suite of the inn. Meanwhile, Ash and Asbjorn shared a room with double beds and took turns “keeping watch” on the door to their room. As an added precaution, Ash instructed Arcanine to sleep by the door as well.

Around midnight, Teejak was awoken from his trance by a strange noise. The rogue immediately recognized the sound of someone attempting to pick the lock to his room. Teejak, who was not wearing pants, simply opened the door. On the other side was one of the peasants the group had encountered earlied. The man gasped before turning and running. He vaulted over the balcony of the inn and crashed onto the tables below. Teejak then went back to his elvish trance.

Around 3am, the entire party was awoken by the sound of a woman screaming. The sound seemed to be coming from a smaller building on the other side of the road. Asbjorn sprung to his feet and readied his war hammer, before promptly tripping over Arcanine on his way out the door.

As the party reached the first floor of the inn, they could begin to hear the familiar gruff voices of hobgoblins and bugbears coming from the road just outside.

“Come with us!” yelled one of the voices.

“Watch these ones while I round up the others!” shouted a second voice.

Arcanine gave a menacing growl, Ash’s companion was clearly ready to tear some goblin throats out.

“Ash, Teejak, take the southern entrance,” said Asbjorn, “I’ll take the northern entrance.”

The two groups exited the inn simultaneously and emerged onto a grim scene. Heavily armored hobgoblins and bugbears were rounding up patrons of the inn and restraining them near the well across the street. Fifty yards to the south, Kyron was sprinting towards the inn from his campsite.

“Resistance is futile!” yelled one of the bugbears as it punched the young vampire hunter that the party had encountered earlier, knocking several of his teeth out.

“Teejak, try to get to the patrons,” said Ash, “I’ll go for the----”

Ash was cut-off mid-sentence as a fireball impacted the ground at his feet. The ranger quickly dodged out of the way, avoiding the full force of the blast. Teejak was not so lucky, the rogue lay unconscious and badly burned in the middle of the street. Ash looked up to see a hobgoblin spellcaster cackling on the roof of the inn.

“Kyron!” Ash shouted as the paladin arrived on the scene, “Help Teejak!”

The paladin of the One Above All knelt beside Teejak and placed his hand on the rogue’s shoulder. As Ash watched, Holy energy was channeled from Kyron to Teejak, instantly reviving the fallen rogue.

“You two need to take out that caster,” Kyron pointed to the hobgoblin on the rooftop as he readied his magical halberd.

At the northern entrance to the inn, two hobgoblins charged Asbjorn the moment he exited onto the street. The cleric of Ozrikotep raised his shield and deflected their longsword blows, but was surprised at the raw amount of strength behind each swing. These were no ordinary hobgoblins. A smaller, sneakier, hobgoblin ninja sprung out from its hiding spot and unleashed a barrage of darts at Asbjorn, but none were able to penetrate the cleric’s magical chainmail armor. In response, Asbjorn conjured spirit guardians from Ozrikotep to surround and protect him.

The hobgoblin leader, an enormous brute wearing full plate, moved forward and flanked Asbjorn, completely ignoring the damage dealt by Ozrikotep’s spirit guardians. With his shield arm already occupied, the cleric of Ozrikotep was defenseless. The hobgoblin warlord brought its greatsword down, puncturing Asbjorn’s chainmail and sinking the blade into his shoulder. Asbjorn screamed in pain as blood began to pour down the entire right side of his body.

“Kill the archer and the paladin!” the hobgoblin leader commanded and two bugbears charged toward the southern entrance to confront Kyron and Ash.
Arcanine bravely leapt in front of one of the charging bugbears, allowing Ash to retreat backwards and line up a shot at the spellcaster on the roof with his Goblin Slayer bow. The ranger’s arrow struck the spellcaster directly in the chest, staggering it. Teejak quickly threw his grappling hook onto the roof of the inn and climbed up. He launched a crossbow bolt into the shoulder of the hobgoblin spellcaster before sliding behind cover provided by one of the dormer windows of the inn. The hobgoblin spellcaster was badly injured but still standing.

The hobgoblin warlord looked up at the spellcaster on the roof.

“Finish him.” the brute commanded.

With that, the hobgoblin caster moved to the edge of the roof and shot a bolt of lightning directly downward at Asbjorn, electrocuting the metal-clad cleric. As electricity poured through Asbjorn, he found he no longer had the strength to hold up his shield. Seizing the opportunity, the hobgoblins surrounding Asbjorn mercilessly struck him down with a flurry of longsword blows. As Asbjorn collapsed from blood loss, his final thoughts were of his beloved Quelline and the promise he made to return safely to her.

“Bind him!” the warlord yelled at the two hobgoblin soldiers that were surrounding Asbjorn’s unconscious body, “bring him with us!”

With that, the hobgoblin warlord turned and charged south, locking eyes with Kyron the paladin. Kyron began to charge as well, a lone bugbear stood between him and the warlord. Without even taking his eyes off of the warlord, Kyron eviscerated the charging bugbear before spinning his halberd around and smashing its face in with the blunt end of his weapon. The ninja hobgoblin unleashed a barrage of darts at the paladin. Still not taking his eyes off of the warlord, Kyron continued spinning his magical halberd and deflected all four of the ninja’s darts easily. The paladin of the One Above All relentlessly continued his charge and entered into single combat with his nemesis, the hobgoblin warlord.

Teejak sprinted across the rooftop toward the dormer window the hobgoblin spellcaster was hiding behind. Using the boots of striding and springing, he vaulted over the window and stabbed the spellcaster with his Sylvenom dagger. Teejak pressed the hobgoblin up against the side of the window, immobilizing it just long enough for Ash to launch a pair of goblin slaying arrows into its skull. The hobgoblin went limp, collapsed, and rolled off the side of the roof before dropping 30 ft onto the street below, landing directly beside Asbjorn’s unconscious body. The hobgoblins surrounding Asbjorn looked up to see Teejak waving down at them and decided to move into the entrance of the inn before attempting to stabilize Asbjorn for capture.

The ninja hobgoblin immediately moved to avenge its fallen comrade. The creature sprinted across the road and appeared to teleport onto the rooftop before throwing a flurry of darts at Teejak. The rogue dodged the projectiles as best as he could but he was simply too weak after the devastating fireball spell from earlier. The last of the ninja hobgoblin’s darts struck Teejak in the chest, knocking him unconscious once again.

Kyron and the hobgoblin leader were locked in single combat. Kyron was doing his best to keep the brute at a distance with the reach of his halberd, but his opponent was simply too strong. The hobgoblin leader landed a devastating series of three consecutive greatsword strikes against the paladin. Kyron clutched a gaping wound on his shoulder but, finally, saw his opening. He channeled the divine energy of the One Above All into his weapon, dodged under the hobgoblin’s greatsword, and struck the brute with such force that his halberd punctured the full plate armor his enemy was wearing. The hobgoblin leader was about to retaliate when one of Ash’s goblin slaying arrows found a gap in its armor and sunk into it its throat. The creature began coughing up blood, but was still standing. Having finally stabilized Asbjorn, the two hobgoblin soldiers looked over at their bloodied leader and decided to join the fight.

Kyron looked around at his fallen companions. He then looked at the additional hobgoblins charging his position. He then looked back at Asbjorn’s unconscious body. That’s when the paladin of the One Above All saw the path he must walk as clearly as he had ever known anything in his life. Summoning divine energy, Kyron teleported 30 feet behind the charging hobgoblins and sprinted up beside Asbjorn’s limp body. Kyron placed his hand on Asbjorn’s shield and channeled healing energy into the cleric, instantly restoring him to life. Asbjorn immediately stood to his feet.

“In the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Holy Keg, Ozrikotep restore us!!!” Asbjorn shouted a prayer of healing to Ozrikotep, restoring Teejak to life on the rooftop and giving additional strength back to himself and Kyron.

“Team America… ASSEMBLE!!!!” yelled Asbjorn as he and Kyron engaged the hobgoblin commando unit. Ash continued unloading arrows at the hobgoblin leader while Teejak stood to his feet and sprinted toward the hobgoblin ninja.

“What’s up bitch!?” shouted the rogue as he plunged his Sylvenom dagger into his foe before flipping behind cover. The ninja teleported to pursue Teejak, striking him from range with two darts. Teejak then made a running long jump with the boots of striding and springing, jumping 40 ft clear across the street from the roof of one building to the roof of another. The rogue landed and rolled to his feet before launching a crossbow bolt back across the street at his nemesis.

Down at street level, Kyron and the hobgoblin leader were once again locked in single combat. The massive brute charged Kyron in a full sprint. The paladin raised his halberd to the heavens, imbuing it with holy energy.

“Remember this as the day you almost killed Kyron the paladin!” shouted Kyron as he brought his magical halberd down, splitting the warlord’s head open.

Kyron then moved toward the inn patrons restrained by the well and untied the young vampire hunter the party had encountered earlier.

“It’s time to prove your combat abilities, young boy,” said the paladin. The vampire hunter grabbed a small rock and hurled it at one of the hobgoblin soldiers, but it barely scratched the soldier’s armor.

Asbjorn released a blinding bolt of radiant energy at one of the two remaining hobgoblin soldiers, burning the beast badly and illuminating its body as a target for future attacks. However, before he could do anything else, the ninja hobgoblin teleported beside Asbjorn. The cleric, now flanked, was once again struck down by a merciless flurry of dagger strikes from the hobgoblin ninja.

Arcanine was still engaged with the last remaining bugbear. Neither the wolf nor the bugbear had managed to deal much damage to each other when, finally, the bugbear landed a critical strike with its morningstar. Arcanine howled in pain before collapsing onto the street.

“Arcanine!” In a fit of rage Ash nocked a goblin slaying arrow and drew it as far back as he could, nearly snapping his bow. He released the arrow, piercing the bugbear’s skull directly between its eyes. Ash then nocked a second arrow and launched it at the hobgoblin soldier brightly illuminated by Asbjorn’s guiding bolt. Ash’s arrow pierced the soldier’s brain through its right eye socket.

Kyron sighed, it was clear this vampire hunter was not going to be of much use.

“Move to flank you moron!” Kyron shouted at the pathetic excuse for a vampire hunter.

The vampire hunter obeyed, and moved to engage the last hobgoblin soldier in melee combat, distracting it just long enough for Kyron to decapitate the hobgoblin. The paladin of the One Above All followed up this attack by imbuing the blunt end of his halberd with radiant energy and bashing in the skull of the adjacent hobgoblin ninja.

Ash quickly popped a handful of goodberries into Asbjorn’s mouth, restoring him to consciousness.

“Fuck this inn,” said the cleric as he stood to his feet. The battle was over.
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The Slaying of Venomfang
It was the night before Team America was set to depart for Neverwinter and most of the party was gathered in the tavern at Stone Hill Inn. As usual, Teejak was drinking heavily. Asbjorn was having a nice meal with Quelline Alderleaf while her young son, Pip, played with Toblen Stonehill’s son, Carp. Ash and Kyron were conversing with Sildar Hallwinter about potential dangers on the road to Neverwinter. Gayjon was performing vocals and flute with his new band (unbeknownst to Gayjon, the drummer of his new band was actually a mass murderer…).

Gayjon had just finished singing his latest hit, “Goblin Love Story” and was receiving a round of applause from the packed house.

“Gather round friends!” exclaimed the five-eightsling, “and let me tell you the story of how Team America slew the mighty green dragon, Venomfang!!!”

The townsfolk all turned their attention toward the stage. Pip and Carp ran up and sat in the front row to hear the story.

“We had just defeated Iza, the hideous aberration guarding the forge of spells!” sang Gayjon.

“Fowl beast!!!” shouted one of the townsfolk, “I’m sure it viciously attacked you completely without provocation!!!”

“Ummm… Yes!!! Yes it did!!! It tried to disintegrate Asbjorn!” Gayjon pointed toward the table where Asbjorn and Quelline were seated. “Then we killed Mormesk the sinister wraith and leader of the undead in Wave Echo Cave!”

“Cursed undead!” shouted another of the townsfolk, “I bet it made a deal with you and then tried to betray you!”

Ash sunk into his chair and placed his face in his palms as he sighed.

“Well we definitely did not make a deal with it and then betray it! Now, as I was saying, we plundered the horde of magic items the forge of spells contained; the legendary mace “Lightbringer” and powerful “Dragonguard” armor! Of course, the green dragon, Venomfang, had demanded that we find Lightbringer and deliver it to him. But were we going to just roll over and give up our magic items that easily!?”

“We did think about it!” shouted Teejak drunkenly, but Gayjon ignored him.

“Of course not! We decided to use those magic items to slay the dragon ourselves!”

The crowd cheered and applauded as Gayjon continued.

“Kyron, wielding the powerful Halberd of Improved Smiting, went in first to speak with Venomfang, but the dragon was nowhere to be seen! Instead, Wizziff was waiting in the dragon’s lair. We didn’t know it at the time, but Wizziff was actually under Venomfang’s control. The green dragon had used an invisibility spell to conceal itself while Wizziff tried to convince the rest of our party to come out of hiding!

“That’s not a very nice thing to do!” shouted Pip from the front row.

“No it isn’t, young lad, but green dragons are known to be cunning schemers! Kyron, using his divine paladin senses, easily saw through Wizziff’s deception. Seeing that its plan had failed, Venomfang dropped his invisibility and exhaled a blast of deadly poisonous gas!!!”

“Oh no!” shouted Carp, “Did they die?”

“Wizziff lost consciousness, but Kyron had been magically protected from the poison gas by our cleric of Ozrikotep, Asbjorn!”

“He’s my mommy’s special friend!” exclaimed Pip. Quelline Alderleaf turned bright red.

“Haha, yes he certainly is…” Gayjon winked. “Anyway, Kyron channeled the holy energy of the One Above All into his magical halberd and retaliated against the beast as the rest of Team America sprung into action. Ash Ketchum nocked his one and only dragon slaying arrow. He readied his shot. He was aiming for a gap in Venomfang’s armored scales about the size of a copper piece!”

Gayjon pulled a copper out of his pocket as a demonstration for the crowd.

“Right when Ash was about to fire he felt Ozrikotep’s divine energy guide his arm as he received a blessing from Asbjorn. He released his arrow and….”

The tension in the crowd was palpable.

“He hit his mark! The arrow sunk completely into the hide of the monstrous green dragon, grazing Venomfang’s heart! The beast roared and flapped its wings as it clutched its chest with its claws!”

The crowd cheered wildly!

“Teejak, wearing the legendary Boots of Striding and Springing, jumped right onto Venomfang’s back! But in its rage the beast was able to quickly shake the rogue off.”

“I really thought that was going to work!” shouted Teejak from the bar.

“Tau, the mighty Yeti Barbarian, seeing Wizziff choking to death on the poisonous fumes of Venomfang’s breath attack, entered a frenzied rage! He sprinted forward and put himself between the dragon and the fallen wizard before burying his greataxe into the beast’s hide. Venomfang retaliated, sinking its teeth into Tau, but the yeti endured the blow like an immovable rock! The green dragon summoned grasping vines to restrain Kyron as it flew to the upper ledge of its lair and prepared to rain poisonous gas down on Team America!

“Oh no!” Pip and Carp gasped, everyone else in the crowd was silently holding their breath.

“But Kyron wasn’t about to be taken out of the fight that easily! A cloud of magical mist formed around the paladin and he teleported to the upper ledge right next to Venomfang! Our paladin of the One Above All then began carving the dragon apart with his magical halberd! Green blood oozed from the dragon’s wounds but it was still standing.”

“What happened next?” asked Pip.

“That cowardly dragon tried to run from us! It flapped its wings and took flight. Asbjorn drew out the Wand of Nuking Magic Missiles, which I found when I was taking a swim with some skeletons , and aimed it at the beast. He called out, “My wand is the wand that will pierce the heavens!” and launched a barrage of magical mini nukes at the fleeing dragon. Venomfang had nearly escaped, he was about to fly out of the opening in the ceiling of his lair when…. BAM!”

Gayjon slammed his fist on the table.

“The magical mini nukes slammed into the beast, blasting a large hole in its chest where its heart once was! Blood and guts flew everywhere as the monster plummeted 100 feet back down and crashed into the pile of gold that was his treasure horde!”

The crowd went wild, giving the five-eightsling a standing ovation! Gayjon thanked the crowd as he took a puff of his opium pipe.
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Forgotten Realms (5th)
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